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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 14 June 2013
the word for world is shunting yard - oh, ok, not really - the word for world is railsea - brilliant framing device for a riff on the Moby Dick story, Treasure Island, Kidnapped and a bunch of other ripping yarns with some superbly drawn characters, esp. the protagonist and his and find yourself with your jaw dropping at 4 am still finishing in one go (I did)...

the illustrations are also fine...
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on 25 September 2012
What a wonderful book this is.

If there's one quality I really like in China Miéville, it's his liminality, his love of boundaries and of the fun of transgression. Here's a book which is as accessible to adults as to younger readers. On one level it's a straightforward ripping yarn, on another it's packed with teasing word-play and symbolisms. It references Melville, Defoe, Conrad, Stevenson, Darwin (even, I'm sure, C S Lewis, though Miéville is on record as saying he hates The Voyage of the Dawn Treader), yet for all these allusions it manages to be as clean and guileless and original as the originals. It has things to say about politics, theology, capitalism, yet it does so without being preachy. It's about dust and sterility and venality, but it's also about noble aspiration and pure, uncharted hinterlands. And as the author slowly builds his world, so he also builds his protagonist from gawky youth to perfect knight.

Excellent storytelling, as simple or as complex as the reader wants it to be.
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on 16 July 2013
Not much else to say other than that this is Mieville back to his best. If you're a fan of his and were disappointed by Kraken (yes, I know that's all of us), then this is the one that puts him back on his pedestal. A modern master.
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on 19 July 2013
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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on 18 January 2013
a great adventure story with another of mieville's imagined, fully detailed and unexplained worlds with engaging characters and an unexpected ending. (and much more fun than MOby DIck with a far stranger 'great white whale)!
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on 20 May 2013
I've read all of Mieville's books. & I have to say I have loved every one of them.

The book feels familar from page 1, you very quickly get to know the characters and will sadly speed through each chapter. Great read.
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on 17 December 2012
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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on 13 May 2013
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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on 15 July 2012
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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on 21 June 2012
Moby Dick with moles; Treasure Island with trains; Robinson Crusoe without water.

Wonderful, and very much a return to form for Mieville after the dull Embassytown. The story has a lot to do with Moby Dick, but the style is more like Treasure Island really - a boys'-own adventure on the open seas with treasure-maps and pirates - except it's on rails rather than water, with trains instead of ships. And not just for boys of course, with some strong female characters too.

Nobody else writes like Mieville, never better than here as he proves again that any rules on how English should be written are no more than guidelines to the likes of him. His vivid, fresh style is a joy to read - he can convey more meaning in a single line than others might manage with a whole paragraph of turgid prose (having just ploughed my way through Terminal World, I'm looking at you Alistair Reynolds).

It seems to me that - unlike his other work - this is very filmable, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Railsea - The Movie sometime soon.

Oh, and is it just me that hates the cover art they are using at the moment? The books all look the same - dull and dreary.
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