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King Rat Paperback – 6 May 2011


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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Pan (6 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330534211
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330534215
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 12.5 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 239,680 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

China Miéville lives and works in London. He is three-time winner of the prestigious Arthur C. Clarke Award (Perdido Street Station, Iron Council and The City & The City) and has also won the British Fantasy Award twice (Perdido Street Station and The Scar). The City & The City, an existential thriller, was published in 2009 to dazzling critical acclaim and drew comparison with the works of Kafka and Orwell (The Times) and Philip K. Dick (Guardian).


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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By oamaz on 27 July 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What you can't deny Mr Mieville is his talent in having exuberant fantasy and coming with the most original ideas possible. In this book he blends persuasively urban folklore, fairytale characters, modern rhythms and poetry of London dehumanized city hectic. The plot is rather simplistic, but has enough of little twists and grisly descriptions.
However, the drawls of dialects his characters use are hardly intelligible sometimes, and detailed descriptions of Jungle music may bore you (if you're not the fan).
A promising "try of the pen", but to enjoy China Mieville's talent to the last drop, read the superb Perdido Train Station (completely different in plot and settings)!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. J. Cull VINE VOICE on 7 Mar 2006
Format: Paperback
First novel by inventive left-wing fantasy author China Mieville, in which young Saul Garamond comes to terms with his true identity as a half-rat superhero, after the murder of his father. Set in the shadowy, seamy underbelly of London, this novel is also about the esoteric world of drum-and-bass music. The characterisation is fairly flat, and there really should be a bit more of a background to Saul; King Rat is not quite in the same league as the Bas-Lag novels, but still displays a brilliant imagination, and a rather anarchic mix and match approach which I find very stimulating.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jacob Sam-La Rose on 30 Dec 2002
Format: Paperback
Just finished reading King Rat, and I have to agree with most of the other reviews - the ideas are certainly inventive, points awarded for use of myth/fairytale in combination with contemporary culture, and an interesting anti-monarchy theme... but the writing simply isn't as well crafted as his later work. Personally, being an afficionado of both drum n' bass music AND fantasy/speculative literature, I loved what he tried to do - and the book is certainly readable, just not as well-written as Perdido St Station...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K. N. on 12 April 2012
Format: Paperback
Several years ago, I was in the FNAC bookstore in Brussels when I came across this book. The title had something appealing which I could not quite decipher.
Thus I bought it and thank the God of readers for that: I stumbled head first on an extraordinary, eerily dark and violent fantasy story, but most of all a truly original one. Finding an original story is like finding a second Koh-I-Noor in your backyard. That is, rather rare.

The main myth here is that of the Pied Piper of Hamelin against an aesthetic of drum'n'bass jungle music.

Modus operandi of this reader for the purchase selection process: check the title, read the back of the book, then open it in a random page and read that page. Does it capture your interest? No? Put it back on the shelf. Yes? Proceed to a second random reading. If the feeling is the same, check the author's other books. If it is book three with the same hero, probably leave it and repeat the MO with book one, if the impression was that good. But if is a debut of an author, and you feel something there after the two random reads, then risk it. It might be worthwhile. The "debut novel" check was a hit. This was the first book of China Mieville.

I started reading Mr. Mieville's book that same evening in a bistro in Grand Place.
It was not an easy read. I had been reading books in English for quite a few years by then and I had the occasional unknown word here and there. But Mieville's books are too complex by far in terms of vocabulary and metaphors at least for a non-native speaker. I had to jump back and forth to understand the images and situations narrated.

On top of that, drum'n'bass jungle music just isn't my thing. I am a hard rock / heavy metal fan, with the occasional flare for celtic/irish music.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By plot hound on 18 Mar 2012
Format: Paperback
A dark urban fantasy that really keeps you interested.

All the characters are believable and likeable or interesting.

The plot weaves myths and fairy-tales into a dark and brutal urban setting with real deaths and emotions.

There are plenty of twists and turns as Saul learns about the hidden world he has entered.

There is plenty of action and some flashes of humour.

This feels a little like "Neil Gaiman" but the depth and quality is much higher.

Original and very entertaining.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 16 Oct 2000
Format: Paperback
China Mieville is quite frighteningly inventive, and the synthesis of myth (used in the inclusive sense) and culture in King Rat is interesting, but I found that the scale of the book was constricting. Having read Perdido Street Station I saw just what China Mieville is capable of; in King Rat he just doesn't let his imagination soar in the same way.
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Shepherd on 17 Mar 2003
Format: Paperback
For all the many words and apt phrases that Mieville uses, there may be only one word that describes Mieville's works: dark. All of his novels to date have this sense of being written at the bottom of a dank, odiferous, and pitch-black well, to where the tiny bits of color that he allows shine through like the sun after a cloudburst.
For this, his first work, he confines himself to the comparatively mundane setting of underground London, underground in both the physical and slang senses of the word, as we follow the story of Saul Garamond, heir apparent to the King Rat of Pied Piper fame. From the sewers to the rifling of garbage heaps for dinner, Mieville delights in offending your hygienic senses while enticing you with glimpses of a musical sub-culture that is just as strange to the average person as the rarified air of sub-atomic research. Bringing the characters of the ancient fairy tale to life is no small task, and Mieville succeeds admirably in the persons of King Rat and the Pied Piper himself. The Pied Piper comes across as a truly sadistic being, as shown by his actions, though at one point he specifically denies that characterization, while King Rat is easily identified with as the whining, downtrodden person who can never quite reach his goal of revenge. Their conflict is very real and very understandable, couched in a thousand years of remembrances of wrongs done, and is an effective mirror of all too many human interactions.
What is not so well crafted is the character of Saul. His reactions to the impossibility of the reality of King Rat, or to the murder of his father, come across as much too accepting, reactions that no normal person would have.
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