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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learning to lie
I'd been looking forward to this for a while. It is at first sight something of a departure from Miéville's last two books, in being, perhaps more overtly "science fictiony" that them (which will maybe please some of those who didn't like The City & the City and Kraken?)

Set on a human colony, on an alien planet, right at the end of everywhere, it is...
Published on 20 May 2011 by D. Harris

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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars the girl who did not read what she wanted but read what was given to her
This feels like the penultimate draft of what could have been a really good book, but it isn't quite 'there' yet. It's difficult to get into, and feels as if a couple of different attempts at starting the novel have been integrated, not wholly successfully, into what we have here. Is it going to be about immer? Is it going to be about the Festival of Lies? As ever, it's a...
Published on 8 Jun 2011 by Maria


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll need to read it twice, 4 Sep 2012
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This review is from: Embassytown (Kindle Edition)
This is the first time since I read a Deepness in the Sky that I've really felt the alien-ness of non Terrans in such a real way. Great story with surprisingly developed characters. Imperial powers should take heed and learn the lessons of this story ! Can't wait to retread it in a few months.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Epic Celebration of Language and Relationship from China Mieville, 7 Jan 2012
By 
John Kwok (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Embassytown (Hardcover)
One of the best novels of 2011, "Embassytown", is a marvelous, often engrossing, exploration of language and personal relationships well told by one of the United Kingdom's finest writers, China Mieville. That it is science fiction shouldn't deter its potential readers, especially since Mieville has crafted a literary masterpiece which demonstrates why science fiction may be the most important literary genre of our time, simply for its willingness to ask difficult questions about the human condition which mainstream literature often seems incapable of addressing. On the remote world of Arreika, the Terre, humans, have established an outpost, Embassytown, as a center for trading and cultural exchange with the enigmatic Arreikei, whose language is so difficult that it can be understood only by Ambassadors, a special breed of Terre, pairs of men and women who are genetically modified to converse in the Arreikei tongue; a language that draws heavily upon simile and one for which the act of lying is unknown to its speakers. That is until one day, the arrival of a new Ambassador results in unforeseen consequences threatening to shatter the uneasy coexistence of the Terre and the Arreikei. Mieville offers a most subtle portrait of the narrator, Avice, an Embassytown native who has recently returned after spending years serving as a crew member aboard Terre starships, traversing across the vast gulf of interstellar space via the medium known as immer. She, herself, became a simile to the Arrikei in her youth, and it is through her perceptive eyes that we witness the revolutionary changes in the relationships between themselves and the Terre. Readers accustomed to Mieville's ornate literary style in his "New Crubozon" trilogy ("Perdido Street Station", "The Scar" and "Iron Council") will be surprised by his more lyrical, often terse, prose, and one he uses to construct a narrative that slowly builds up to the momentous events which transform the Terre and the Arrikei. Mieville has truly wrought literary magic from some of the time-honored tropes of science fiction, offering readers a most captivating novel of ideas as well as of people; one destined to be remembered as one of the finest science fiction novels of our time.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost Fluent, 15 July 2011
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This review is from: Embassytown (Hardcover)
Embassytown is the tale of a clash of cultures on a world populated by the human descendants of people of Earth and a hoofed, winged alien life form that seemed to me to resemble H.P. Lovecraft's 'Dark Young Of Shub Niggurtah'.

The best part of the book is definitely its first half. Eloquently written, it describes the childhood emotions and experiences of the human children's awe of the alien "hosts" to whom they, the comparative newcomers, see themselves presumably as their guests.

The complex form of communication shared by the Hosts is Language, something spoken by the Hosts two different types of mouth, and thus only translatable by human "Ambassadors". These are twins who have been genetically grown and raised so that with their twin voices speaking the two different parts of Language together they can communicate with the Hosts.

Eminently logical and unable to lie, the Hosts use humans in an attempt to understand the figurativeness of human speech and the gift of being able to say something that isn't true that eludes them. The story's heroine is recruited in this way as a child, and becomes "The Girl Who Ate What Was Given To Her".

After this part of the story, the book changes in pace and style, and almost loses its track in a couple of places - interesting threads are lost (such as the protagonist being an "Immer" pilot, able to navigate her way through a type of super-space between worlds and dimensions), and the political upheavals created by sects of humans who don't want the Hosts to learn how to lie.

The story regains cohesion, if not its original pace and eloquence, with the plot-line regarding a set of Ambassadors who speak language slightly incorrectly, which becomes a drug to the Hosts and stupefies them - forcing them to take drastic action against their guests to halt the destruction of their now-addicted culture.

It's an engaging and well-written sci-fi story set in a well-realised alien world lived in by humans, though the book itself suffers mid-way from competing plot-lines and a sudden change in style from the measured and eloquent to the more rushed pace of the second half.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Defies description, 22 May 2011
This review is from: Embassytown (Hardcover)
One can't fault the author for the grandness of his ambition, and for the layers of interpretation that we may - or may not - be encouraged to pick up. (Is this book about the power of metaphor itself a metaphor for, oh, I don't know - the tensions between the Western world and the Middle East?) There are some big intellectual and linguistic ideas here, and a fair bit of didacticism, and ultimately I feel they get in the way of its function as a novel.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The title to set this years standards by, 17 May 2011
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Embassytown (Hardcover)
China to be honest is the author that in the future will be looked back on and whispered in the same tones as Arthur C Clarke and Ursula K Le Guin. Whilst that may seem like blasphemy to many readers you have to admit that with a growing number of awards to his name and a talent for turning up quality reads time and again that he is definitely an author to not only watch but to set your standards by. Whilst previous outings have been more firmly in the Urban Fantasy side of the genre this one makes no bones about being pure Science Fiction which when added to the typical China nuances makes this hybrid title something new to many people.

Add to this the authors own wonderful turn of phrase, an authoritative story telling style that shows rather than tells and a whole new lexicon added to help give the world not only a semblance of balance but of language development and its something that really has to be read to be believed. Finally mix in an alien race, a wonderfully creative arc and a good dollop of literal misinterpretations which will confuse the reader as much as the characters and it's a title that was hard to put down which I think will make this not only a serious contender for most awards but perhaps the one that's going to take most by the hand and run like hell.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astonishingly good!, 18 May 2011
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This review is from: Embassytown (Hardcover)
In the style of the text : I'm like the boy who sat saying nothing who was compelled to turn to page 1 and start re-reading. This is not something I have done before China Miéville came.

In my own words: Such a brilliant book. The SF concepts are really out there, and will have you sweating just thinking about the implications. The language is adventurous and expert. There is a strangeness to the narrative and the text that goes along with this too. Rather than a clear narrative arc, with a Choice That The Hero Must Make bang in the middle of the second reel, the wholeness of the story emerges gradually, like a shipwreck in the mist. I think the choice of a relative nobody as the key narrator is vital, and justified, as you will see at the end.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bland, 2 Nov 2013
This review is from: Embassytown (Paperback)
I read it from beginning to end, I just couldn't retain or follow the story, it was just uninteresting with no memorable parts to it.
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4 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Doubtful Premise, 5 Jun 2011
This review is from: Embassytown (Hardcover)
The whole story is based on the alien language being totally literal and particular. Not sure this is possible, and, even if it was, how could they make such a high tech civilisation that demands abstraction and generalisation? I have read a couple of other books by the same author, but this dragged and was somewhat disappointing. Still, I will think more as to whether the primary premise is possible
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2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring, gave up!, 31 Dec 2011
This review is from: Embassytown (Hardcover)
Was really looking forward to reading this book after seeing the reviews. Have only given up on a handful of books ever and this was one of them. The plot, characters and ideas were dull and uninteresting.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars ?, 8 July 2012
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This review is from: Embassytown (Hardcover)
this book is unreadable, i have read hundreds of si-fi novels but with this i gave up, its is more like a lecture for a grad student then a story
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Embassytown
Embassytown by China Mieville (Paperback - 5 Jan 2012)
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