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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 23 October 2015
great book, really enjoyed reading this book and have now read all of China's books.
Imaginative writing that works for me
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on 1 November 2013
This book was quite hard to read but ultimately rewarding. There are plenty of new and original ideas which is very refreshing.
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on 16 September 2011
China, China, China - what have you been smoking. You were always weirdly inventive, but this book has just lost it. The problem isn't the strangeness of the setting (you don't get much stranger than The Scar or City), but the characters in this novel are just empty. There's no feeling or empathy, it's just all consuming high concept. Get back to thinking about what makes your great novels great - namely the characters that inhabit them. It's almost like going back to one of those previous worlds would be seen as lazy - it wouldn't. Use them, abuse them. Work less on trying to create some clever new set up and more on the things that inhabit them.
I really hope for a return to form soon - Kraken was poor, Embassytown is dire. I'll give it one more release and then it's game over for me
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on 3 November 2015
I started this book and was ready to throw it away after the first third of the story but really enjoyed it by the end.
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on 16 August 2011
This is pure sci-fi which is a little unusual for Mieville although, with the exception of his early novels, he hasn't really stuck with any genre so why not try sci-fi.

The characters are strong, Avice is well developed and gets both a good past and present but the other characters are believable, interesting, likeable as required.
The aliens are left very simply, the focus is on their culture and language.

This does what a lot of classic sci-fi does, it takes one core idea, a language where lying is impossible, and expands on that idea so that everything seems perfectly logical.

The core idea is an original one, not the language where lies are impossible, that has been done before, but the effect that could have on a race that truly could not understand falsehood.

The pace is good, a bit slow at the start but the mixture of current and past events stops it from ever being boring.

There is plenty of action as well as concepts and the ending is a little dark but wholly consistent.

A great read.
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on 23 November 2013
I think this is Mieville's best book yet! from a simple concept he weaves an amazing story: a great read.
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VINE VOICEon 15 November 2011
Oh dear, I am really not sure either to give this two or five stars! It is either incredibly way too clever for its own good or so clever its beats the lot.
I am afraid however I go for the former. I have really always enjoyed China Mieville's work but I think this one is too much for me, and too much hard work to follow. This may not be the case for the written version of course where you can go back over parts. -Sorry because I think his stuff is very good. Just this one - not for me
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on 2 April 2016
A master of world building. Every page is a delight.
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on 3 May 2011
I loved this book. The whole world that Mieville constructs, unhurried, substantial and wholly original had me itching to get back to it whenever I put it down. The characters are so absorbing and curious, the setting is tangible, vivid, and the concept is mind-bending. The author's use of language is, as usual, breathtaking. It's rare for science fiction to be so clearly literature. This is a deeply touching and gripping book.
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on 15 July 2011
Embassytown is the tale of a clash of cultures on a world populated by the human descendants of people of Earth and a hoofed, winged alien life form that seemed to me to resemble H.P. Lovecraft's 'Dark Young Of Shub Niggurtah'.

The best part of the book is definitely its first half. Eloquently written, it describes the childhood emotions and experiences of the human children's awe of the alien "hosts" to whom they, the comparative newcomers, see themselves presumably as their guests.

The complex form of communication shared by the Hosts is Language, something spoken by the Hosts two different types of mouth, and thus only translatable by human "Ambassadors". These are twins who have been genetically grown and raised so that with their twin voices speaking the two different parts of Language together they can communicate with the Hosts.

Eminently logical and unable to lie, the Hosts use humans in an attempt to understand the figurativeness of human speech and the gift of being able to say something that isn't true that eludes them. The story's heroine is recruited in this way as a child, and becomes "The Girl Who Ate What Was Given To Her".

After this part of the story, the book changes in pace and style, and almost loses its track in a couple of places - interesting threads are lost (such as the protagonist being an "Immer" pilot, able to navigate her way through a type of super-space between worlds and dimensions), and the political upheavals created by sects of humans who don't want the Hosts to learn how to lie.

The story regains cohesion, if not its original pace and eloquence, with the plot-line regarding a set of Ambassadors who speak language slightly incorrectly, which becomes a drug to the Hosts and stupefies them - forcing them to take drastic action against their guests to halt the destruction of their now-addicted culture.

It's an engaging and well-written sci-fi story set in a well-realised alien world lived in by humans, though the book itself suffers mid-way from competing plot-lines and a sudden change in style from the measured and eloquent to the more rushed pace of the second half.
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