I ordered a copy of the US release of the Iron Council, having immensely enjoyed Perdido Street Station and the Scar. I was really looking forward to delving into New Crobuzon's dark and oppressive alleyways. China has an amazing way with words, the narrative in his novels and novella is superb and truly grips the reader refusing to relinquish is grasp. Unfortunately, this novel really disappointed me, I found it difficult to get into, highly unlike any of China's other works; and must confess that towards the end of the novel I almost committed the ultimate sin of starting another book, The Scar, to make myself feel better. I found it very difficult to feel anything for the characters in the novel, which is a major departure from China's earlier work. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed some parts of the novel; but to me, it feels like a stop gap between fantastic pieces of literature, like the Perdido Street Station and The Scar. I feel that is would have been better served having come out of PS Publishing as a novella, like the Tain, which was very good and didn't have any padding in it. There was some good material in the novel, the aftermath of the construct council, the cacotopic stain, the nightmares that plagued New Crobuzon some thirty year prior to this novel and Toro, all of which linked nicely into Perdido Street Station, which I had just finished re-reading in anticipation of the Iron Council. As always, read the novel yourself and make your own mind up, but in my humble opinion, the ending isn't all that. I am just hoping I was having a bad week when I read the novel. I need to re-read The Scar and then I think I will give the iron council another go.