Perdido Street Station by China Mieville
Review by Ryan Lawler
Perdido Street Station is the first book in China Mieville's New Crobuzon series, published by Macmillian in 2000. The book is set in the world of Bas-Lag, a fantasy world full of weird and wonderful creatures and environments unlike anything I have ever read about before. This book is quite large and Mieville has a habit of continously introducing new information and concepts all the way through to the end of the book, making it a very daunting challenge. However, it is very easy to become immersed in his world and in the end all of the information and loose ends are drawn together for one of the most satisfying conclusions to a book I have read in recent memory.
While this book is part of a series, Perdido Street Station is essentially a standalone novel made up from a collection of short stories that are woven into one central story. The central story revolves around Isaac, a neurotic scientist who is trying to manufacture a new set of wings for a Garuda (a bird-like man) whose wings had been ripped off as punishment for committing an unspeakable crime. Conducting his research by obtaining as many specimens of flying creatures as possible, Isaac unwittingly sets in motion a sequence of events that unleashes a bunch of monstrous Slake Moths. These creatures terrorise the city of New Crobuzon, leaving their victims completely catatonic by feeding on their subconscious mind, and will continue to do so unless Isaac can figure out a way to stop them.
This is a very busy novel, there are so many different stories in motion and it feels like something new happens every time you turn the page. While on the whole this flood of information is handled exceptionally well, usually leading to some breathtaking action sequences, it can sometimes be very hard to keep up with. As a result I found myself focusing almost exclusively on the main story, caring less and less about subplots that seemed to have nothing to do with the central story to the point where I was disregarding a lot of information, not knowing that it would become very important later in the story.
Perdido Street Station is a well written and absorbing story aimed at breaking the rules for a number of different fantasy concepts. There are some minor issues regarding information overload and the use of profanities which can quickly remove the sense of immersion, but these are easily overcome by the beauty and creativity of the world that Mieville has created. Perdido Street Station is a very intricate and complex novel that provides a refreshing challenge to the way in which epic fantasy is traditionally explored.
Great book! Captivating, dark and really imaginative. A wonderful change in a world full of plain standard fantasy.
Allan from Bridgend
Brilliant author with an incredible imagination.....
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