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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic seafaring tale set on land
Another great book from Miéville, this is a fantastic starting point if you haven't read him before. In a world covered in rails, where if you touch the bare earth you're likely to be devoured, a young man named Sham Yes ap Soorap goes on his first mouldywarp hunt. Borrowing from moby dick, treasure island and others, this is a book I devoured so fast and felt sad...
Published on 27 Feb. 2013 by Amazon Customer

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The death of the fat controller
It was never as tight as it could have been. It ticked along at times, rather then pulling you forward. The finale was a play upon the title, but lacked any link to possible reality. The floating suggestion of alien intruders was too tentative. The concept of the ancient artefacts assumed a very much better quality of goods than those stocked by the high street. I am...
Published 23 months ago by True Thomas


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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars &, 2 Jun. 2012
By 
Philzee - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Railsea (Hardcover)
Miéville's obvious affection in writing for the younger reader is apparent & this story chugs along at an intelligently playful clip. In short it narrates the varied concerns & efforts of Sham ap Soorap, begrudging doctors apprentice aboard the mole-train Medes; under the auspices of Captain Naphi as she hunts the yellow - sorry: ivory - coloured mole-cum-behemoth known as Mocker-Jack, & the effects of his unwitting discovery of evidence that there is an end to the interminable tangle of tracks known as the Railsea.

The initial impression I had when I started reading was that this was similar in feel to Iron Council: an old western-feel yarn atop a train, however, as the story untangles it becomes clear - by the introduction of electrical devices & ruminations on epochs known as the Computational Era - that this is not the case. The use of such at first seems anachronistic, but the disparate parts are juggled sagaciously in the apt hands of Miéville so that it becomes a kind of fluid-disparity; elision with dulcet prose.

The story works on many levels and is what - in this reviewer's humble opinion - transcends the book from good to great.
The story is a yarn-that-rips as it riffs from Melville's (Moby) Dick with clever word-play, use of alliteration, sportive solecism and playful portmanteau (unsnarlable & decidalise being my respective favourites); the cheeky nomenclature of the Railsea's Deities (That Apt Ohm, the godsquabble to name a few); the clever use of ferro- prefixing anything nautical; the various types of salvage (nu-, arche-, alt- & dei-), & of course all that is enticingly hinted at or left unsaid between the lines (pun most definitely intended).

At first I thought the use of the ampersand purely a stylish literary quirk but oh what a fool I was for thinking Miéville would do anything so whimsical...
& = the Railsea, or more specifically: the tangle the Railsea represents. It's allegorical mastery & this reader was unashamedly impressed!

Miéville's penchant for political allegory is also present and becomes most demonstrative toward the end of the novel with effective imagery and extended metaphor. I loved it again; an eloquently detailed left-wing dig at right-wing state monopoly capitalism.

I have enjoyed Miéville's word-travails to other weird and bizarre reaches of his literary mind but none as much as Bas-Lag, of which Railsea is relishingly reminiscent. & if you're a Miéville fan, particularly a Bas-Lag Miéville fan, you will certainly not want to miss this.
The similarities to Iron Council are blatant but superficial & one cannot help but think of The Scar's Avanc when the Medes is chasing Mocker-Jack.
Was this intentional then, a kind of elided version of Scar and Council; Bas-Lag for younger readers? I'm not sure it matters but it does interest me. Unfortunately I no longer fall under the genre of young-adult and I did approach this with guarded optimism, however, if you overlook the unnecessarily short chapters and simplified plot you'll still find a story brimming with inventive ideas and cannily deviceful.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pure magic in literary form, 28 May 2012
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Railsea (Hardcover)
If there's an author that is the infamous box of chocolates, its China Mieville as he has an ability to take an idea and develop a reality that is not only fascinating but one that you could see as functional in the future. It's quirky, it brings imaginative prose to the fore and with the writing skills of the author make this not only a hard to put down title but one that will bring in many more fans as his fame spreads.

Add to this some cracking twists, some wonderful characters and a principle player that the reader will just love to hang around and all in you have all the elements for a best seller. Finally throw into the mix the authors no nonsense style of storytelling, a spartan set of prose and developments that feel natural and all in it's a wonderful adventure to embark upon. China really is an author to enjoy and for me, one that really makes my day when his new book lands.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 19 July 2013
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This review is from: Railsea (Paperback)
For me this book was a return to the China Mieville I know and love. He's one of my favourite authors but Kraken didn't quite hit the mark for me and I actually ended up hating Embassytown. If you like Bas Lag books and his other earlier works I reckon you'll enjoy this. Don't be put off by the fact that it's a young adults book,it's great for all ages and for me was classic Mieville.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A return to form, 30 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Railsea (Kindle Edition)
After the poor Kraken and the mediocre Embassytown, China Mieville returns to form in a story with great depth, and scope. The characters are fully developed and the narrative is unusual, but, somehow, works. More of this please, try this good read!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent return to form, 14 July 2013
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Truly amazing and imaginative. A genuine classic that takes Melville's Moby Dick and turns it in to something clever and different. Brilliant.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The death of the fat controller, 13 May 2013
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This review is from: Railsea (Kindle Edition)
It was never as tight as it could have been. It ticked along at times, rather then pulling you forward. The finale was a play upon the title, but lacked any link to possible reality. The floating suggestion of alien intruders was too tentative. The concept of the ancient artefacts assumed a very much better quality of goods than those stocked by the high street. I am prepared to admit concepts of hyperspace but find a stretch with Cretaceous aged white goods.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of the writers craft, 20 Jan. 2013
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This review is from: Railsea (Kindle Edition)
Even the novice China reader will enjoy this well paced ultimately uplifting journey through the railsea.A very welcome addition to my library,more please.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Much enjoyed., 6 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Railsea (Kindle Edition)
Brilliant, highly imaginative, cracking story.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Most Captivating Borrowing of Melville Courtesy of Mieville, 17 Dec. 2012
By 
John Kwok (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Railsea (Hardcover)
Simultaneously compelling and captivating, China Mieville has offered a most brilliant reimaging of Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" in his epic steampunk fantasy novel "Railsea" which will delight audiences of all ages. Here he demonstrates why he is the most important young writer working in Anglo-American fiction of any genre, giving his readers yet another epic tale of swashbuckling adventure worthy of comparison with his iconic "New Crubozon" trilogy ("Perdido Street Station", "The Scar" and "Iron Council"); a compellingly readable saga that will delight audiences of all ages. Sham Yes ap Soorap witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt from the moletrain Medes, seeing the gigantic mole bursting forth from the earth below, as the Medes' harpooners aim their harpoons at their massive prey, poised for the kill. He encounters during a brief visit to a deserted, wrecked moletrain a map pointing to a place where the entire world isn't traversed by rails, finding his fortune and fate intertwining with those of that train's two young survivors, pursued by pirates and naval trains as they journey onward on a seemingly hopeless quest. Mieville offers us a most enchanting cast of characters, starting with the Medes' obsessive captain, Naphi, who demonstrates that she is far more rational and compassionate than Ahab, her fictional counterpart. In plain, tersely written, sentences, Melville weaves a tale as exciting and engrossing as his recent novels "Kraken" and "The City & The City", that ranks as an instant classic of Young Adult fiction, destined to be celebrated by readers both young and old for generations to come, and one worthy of distinction as among this year's best new works of fiction in any genre.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All aboard!, 15 July 2012
By 
Dick Johnson (Texas USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Railsea (Hardcover)
This was just plain fun to read. As usual, Mieville's premise is just enough off center to give the reader a new experience with old ideas. Whaling in the dust; a seemingly endless network of railroad tracks; and a sense of something magical that could just maybe be real are combined into a story that can be enjoyed by readers from their teens to those of us who are, well, order than that.

Our young hero, Sham Yes ap Soorap, leads us on quite a journey. This journey is measured in miles and hopes and dreams and determination and dedication and commitment. The journey is also a battle - one of ideas and the impractical longings of youth versus the rational, mundane world of adults.

The world of the rails is nearly impossible to imagine. That it existed at all (in the reader's mind) causes any model railroader to marvel at the logistics, and possibilities, of such a system of turnouts and crossings and methods of switching among them in the seemingly sorta-tech world.

I look forward to each of Mieville's books. They are gone too quickly and there is a long wait for the next. Fortunately, I have a few of his earlier books that I haven't read to fill in with.

This is just plain good storytelling that can be shared by reading aloud or passing on the book. If you haven't read him before, this would be a great introduction to China Mieville.
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Railsea by China Mieville
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