~by China Miéville
2001 Arthur C. Clarke Award Winner
2001 British Fantasy Award Winner
2001 British Science Fiction Association Award Nominee
2001 James Tiptree, Jr. Award Nominee
2001 Locus Award Nominee
2001 World Fantasy Award Nominee
2002 Hugo Award Nominee
2003 Nebula Award Nominee
I find this book to be rather difficult to describe or to explain very well to people who haven't read the book, especially without revealing too much of the plot. And of course, those who have read it don't really need me to tell them too much about it, although I find it makes a great conversation piece.
One of the things that's so wonderful about this book is that it defies attempts to declare it as belonging to a particular genre; it has elements of science fiction, fantasy, steampunk, crime fiction, dystopia, and horror. And that's just to name a few.
Miéville's prose is another element that I find absolutely superb about this novel. The phrasing, and particularly his choice of word, is extraordinarily well done and particularly evocative. Some readers might find his writing heavy-handed, but I happen to enjoy descriptive writing. His descriptions of New Crobuzon (the rather nasty city in which the story takes place) are so vivid that they honestly make my skin crawl. He creates a gritty, realistic atmosphere and runs with it. I know for a fact this is a place I never, want to visit. Ever.
The world he conceives is extraordinary, complex, and not at all a nice place. The novel swept me along, adding creative element upon creative element. A somewhat lengthy book with a winding plot-line, he builds up to what should be a fantastic ending, but it unfortunately falls flat and I was rather disappointed, especially after what was such a fantastic read.