Perdido Street Station by China Miéville
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
New Crobuzon certainly was an interesting place. The Namesake of the book, Perdido Street Station, is the city's transportation hub. It also houses the embassy building and the Spike, the headquarters for the dreaded Militia. The city is ran by Mayor Ruttgutter, he's the epitome of corruption and he has bad eyes that need to be replaced regularly. New Crobuzon also has its fair share of bad guys like Mr. Motley, a gangster who's used the weird art of "remaking" to alter his body by adding additional parts twisting his appearance into something grotesque. The city is also broken into other sections, including slums and affluent areas. Most of the first half of the book took part in Brock Marsh, the scientific district.
The main protagonist of the book, Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin a human, lives in the Brock Marsh and is love with Lin. This is a dicey subject in the book since Lin is a Khepri, which is an insect-like race. The females have more humanistic bodies than the males, but insect heads. The two keep their romance a secret as it's not normal in their society.
The story picks up the pace when Issac is approached by Yagharek, a garuda which is a bird like race who have upright human-like bodies, wings, beaks, and feathers. Yagharek has asked Issac to help him fly again, Yagharek has been de-winged and cannot fly. He has committed something called choice theft and as been exiled from his nomadic people. Issac takes on the challenge and in his research acquires a multicolored caterpillar, which turns out to be very bad. It sets into motion all manner of bad stuff, so bad that the ambassador of Hell doesn't even want to be involved. This isn't a terrible thing though, it allows us to meet the Weaver and the Construct Council, who's avatar is mighty creepy.
I enjoyed this story, the process of reading it wasn't a chore like some I've read. I liked that it was Steampunk, but not too Steampunk. What I mean is that it wasn't over the top like a bunch of geeked out cos-playing nerds at a convention with top hats, googles, vests, monocles, and gears affixed to everything. Yes, I'm totally judging the vendors at conventions like GenCon who sell all that crap. I would have rated the book a five, but the ending threw that out the door. It wasn't a bad ending, it just wasn't what I expected and it sort of let me down. Sometime in the not too distance future, I will finish out the series and read The Scar and The Iron Council.
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