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3.9 out of 5 stars
213
3.9 out of 5 stars
The City & The City
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on 7 October 2017
This was so close to a 5 star read! Where do I even start? OK, I think (but could be wrong) that:

The City & The City is a noir crime novel set in twin, neighbouring cities, named Beszel and UI Qoma. Nothing too odd right? Wrong! The 2 cities occupy some of the same geographical space and due to political rivalry citizens of one city must actively ‘unsee’ anything to do with the other city. Including everything to do with the citizens of the other city and any buildings, architecture, road traffic, crime etc. The 2 cities have different culture and customs and citizens are brought up to unsee the other city. If someone accidentally sees something from the other city, they must consciously forget it (or at least never acknowledge it). To see or interact with the other city (at least without authorisation) is called ‘breach’. Breaching is viewed as the worst crime a citizen can commit and is heavily enforced by ‘Breach’ – a somewhat mysterious organisation of power. Just to complicate things (!) there are rumours of a third city existing between the other two.

"The banned had at various points in their history advocated the use of violence to bring the cities to their God-, destiny-, history-, or people-intended unity."

When a Beszel citizen is murdered, Inspector Tyador Borlú, of the Extreme Crime Squad is assigned the case. It quickly becomes necessary for Borlú to travel to Ul Qoma to get to the bottom of the investigation. As expected for a crime mystery, things aren’t as clear cut as they first appear and Borlú must get more involved with Breach than ever before.

"Breach has powers the rest of us can hardly imagine, but its calling is utterly precise. It is not the passage itself from one city to the other, not even with contraband: it is the manner of the passage."

Following along nicely so far? I wasn’t! I got lost so much whilst reading this. But don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed it. I used to think that I didn’t really like mystery/crime novels but I’m starting to think I do. I read this in one day. I was glued to it and there were enough twists in it to keep me wanting more. I wanted to know the answer to the major mystery, and I wanted to know more about Breach, and I wanted to know more about the two cities and their history and how the citizens survive and how tourists manage to not accidentally breach. It was so good! Even though it does completely mess with the mind. I’m sure I missed a ton of things and I’m sure this is the kind of novel that requires multiple reads to spot everything.

This was my first China Mieville novel and I’ve heard so many good things about his writing. I am definitely going to be reading more of his work. I can’t wait to read some of his more fantasy/sci fi/weird fiction stuff.

Anyway, I’m off to… probably try and figure out what happened in this novel. Peace and Love!
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on 23 October 2017
I've read a few of Mieville's books, enjoyed them immensely, and rank Perdido Street Station as one of my all time favourites. So when I saw The City & The City in a Kindle sale I bought it and looked forward to reading it.

Unfortunately I hated it. So much so I've made it about 33% of the way through, and given up on it. Maybe the remaining 67% is fantastic but so far, in the first third of the book, almost nothing interesting has happened at all. There's been a murder, some police are investigating, and that's about it.

It's a far, far cry from the fantastic world and original characters Mieville created for Perdido Street Station and The Scar.
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on 8 March 2017
Great read. Just buy it!
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on 14 November 2013
This starts as a hard-boiled detective noir in a strange eastern European city, then it starts to get strange... the main character sees things that aren't "not there", but "aren't allowed to be there" according to the rules of his world. The author draws you in and it gets more fun as it goes along. Recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 24 June 2017
It's very well written but I just couldn't get into it.
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on 22 October 2017
A wondrous sly intelligent novel. Allusions and allegories abound. A commentary, but on what? Of whom? A detective story of epic scope. A discussion of boundaries nationhood and the spaces and borders inbetween. Will read again.
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on 26 September 2017
Potentially a little obvious in its allegory but clever nonetheless. Very enjoyable and I got really invested in the characters. Read in a day!
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on 8 August 2017
From beginning to end, a truly tumultuous emotion laden adventure following an unending kaleidoscope of cityscapes and questioning as to what lies at the nature of identity
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on 26 May 2017
Very interesting concept at the heart of this story which make this a very good crime/thriller story. Well worth a read
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on 21 June 2017
Fascinating and intriguing plot, couldn't put it down
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