Perdido Street Station by China Miéville
Rogue scientist Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin and a motley band of helpers, both human and non-human, do battle with a dark force which is stalking the city of New Crobuzon in this award-winning urban fantasy.
Although Isaac is purportedly the main character in this novel, it is the city of New Crobuzon itself which takes centre stage. The author does not miss an opportunity to describe in evocative and atmospheric detail new parts of the steampunk, Dickensian metropolis that is Isaac’s home town. From the magnificence that is Perdido Street Station, at the heart of the city, to the fetid sewers, the city is brought to life in gorgeous detail by Miéville’s writing.
The story is engaging, the characters are likeable and the plot ticks along at just the right pace. Doorstop-sized novels such as this can have a tendency to drag a little in parts, but this one does not lose the reader’s interest at any time.
Miéville creates a wealth of original characters in this novel, from the bird-like Garuda to the spider-like Weaver and the flying Wyrmen. We even meet the Ambassador of Hell. My only slight criticism is that, for a novel of this length, character development seems to have been downplayed in favour of the plot.
A real page-turner (and at 867 pages, you certainly get your money’s worth of pages to turn). Highly recommended.