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on 29 January 2017
The main character here is New Crobuzon: a quasi-Victorian city ruled by a despotic government and populated by criminals, scientists, magicians and weird hybrids of humans, insects, plants and steam engines. It's an impressive creation, a place of abutted exuberance and squalor, which Mieville delights in showing us.

The plot concerns a brood of monsters who threaten all life in the city. Our hero, a renegade scientists, must work out how to defeat these fierce, alien creatures, whilst dealing with various other hostile elements. The pace is a little slow at times; some of the descriptions of all that squalor and exuberance could be trimmed (call me reductive, but I just read New Crobuzon as an analogue of London). However, there is a reasonable amount of action and mystery, and it's all wrapped up pleasingly at the end. There are no great revelations. It's just escapism. But it's escapism of a reasonably high order. And did I mention all that exuberance and squalor?
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on 25 May 2017
China Mieville is most certainly not everybody's cup of tea. His mastery of the language gifts us with some truly amazing images but at times it becomes quite hard to keep going. Some of the paragraphs seems to be there for the sake of language in itself other that to help the story flow. This was my first encounter with Mr Mieville and at first I found it really hard to get into the story, to get a measure of it, to find it's rhythm. Having said that once I hit the zone I just could not stop reading. I found myself in a completely new world, one unlike I ever seen (read) before. There are so many ideas in this book, so many concepts, so much to take in. I have come back to this book again and again over the years and every time it does not fail to trow something new at me. One heck of a rollercoaster.
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on 30 June 2017
Brilliant. Absolutely loved this. Quite unique, cleverly put together with an extraordinary vocabulary. I haven't been this excited by a newly discovered (for me) current author for ages.
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on 16 May 2016
A long book which takes the reader into an industrial, magical, yet depressing world of coexisting and dangerous species. It's well written and edited.
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on 11 July 2017
I do not know how these ideas came to be. The astonishing alien complexity of this world and these characters had me enthralled
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on 10 January 2015
China has produced an exotic fantasy story that is enthralling and engaging in equal measure, a must read.
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on 8 June 2017
Absolutely brilliant
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on 9 July 2017
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on 9 July 2010
Ah, China Mieville. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways!

After having read Mieville's collection of short stories my interest was sufficiently piqued to investigate his novels. Having read the synopses for all his books I decided this would be my best entry point for exploring China Mieville proper.

I was both right and wrong. This, the first of the Bas-Lag series is not an easy read, in the same way that Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast trilogy is not an easy read. However, like Peake's idiosyncratic trilogy, Perdido Street Station is an instant classic and I can see why it has earned Mieville so many admirers in the world of fantasy fandom.

Good fantasy writers are able to create a believable alternate world. Excellent fantasy writers are able to create a believable and engaging fantasy world alive with cultures and politics. Mieville's world is populated by so many fascinating, bizarre and endlessly endearing peoples that it would be impossible to keep track of them were they not so beautifully realised. As the novel progresses we are intoduced to the insectile / humanoid Khepri, the Cacatae (human cactuses, the amphibious Vodyanoi, the cybernetic Construct Council and the avian Garuda as well as their religions, hisories, cultures, subcultures, countercultures (and yes, even drug cultures) in a way that is never dry or dull but always a dynamic part of the narrative.

For those who demand more than a diverse racial cast of players from their fantasy Perdido street station doesn't disappoint in the plot department either. Told from the point of view of Isaac, a good hearted but rough around the edges academic the story follows Isaac on an epic adventure precipitated by an unexpected visit from a mysterious stranger. This stranger, Yahgarek, is a Garuda who comes to Isaac with a simple proposition, to enable him to fly even though his wings have been severed (the harshest punishment possible for a Garuda reserved only for the foulest crime). Elsewhere his secret lover, a prodigious Khepri artist named Lin is comissioned to create a sculpted dopelganger for a gangster whose appearance so horribly and intricately malformed his appearance can only be insinuated by the author.

There is so much depth, richness and complexity to this book it would be a long winded travesty to try and recap it here. Suffice to say if a world ruled by a totalitarian government with a direct line to Hell, where scientifically explainable magic can co exist with steam powered robots floats your boat then this is for you!
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on 19 November 2008
I purchased this book on the recommendation of a friend who had read it. I'd not heard of China Mieville and to be quite honest, had no real interest in the 'weird-fiction' genre. But, alas, I needed a change from the seemingly never ending work of Dean Koontz.

I ordered Perdido Street Station and, like the deep and impressionable person I am, immediately noticed the thickness of the thing...880 pages long. What in the he...? How could anyone, possibly keep me interested for nigh on 1000 pages? Never. Nah. Surely not?

Oh, how I was proven wrong.

This is by far one of the most unique and imaginative books I've read for a long time. The character development and imagery throughout is simply awesome, and you can only squirm at some of the 'pictureseque' portraits painted by Mieville of the city, New Crobuzon. It starts off a little slow, but as soon as you meet Isaac, you simply don't want to put the thing down...even when your eyes are feeling heavy at 1am in the morning.

I can't recommend this book enough. Even if you aren't a big of fan of science fiction/weird fiction, you simply have to taste this because it is simply, brilliant.

5 stars from me.
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