Monday, October 10, 2005

Book 50: Perdido Street Station, by China Miéville

I'd just like to note before I start that with my completion of this novel, I officially reached my goal of 50 books read in 2005. I'd say that I'll try to increase that number for 2006, but I'll wait until the new year rolls around to re-evaluate.

I became intrigued by China Miéville as an author when I read an interview with him in The Believer magazine. As he talked about the fantasy worlds he has created in his various novels, I found myself ridiculously excited to read his second novel, Perdido Street Station. Many aficionados of the fantasy genre have noted that this book is singular in its creation of a dystopia that is chock-full of monsters and unique races, but also brimming with intelligence. And indeed, even though I actually finished Perdido Street Station a few weeks ago, it's still on my mind. The characters that populate the book are so thoughtfully designed that it's hard not to become attached. Frankly, I'm a little disappointed that Miéville's follow-up, The Scar, doesn't continue their story (though it is set in the same world - New Crobuzon). That's probably not fair, though, because given the book's length and detail, he did an outstanding job of vividly covering all of the various lives involved in the story.

The most compelling thing I can say about the book is that the story's monsters are perhaps the most fascinating characters in the tale. They are subtly introduced into the story as what seems to be a tertiary side-plot, but I found that as other portions of the storyline were unfolding, I kept wondering what was happening with these…beings. And in the end, I was thrilled with the direction Miéville took them. I absolutely recommend Perdido Street Station to readers who enjoy their fantasy *extremely* dark and hyper-smart.

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