Currently Reading

Currently Reading: The Undivided by Jennifer Fallon

Monday, February 28, 2011

Mini Review: Perdido Street Station by China Miéville

Perdido Street StationChina Miéville (Published 2000)
Genre: Fantasy
Sub-genre: New Weird, with lashings of Steampunk
Completed: October 7 2010

Perdido Street Station provided me with a unique, exciting and instructive reading experience. I was blown away by Miéville’s intelligence and imagination and forced to recognize that here is a writer who is truly smarter than I am. He creates a living, breathing (and let’s not forget dirty) city in New Crobuzon, filled with unforgettable and enjoyably disturbing imagery. To quote the review that convinced me to read Perdido Street Station in the first place, Miéville has written his ambition all over the page. I was thoroughly engaged and consumed by his city.

Then I read the second half of the novel. Perhaps Miéville was overambitious. The most obvious flaw is with the plot. Without going into too much detail in this mini review, the focus of the story shifts drastically away from Yagharek’s (a bird-man of sorts) struggle to have his flight restored and on to Isaac’s (the ‘mad’ scientist) effort to destroy the creatures he has accidentally unleashed on New Crobuzon. At times a somewhat complicated character known as the Weaver is required to step in and save our heroes as a classic deus ex machina.

It would be too strong to declare that the ending betrays the promise of the story. It is foreshadowed, but it still feels disappointing. Realistically, the conclusion is disappointing only in proportion to how superb the first half was.

Perdido Street Station certainly contains mind blowing passages that would merit 5 stars if the same quality was maintained throughout, but the inconsistency results in a solid 3.5 stars.

No comments:

Post a Comment