The Etched City Paperback – 16 Jan 2004
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"An intricate, baroque, and memorable tale, filled with marvels and told with laconic elegance." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Brimming with imagination and surreal imagery, an outstanding first fantasy novel --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is about Gwynn and Raule, a killer and a doctor unfortunate enough to have been involved in a failed revolution. Now fugitives from the victors, they escape to the city of Ashamoil where they merge with society.
Gwynn is a paradoxical thug at home both cutting throats and in the theatre, with an unusual amount of good luck. Raule is more like an excavated husk, a good phycisian without a soul. They both decant to opposite ends of the social scale and their acquaintance is uneasy, and often hostile.
The central idea is really interesting, but I can't go into that without spoilers.
The book starts a bit slow, and while it is well worth finishing there are some definite preachy bits I could have done without.
It also delves into the Victorian Era level of technology and sensibilities which has become fashonable these days. At least there are no dirigibles!
I bought this book because of comparisons with the excellent Perdido Street Station by China Mieville but to be honest there is really no comparison.
The promise of this little quote atop the blurb was delivered within the pages of KJ Bishop's excellent novel.
It's not a perfect book. I spent the first few chapters wondering where the plot was going - but I was so engrossed in the superbly-drawn world and characters that I didn't really care.
When the plot did emerge, it did so with a dangerous smirk. It begins with Raule, in the desert. She bumps into an old associate, Gwynn, and together they flee the desert and their enemies to the city of Ashamoil. There things get weird. Gywnn is the main character there, though Raule's story continues to be told in the sidelines and intertwines with Gwynn's at times. A gunslinger currently employed as the henchman of a slave trader, Gwynn is surprised to find himself depicted in an etching. He becomes determined to track down the etching's artist and, with the aid of a delightfully trippy scene where he gets high, he finds her. While he becomes closer to the strange artist Beth, his 'career' runs into trouble. It is with Beth, though, that the weirdness happens. It's hard to describe. Think of warped, chimeran dreams brushing against reality, and you're close to the focus of this book.
This is a book I heartily recommend to anyone who is sick of the Tolkien-esque clichés still bouncing around, and who wants to read something dark and weird and wonderful. KJ Bishop is an example of what fantasy writers are capable of when they're not afraid to do something new.
It's clearly evident that Bishop is passionate about art, the way she writes about it brings it alive on the page to see, and as she is capable of this she has also brought alive a mysterious and bizzare city that will be cherished by lovers of strange fiction.
I really enjoyed the darkness of this book, the ending was especially good. K J Bishop is not afraid to let her imagination run wild.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Weird. Bizarre. Fantastic - in both senses! What it's about I'm not sure; transformation? morality? theology? Yes.
Actually I don't care. Read more
This is a must for the sci-fi enthusiasts. The amazing city jungles and convoluted characters are so delicately portrayed that you won't stop reading this until you reach the back... Read morePublished on 19 Mar. 2013 by Alter Cuca
I picked this up second hand not having heard of it or the author and have been delighted at the read. Read morePublished on 17 Nov. 2011 by Mike Robinson
the etched city is a book almost entirely without plot and there is no connecting thread, character's motivations are often unconvincing. Read morePublished on 15 Sept. 2008 by mje