Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kraken - Review

Title: Kraken

Author: China Mieville

Synopsis: “Deep in the research wing of London’s Natural History Museum is a prize specimen, something that comes along much less often than once in a lifetime: a perfect, and perfectly preserved, giant squid. But what does it mean when the creature suddenly and impossibly disappears?
“For curator Billy Harrow it’s the start of a headlong pitch into a London of warring cults, surreal magic, apostates, and assassins. It might just be that the creature he’s been preserving is more than a biological rarity: there are those who are sure it’s a god.
“A God that someone is hoping will end the world.”

Review: I want to like Mieville’s books. I really do. I love his ideas, and I would like to poke around in his brain with a stick to figure out where these awe-inspiring ideas are coming from. It’s his writing however that leaves a bit to be desired. Kraken is full of brilliant paragraphs of description and thought, without the benefit of a character. Take this section for instance: “There is no knowing beyond that membrane, the meniscus of death. What can be seen from here is distorted, refracted. All we can know are those untrustworthy glimpses – that and rumour.” While this is beautiful language, I am confused and suddenly removed from the story. Who is the “we” he is talking about? The book is not written in first person, so these aren’t the main character’s thoughts. The other two books by Mieville that I’ve read, The Scar and Perdido Street Station (gorgeous stories) are also plagued by these descriptive paragraphs that are characterless and confusing. I read his books, and I enjoy them. Mieville’s stories are rich and complex if you are able to get past a few writing glitches.

Publisher: Del Rey

ISBN: 978-0345497499

If you like this book you may want to read:

Perdido Street Station by China Mieville (ISBN: 978-0345459404)

Scar Night by by Alan Campbell (ISBN: 978-0553589313)

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