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Kraken [Unabridged] [Paperback]

China Mieville
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
RRP: £8.99
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Book Description

6 May 2011

Deep in the research wing of the Natural History Museum is a prize specimen, something that comes along much less often than once in a lifetime: a perfect, and perfectly preserved, giant squid. But what does it mean when the creature suddenly and impossibly disappears?

For curator Billy Harrow it's the start of a headlong pitch into a London of warring cults, surreal magic, apostates and assassins. It might just be that the creature he's been preserving is more than a biological rarity: there are those who are sure it's a god.

A god that someone is hoping will end the world.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Unabridged edition (6 May 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330492322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330492324
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 53,454 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).

Product Description

Review

'Meanwhile, blogger Damien G Walter enjoyed the literary fantasy of the year, finding in China Miéville's Kraken, a tale of cops and apocalypse in an alternative London, "a prodigious imagination letting rip".' --Guardian, Fiction Recommendations of the Year

Book Description

Deep in the research wing of the Natural History Museum is a prize specimen, something that comes along much less often than once in a lifetime: a perfect, and perfectly preserved, giant squid. But what does it mean when the creature suddenly and impossibly disappears? For curator Billy Harrow it's the start of a headlong pitch into a London of warring cults, surreal magic, apostates and assassins. It might just be that the creature he's been preserving is more than a biological rarity: there are those who are sure it's a god. A god that someone is hoping will end the world. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
145 of 154 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars There's a first time for everything 8 May 2010
By Si
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
China Mieville, I've always said, is a genius. I think I need to get that out of the way before I carry on with this review. He is possessed of the most toweringly wicked imagination, fearsome skills of characterisation and plot development and the ability to keep the reader on the edge of their seat, in my case, on occasion, literally. If I were sad enough to sit and write down my top 10 fiction books of all time, 'The City and the City', 'Perdido Street Station' and 'The Scar' would be somewhere amongst them. I've read his book of short stories, 'Looking for Jake', about five times now. And I hate short stories.

However, even genuises have their off-days, and that seems to be what's happened here. I say "seems" because I can only guess at what prompted Mieville to approach this book in the way he did. This is not China Mieville, this is Clive Barker on acid. It's completely mad, perhaps the result of a bet as to how much weirdness Mieville could cram into 400 pages.

The concept is promising, and indeed a short synopsis would sound equally appealing. Mieville's writing style, whilst an acquired taste due to the author's of chain-of-consciousness prose interspersed with quirky colloquialisms, is rich and beautifully delivered. There's humour too, and several laugh-out loud moments, the politically incorrect outbursts of the virtual retro police officers being a case in point. However, a few dozen pages into the novel things start to go bad and the key problem quickly becomes evident. This problem, in summary, is that anything can happen.

Mieville has created a world entirely without rules and without boundaries. This sounds exciting, especially bearing in mind the author's formidable powers of imagination, but what it actually does is rob the plot of all suspense.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars So disappointing 19 Jun 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was wondering when China first started writing this. I discovered him with 'Perdido Street Station' and read on from there, I read King Rat after 'The City and the City' and noticed his maturing as a writer. Reading Kraken, over ages, believe me,I wanted to put this book down so many times I can't tell you, but I'm a fan, so I stuck with it. Seems to me that either his Editor has said 'You'll make more money if you dumb down and get on the Gaiman train' , or this was the book after King Rat.
There are of course the Marxist underlays and the quiet jokes to the knowing, but my biggest complaint is that I felt a little bit insulted by this, there is plagerism (and that is an opinion, not an accusation) and the general impression that he wasn't really trying.
I saw England play Algeria last night and felt the same way.
Personally, I blame the publisher, I read Alistair Reynolds 'Terminal World' and felt the same way.
Don't force our greatest writers to churn out pulp, I'll wait for the masterpiece.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A drop in standards 12 July 2010
By C. Hart
Format:Hardcover
First off, it should be known that my biggest fear is the sea; specifically its dark depths and the creatures that lurk within. Like with many people I presume, because I fear this so vehemently, I am at the same time incredibly drawn to it and seek it wherever I can in fiction. Take the scene in James Cameron's The Abyss that sees Ed Harris' character make his slow descent into an abyssal, pitch black canyon on the floor of the ocean. I can watch the scene with ease, but at the same time it scares me magnificently, and compels me beyond belief.

The point to be taken is: I love sea monsters. Miéville's The Scar - an infinitely better book than this one - concerns in large part a gigantic sea monster from another universe called an Avanc; the inclusion and dealing of which I loved (one excellent aspect is Miéville's choice to never describe the creature in any detail; allowing my imagination to run wild with it - making the fear potential increase enormously). So when I saw that Miéville's latest work was to be titled Kraken, I immediately built up high hopes.

All in all though, I'm sad to say that I was let down. I love Miéville (and I haven't even read Perdido Street Station or The City & The City yet), but his latest effort falls considerably short of his abilities in my opinion. New Weird in style Miéville certainly is, but this all too weird for my tastes. From animal servants picketing for their rights to an omniscient invisible flying cartoon pig, this grasps completely in the wrong direction for an altogether ludicrous kind of strange. Add to this a plot full of questions to which we are given all too easy and entirely unsatisfying answers and it doesn't amount to much.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars China folds himself up his own 'orrorfice.... 29 Nov 2011
Format:Paperback
Just finished reading Kraken on my Kindle- the first China novel that I haven't bought in hardback. Glad that I didn't, I would have felt robbed. China Mieville's use of language is fascinating and wondrous, but in this novel he seems to use it to 'show off' for the sake of it. The invention of so much 'stuff' just detracts from the flow and enjoyment of the plot. When any situation can be ignored or solved by simply inventing a new word, or spell, or physic, then where is the suspense?

The novel does not flow because Mieville is too concerned with demonstrating his cleverness. It is immature and will disappoint fans who loved Perdido Street Station, The Scar or Looking For Jake. If you liked Iron Council you may like Kraken purely because I didn't and there may be a correlation there.

Character-wise Kraken is tremendous. Subby and Goss are wonderful- magical graverobbers without Burke & Hare's morals!

The imagination that can invent Tattoo and Wati is worthy of attention but this novel is hard going and not really worth the effort.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Did not really work for me
I loved a lot of other Chine Mievelle books. This one just left me confused and unimpressed. I did not finish it.
Published 1 month ago by T. Baumann
4.0 out of 5 stars Plot just a contrivance to hold the fun weirdness together
An amusing romp that ties humour to China Miéville's now established take on "weird fiction". Read more
Published 3 months ago by P. J. Dunn
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
CM seems on autopilot in this one. Hard to believe it's the same author who wrote the brilliant City and the City and Embassytown. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Really good read
I found this difficult to get into at first but once I did wow. Every chapter contains enough ideas to write another book and his take on magic and a secret world within our own... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Vic
3.0 out of 5 stars Lots of jumbled but good ideas
Still think it needed a stronger editor to give it a better overall shape and avoid some of the hops and diversions
Published 7 months ago by J. Mitchell
1.0 out of 5 stars Hard work
I have to admit that I got this book thinking I would enjoy the subject matter, as I was interested in a modern uptake on the legend of the Kraken after studying Greek Mythology at... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Jude Smith
5.0 out of 5 stars Apocalypse by squid
I loved The City and The City. Stayed away from this because I thought the concept of a giant squid threatening London sounded too goofy. Read more
Published 9 months ago by M. Schwartz
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely in my top 10, what is all the complaining about?
Reading so many of the other reviews for this piece of literary brilliance, I am utterly devastated to find such negative thoughts about this book. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Roisin Taylor
1.0 out of 5 stars Really, surprisingly awful
I would consider myself a fan of this author but in recent years I haven't had as much time to read and in turn found myself with quite the pile of unread novels. Read more
Published 11 months ago by David
1.0 out of 5 stars Well,Well
Heres something very unsuspected. I've read four novels by China Mieville and this is by far his most immature and totally lost book. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Whiskeyjack
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