Wednesday, August 25, 2010


KrakenKraken by China Miéville

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was good, but not great. Really probably 3.5 stars - it did seem to get better as it went on.

Kraken is set in modern-day London, but a London full of all kinds of para-normal places & people. It is a sprawling story of the end of the world and those who are trying to prevent it (including squid worshippers) and those trying to make it happen (a living tattoo and a dead magician). Several 'normal' folks get caught up in the goings-on, but, as is usual with Mieville's work, there are more oddities per page than most authors have in an entire book! One must certainly be willing to 'think outside the box' to enjoy Mieville's work - and in this book, he doesn't disappoint. Even his prose is full of wonderful oddments: " bit at him like a rooftop would..." Um, yeah. :-)

But,despite all this, it didn't quite grab me as much as his other books have (Perdido Street Station, The Scar, two name 2). I never quite felt compelled to read it, as I usually am with his books. It was only in the last 75 pages or so that I didn't want to put the book down. Mind you, it wasn't that I didn't enjoy the book, but it never really gripped me until the end.

Still, this is a book chock-full of stuff you'll never read anywhere else. Mieville's way of looking at things just is not normal! But it IS intriguing, unique and makes you want to come back for more - there's really nothing like it. His books are very "baroque", if you will: full of lots of curlicues and intricate designs and nooks and crannies. There is nothing 'plain' anywhere - and though this isn't my favorite of his books, it is still a fine example of his unmatched creativity and weirdness!

I also find it interesting that this is the 2nd book I've read this summer having to do with multiple gods and an apocalypse (the other being American Gods by Neil Gaiman). These 2 books are quite different in style, yet have some similar themes (gods, worship, belief, faith). And Gaiman is the only other author I know that writes books that are just as full of weird and creative ideas. I find it interesting to think about these books in light of each other.

Anyway, this was a good book, and certainly worth reading if you enjoy speculative fiction. If it is your introduction to Mieville, it may make you go "wow!" - perhaps I'm just too used to being wowed by him!

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