Fantasist's Scroll

Fun, Fiction and Strange Things from the Desk of the Fantasist.

3/15/2003

Review of Perdido Street Station

Filed under: — Posted by the Fantasist during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I finished Perdido Street Station this week.

My earlier appraisal of it’s literary merit has been born out. This is possibly the most interesting fantasy book I’ve read in the past five years. I guess that’s why it’s won awards, eh?
Now, I’m going to talk plot, so if you’d like to avoid any spoilers, just skip this until later.

The book starts off with quite a lot of wandering around New Crobuzon, where the story takes place. But, there is plenty of action to keep the reader interested, so I didn’t really mind, even though it went on for almost 200 pages. The entire book, after all, is over 700 pages, so 200 setting up the story isn’t really that bad. And, in that 200 pages, China Mieville sets up several plots and sub-plots. But, it’s a bit further before the reader figures out which one is the main plot.
The first of the two dueling sub-plots involve a flightless bird-man, called garudas, named Yagharek. He’s had his wings sawed off as a punishment by his tribe for some unknown crime. He’s come seeking a rogue scientist named Issac Grimnebulin who can help him fly again. Or, so he hopes.
The second sub-plot, which becomes the main thrust of the action, is a result of Issac’s “reasearch” into flight for Yagharek. He accidentally acquires a very deadly moth in it’s caterpillar phase. He raises the moth, mainly out of curiosity, and accidentally releases it on the city.
These two plots continue through out the book, constantly intertwined to a greater or lesser degree. Issac and Yagharek are joined by a motley crew of compatriots and temporary allies as they try to solve both the problem of flight and the destruction of a deadly, mind-stealing moth. Along the way, they make numerous discoveries, meet with tragedy, and find renewed hope.

It’s a very interesting and thought provoking book. And worth every last page of the 710.

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