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Publisher's Summary

Beneath the towering bleached ribs of a dead, ancient beast lies New Crobuzon, a squalid city where humans, Re-mades, and arcane races live in perpetual fear of Parliament and its brutal militia. The air and rivers are thick with factory pollutants and the strange effluents of alchemy, and the ghettos contain a vast mix of workers, artists, spies, junkies, and whores.In New Crobuzon, the unsavory deal is stranger to none - not even to Isaac, a brilliant scientist with a penchant for Crisis Theory. Isaac has spent a lifetime quietly carrying out his unique research. But when a half-bird, half-human creature known as the Garuda comes to him from afar, Isaac is faced with challenges he has never before fathomed. Though the Garuda's request is scientifically daunting, Isaac is sparked by his own curiosity and an uncanny reverence for this curious stranger.While Isaac's experiments for the Garuda turn into an obsession, one of his lab specimens demands attention: a brilliantly colored caterpillar that feeds on nothing but a hallucinatory drug and grows larger - and more consuming - by the day. What finally emerges from the silken cocoon will permeate every fiber of New Crobuzon, and not even the Ambassador of Hell will challenge the malignant terror it invokes.A magnificent fantasy rife with scientific splendor, magical intrigue, and wonderfully realized characters, told in a storytelling style in which Charles Dickens meets Neal Stephenson, Perdido Street Station offers an eerie, voluptuously crafted world that will plumb the depths of every reader's imagination.
©2003 China Mieville; (P)2009 Random House Audio
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Critic Reviews

"The author of King Rat delivers a powerful tale about the power of love and the will to survive in a dystopian universe that combines Victorian elements with a fantasy version of cyberpunk. Mieville's visceral prose evokes an immediacy that commands attention and demands a wide readership. Highly recommended." (Library Journal)
"Mr. Miéville's novels - seven so far - have been showered with prizes; three have won the Arthur C. Clarke award, given annually to the best science fiction novel published in Britain…. [H]e stands out from the crowd for the quality, mischievousness and erudition of his writing…. Among the many topics that bubble beneath the wild imagination at play are millennial anxiety, religious cults, the relationship between the citizen and the state and the role of fate and free will." (The New York Times)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Ryan on 05-08-10

Almost brilliant

Mieville is a literate, imaginative writer and creator of alternate worlds. Picture a baroque, stylized blend of fantasy, steampunk, and dystopian sci-fi, the sort of work that might result if Charles Dickens, Neal Stephenson, Philip K. Dick, William Gibson, and Guillermo del Toro decided to collaborate. Mievelle's New Crobuzon is sprawling, grimy city reminiscent of London circa 1890, populated with all kinds of strange races (in addition to humans), each with its own unique physiology, culture, and way of reacting to the techno-magical "modern" world.

Mieville's universe is colorful, messy, and grotesque (if you're weirded out by the human-non-human romance described early on, stop reading), but has a seriousness that makes it engrossing. Characters struggle with relationships, careers, politics, racism, and moral dilemmas, even as they face conspiracies, extra-dimensional monsters, crime bosses, and a police state government. Thrown in are musings on scientific/magic philosophy and machine sentience (though the latter has been handled more interestingly by other authors). There's a lot going on in this book, to say the least. Fans of Neal Stephenson will appreciate all the meta-reflection.

Unfortunately, there's a little too much going on. Towards the end, the intricate plot snowballs under its own momentum, and both characters and themes get buried in the tumult. The last third races through battles and some grandiose, technobabble-heavy confrontations between higher-order beings, before arriving at an oddly deflating epilogue. I can't help but think that Mieville, with a little more editing, might have come up with a last act as involving as the first one, and completed his characters' personal journeys in a more memorable way.

Still, it's an impressive novel, and one that a lot of speculative fiction readers will enjoy for its writing, imagination, and audacious scope.

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12 of 12 people found this review helpful

By Cherry on 06-23-10

Wish I could rate it higher - skipped audio

I really wanted to be able to give this audio book a higher rating because it's a masterpiece. From China Mieville's fantastic, descriptive and dark writing (that I fell for with UnLondon), to John Lee's superb narration this book is just perfect. I seriously couldn't ask for any more. One of dark Science Fiction's best writers and one of the world's best narrators of audio books.

Unfortunately on Part 3 of the audio at 3:30:30 (not kidding) there is a jump in the audio and story. I don't know how much is missing but for such an expensive book I'm disappointed.

I've submitted a report to audible in the hopes this can be fixed and if so I will update my review accordingly.

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68 of 73 people found this review helpful

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