Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Review I Couldn't Resist

I wasn't going to write a review for Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, because of how busy life has been due to the start of the school year, and reading the next book for our book talk group. In the end, I couldn't resist.

This book is wonderful. It falls into the science fiction genre, under the sub-genre of steampunk. For those not familiar with the term, steampunk is mostly defined by a feel of the Victorian era and a mix of advanced technology with backwards technology or advanced technology run by steam power.

Set in New Crobuzon, this book is about a fringe scientist, Isaac Dan De Grimubulin, who is approached by a client, Yag, to restore his ability of flight after he has his wings removed as punishment for a "choice crime". We also get a view into his relationship with Lin, a kheperi. Lin is a sculpture artist, who acquires a mysterious client of her own. The story develops slowly and evolves into a complex web of events.

The most overwhelming (in a good way) aspect of this book is the masterful use of language employed by Mieville. His vocabulary is extremely rich and varied, even reading it for the second time I had to occasionally reach for a dictionary. The language lends an incredible texture to the tale. New Crobuzon is described in a way that makes you feel as if you could go there and touch the walls of Lin's apartment or the University buildings. It has the feel of an old English town, including horse-drawn (and other creature)taxis. Mieville uses words as a painters use hues and colors on a canvas, giving the reader layers and subtle details. You can tell by reading his works that he has a love of words. Even if science fiction isn't your usual genre, give this book a read, the sophistication of the writing makes it literature without question. If you are a writer, you will envy his vocabulary and weaving of words.

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