Thursday, July 08, 2010

Insert "Release the Kraken" joke here

China Mieville


Sometimes, when you finish a book like Kraken, that's all you can say.


I've waited a bit to write this review in an effort to allow the effects of the novel to settle a bit. Still, "Dude" is all I can manage even now, days later.

Kraken was my first encounter with Mieville, despite The City and the City being on my TBR list for an eternity now. I had expected his work to be intelligent, weird, maybe even a little difficult to plow through, but I underestimated what was in store for me. Simply put, Kraken is awe-inspiring.

Although a simple summary is near impossible, let's see what I can manage: the novel begins as Billy Harrow leads a tour through the Darwin Center only to find the centerpiece of its exhibit, an eight-meter-long giant squid, has disappeared -- tank and all. Investigators are baffled.

Billy soon finds himself thrown into a world he never knew existed: one full of thugs, sorcerers, Londonmancers, strange cults (like the Krakenists who worship the giant squid, obviously), and more. It isn't long before Billy discovers the missing Kraken will bring about the apocalypse. Oh noes!

my bad

This fast-paced, labyrinthine novel will make you work (it's 500 pages and feels like it), but it's worth it. The large cast of characters might be unnecessary but I was so entertained and fascinated by them that I didn't care. (C'mon -- Tattoo? Hysterical. Goss and Subby? Mesmerizing. Wati? Genius.)

Besides, watching each group duke it out over a giant squid is ANYTHING but boring. And what will happen when the squid is found? Can the end of the world be avoided? Or will it all go up in flames? You'll want to find out -- and the answer will be anything but predictable.

In a nutshell: Awesome, awesome, awesome. Kraken grips readers from the onset and tears right through to the end. Once it gets its tentacles around you, escape is impossible.

Bibliolatry Scale: 5.5 out of 6 stars

FTCBS: Personal, hardcover copy over here. woot woot


Trisha said...

I love reading reviews like this; they get me all worked up and ready to go out and buy buy buy. This sounds like a great read. Thanks for the suggestion.

Avid Reader said...

I'd heard about this one, but I wasn't sure it was for me. Your review has convinced me. I've got to read it.

Kristen M. said...

I've only read Mieville's YA book, Un Lun Dun (which I loved), and wasn't sure what adult book to try first. Even though I own another one, this is going to be it! Awesome review.

Nymeth said...

Biblibio said...

I've only read Mieville's "Perdido Street Station", which was just weird. I'm really looking forward to reading "Kraken", which seems a little more suited to my tastes than "The City and the City". I'm glad to hear it's awesome.

Also: krakens. How can it not be awesome?

Lori L said...

Going on my wish list ASAP! Great review!

Bibliolatrist said...

I'm glad to hear so many of you are excited by this review (a review that, by the way, fails to encompass the true awesomeness of the novel)...I just hope I didn't overhype it and let you down!

nat @book, line, and sinker said...

your review is hilarious...but i'm not sure i know exactly what's going on in this book. it sounds like quite the epic! the character names alone are enough to scare me back to some chick-lit summer reading! lol.