Top critical review
New Crobuzon Calling
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?