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Kraken

An Anatomy
Miéville, China (Book - 2010 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Kraken
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With this outrageous new novel, China Miéville has written one of the strangest, funniest, and flat-out scariest books you will read this--or any other--year. The London that comes to life in Kraken is a weird metropolis awash in secret currents of myth and magic, where criminals, police, cultists, and wizards are locked in a war to bring about--or prevent--the End of All Things. In the Darwin Centre at London's Natural History Museum, Billy Harrow, a cephalopod specialist, is conducting a tour whose climax is meant to be the Centre's prize specimen of a rare Architeuthis dux -- better known as the Giant Squid. But Billy's tour takes an unexpected turn when the squid suddenly and impossibly vanishes into thin air. As Billy soon discovers, this is the precipitating act in a struggle to the death between mysterious but powerful forces in a London whose existence he has been blissfully ignorant of until now, a city whose denizens--human and otherwise--are adept in magic and murder. There is the Congregation of God Kraken, a sect of squid worshippers whose roots go back to the dawn of humanity--and beyond. There is the criminal mastermind known as the Tattoo, a merciless maniac inked onto the flesh of a hapless victim. There is the FSRC--the Fundamentalist and Sect-Related Crime Unit--a branch of London's finest that fights sorcery with sorcery. There is Wati, a spirit from ancient Egypt who leads a ragtag union of magical familiars. There are the Londonmancers, who read the future in the city's entrails. There is Grisamentum, London's greatest wizard, whose shadow lingers long after his death. And then there is Goss and Subby, an ageless old man and a cretinous boy who, together, constitute a terrifying--yet darkly charismatic--demonic duo. All of them--and others--are in pursuit of Billy, who inadvertently holds the key to the missing squid, an embryonic god whose powers, properly harnessed, can destroy all that is, was, and ever shall be.
Authors: Miéville, China
Title: Kraken
an anatomy
Publisher: New York : Del Rey/Ballantine Books, 2010
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 509 p. ; 25 cm
Content Type: text
Media Type: unmediated
Carrier Type: volume
ISBN: 034549749X
9780345497499
Branch Call Number: SCI-FIC MIEVILL 2010
Statement of Responsibility: China Miéville
Subject Headings: Cults Fiction Magic Fiction Giant squids Fiction Museum curators England Fiction
Genre/Form: Fantasy fiction
Topical Term: Cults
Magic
Giant squids
Museum curators
LCCN: 2010013893
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Feb 07, 2013
  • ColemanRidge rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This is huge fun. Mieville walks over into Neil Gaiman's territory with a story of gods and sorcerers warring in a hidden London. One value of this book is that it serves notice to Gaiman that if he wants to hold his place, he had better stop fooling around with children's stories and write something of stature. There is a lot of solid thinking about the nature and use of religion going on in the background of the story, mostly as invisibly as Tolkien's work on the Silmarillon in the Trilogy, but giving the work the same feeling of hidden depth. The bits of thought that do peek through are well worth reading. Mieville is a smart, well-educated Marxist, and Marxist critique of religion is much more sympathetic and subtle than recent popular efforts along the same line. Almost every story Mieville has ever written is set in some version of London, and in this one, he gets very close to the real London. The work gets life from the near presence of his beloved. As always, his imagery is disturbingly different from the usual fantasy menagerie. The Angels of Memory, guardian spirits coalesced from the innate magic of the city's museums and libraries, are an example. The Museum of Natural History's angel is a huge specimen jar of formaldehyde and bits of tissue, topped by a skull and ringed by sharp bone arms around its neck. Also, hidden streets, secret doors, running up and down walls, fighting, shooting, magic, a striking and effective allusion to the children's picture book Zoom at Sea, and an oddly sexy, moderately bad police witch.

Aug 18, 2012
  • shelleysf rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

One of Mieville's finest and most entertaining books. Readers of The City & The City will recognize familiar themes in the magical side of London that exists for cultists and magicians, that most of its citizens are never aware of. This book contains a huge mash-up of magic, fantasy, steampunk, and science fiction. It's a big book that rewards the time that it takes to read it. Clever and fast-paced fun.

May 04, 2012
  • GManBruce rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

If Mr. Mieville were the unlikely spawn of Harlen Ellison, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Roger Zelazny and Anne Rice then one woudn't be surprised by the imagination and sheer complexity of this book! It's got everything and finally, London is no longer a boring place.

Dec 11, 2011
  • Gpinglis rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Excellent book. For fans of Neil Gaiman, and Tim Powers.
Love the length, pacing, and characters.

Sep 26, 2011
  • rgally rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Land of much weirdness in a convoluted fantasy of giant squid and extreme origami. Got about half way through and just couldn't get through to the end.

Feb 01, 2011
  • Nords rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Unfortunately, I just couldn't finish this one. I loved "The City and the City" but couldn't get into this one. The actual plot, setting and characters were actually quite interesting and I liked the whole magic underworld in London. Kind of reminded me of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell sort of. But the way the book was written just turned me off. The author goes a bit too far out of his way to write in an odd metaphysical sort of way with what seems like a mix of made up or mish-mash words. I'm sure if I forced myself to finsh I'd probably would have liked it more so I feel a bit bad, but I guess this one wasn't for me.

Dec 23, 2010
  • daveaylward rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This book is great, but like all of his novels you have to give it the chance it deserves. His stories are never simple or easy to read, and that is a large part of why they are so good.

Dec 16, 2010
  • mosoak99 rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

stopped reading after about 75 pages... Since I can't interprete Cockney slang, I was confused half the time and had much difficulty following the story line.

Dec 11, 2010
  • walkermom rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

Ugh, Good story but it is hidden by obscure London slang (it makes Clockwork Orange read like the Queen's English!).
Like the other commenter, I found it to be long-winded. I had no empathy or concern for the characters.
This book has magical elements, but the "rules" are not clearly explained until much, much deeper in the book than I would have preferred - I spent the first 150 pages not really understanding what was going on, and the last 350 trying to care.

Oct 28, 2010
  • mpot rated this: 0.5 stars out of 5.

Got a wonderful review in the newspaper; I found it horribly boring and long-winded.

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Feb 21, 2013
  • damnmagpie rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

My Google-fu is strong.

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Dec 13, 2010
  • princess_smartypants rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

Kraken

A brief look at China Mieville's latest novel Kraken. A more detailed review can be found in episode 1 of the Bleedspace podcast available on ITunes. Bleedspace is a new science fiction, fantasy and horror monthly podcast.

Find it at SPL

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app09 Version sidamo (sidamo) Last updated 2014/09/15 11:31