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Kraken, by China Mieville Nebhead Send a noteboard - 02/01/2011 01:21:44 PM

Kraken is China Mieville's latest book, published in May 2010, and acts as an excellent insight into why he loves writing.

Kraken is set in London and follows Billy Harrow, a curator at the Natural History Museum. Billy's job is to catalogue and preserve biological specimens in formalin, including a giant squid. However, the squid very quickly goes missing, tank and all. Which is odd, given that there's no way the tank could have gotten out the door, and that there are no tank-shaped holes in the walls.

It's at this point at which Billy is slowly drawn into what China adores; the alternate London, full of cults at war, magical assassins, crimelords (one of which is a tattoo), and , surprisingly, the police (the Met's FSRC, or the Fundamentalist and Sect-Related Crime unit).

It's clear that China revells in London phantasmagoria, and that he's most happy when writing about cities (see King Rat, Perdido Street Station, The City & The City and Un Lun Dun). Kraken isn't as dark or obtusely written as his earlier Bas Lag books, and nor is it a YA book as Un Lun Dun was. It is rather a mix of both; the darkness isn't completely gone, but it's more refined and subtle, rather than the jarring in-your-face harshless of Bas Lag. Kraken is much more accessible.

I don't think it was quite as good as The City & The City; there's a tendancy for China to be unnecessarily loquacious, and I'm positive that he writes with a thesaurus permanently by his side; it's fairly obvious that China enjoys playing with words, with ones such as "squiddity" dotted all over the place. I'm also not entirely happy with the ending; not because of the ending itself, but because of its disjoint with the rest of the book. I would have appreciated a bit more tie in, to make it less random.

However, despite some minor gripes, Kraken is a lot of fun; it's a tense action adventure with some surprisingly comic moments. It's maor plus point though, and generally always is with China Mieville, is the world building; it's a pleasure to explore the hidden London and its magic. It's innovative, frequently funny and packed full of great ideas.

In the final summation, a recommended read. Four out of five fiery apocalypses.


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Kraken, by China Mieville - 02/01/2011 01:21:44 PM 6220 Views
I really did not like King Rat - 02/01/2011 02:55:16 PM 676 Views
I think you might. - 02/01/2011 03:17:08 PM 598 Views
Re: I think you might. - 02/01/2011 03:24:59 PM 661 Views
Coolness. I'll definitely put that on The Listâ„¢. *NM* - 02/01/2011 06:21:21 PM 369 Views
I thought the other list was the Trademarked one. - 02/01/2011 07:59:58 PM 754 Views
Nah, that's The List®. *NM* - 03/01/2011 11:21:05 AM 361 Views
Hmm. You are a bit more positive than I'd be, but okay. *NM* - 02/01/2011 09:10:08 PM 331 Views
Re: I am going to pick this up, and soon. Thanks for the review. *NM* - 07/01/2011 06:06:29 PM 406 Views
I'd give it 3/5. - 09/05/2011 08:00:30 PM 686 Views

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