Book Review: Perdido Street Station by China Miéville

Perdido Street Station by China Miéville

Let me start off by saying that this book took me a very, very long time to read. Today is January 9th, 2015. I don’t even remember the exact date I began reading this book. October, maybe September even. This book for me was a challenge to get through – it is not a bad book by any means (it’s actually really, really good) but it’s just so. damn. dense. This little book, this little unsuspecting book, that upon glancing at it might be an inch and a quarter wide, is over 600 pages. It’s packed to the brim with anything and everything. And I loved it.

The first thing one will notice when reading this book is Miéville’s writing style. This is the first book I’ve read by him, but I know I need to read the rest of his work now. It has to happen. I own the second book in his companion series and the third I can get my hands on if I want. It’s going to happen. Miéville’s writing is rich – it paints a picture in your mind of this intricate city and makes it feel like his characters are living and breathing and sitting in your living room. Without this level of detail or density, the book would have not been nearly as good as it is.

One thing that I noticed though, is that before I read the book, there are two synopses – one on goodreads and one on the back of the book. Both kind of touch on what the book is about, but neither one really… paints the picture fully. This book has plot in it for sure, but that’s not what the book is about. The book is about the city of New Crobuzon and those who live within it. China Miéville populates the city with these fantastic creatures, and they all are pretty damn cool. You won’t find elves running around here, but Khepri from Egyptian mythology and Garuda from Hinduistic lore and a bunch that he created himself that I won’t spoil. I just love them. It was so cool reading about these creatures and what they look like and how they interacted with the rest of society. It was just fantastic.

I think that one of my favorite parts about this book was that I sympathized with a lot of the characters. I almost teared up twice while reading this, I laughed a few times, I got tense, everything. None of these characters are 100% good. They all have something about them that is a bit unlikable. And I loved that. They had flaws, it made them feel more real.

The only thing about this book that I disliked was the ending. Well, dislike is too strong of a word I guess. More like, ‘wasn’t fulfilled’. I don’t know. The ending was good, but I felt like one of the plot points was tied up in a way that was unsatisfying, I guess. All the points were tied up, and I suppose the way the one I’m talking about was done so in a way that fit the characters and ended the book at a good time, but I don’t know. I can’t quite put my finger on why I didn’t like how that particularly part resolved. It just didn’t sit right with me.

Otherwise though, I really enjoyed this book, and I’m glad that I didn’t quit reading it when I realized it would take me a long time to read. It was definitely worth the wait to get through this book. I know I’m going to be thinking about this city and these characters for a long time to come. My poor copy of this book has gotten so beaten up over the course of being read. It lived in my bookbag throughout my past semester – it’s corners are frayed, its spine is cracked, the color has started to fade in the creases… it’s well read now, well loved. I highly suggest reading this book if you’re looking for something steampunky fantasy-y, sci-fi-y. This book is addicting and it will suck you in.

Overall Rating: 4.25/5 stars
My heart, it twists.

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