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3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  12,313 ratings  ·  1,863 reviews
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 Thin...more
Hardcover, 509 pages
Published June 29th 2010 by Del Rey (first published June 24th 2010)
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Mockingjay by Suzanne CollinsSpirit Bound by Richelle MeadDead in the Family by Charlaine HarrisLinger by Maggie StiefvaterClockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Can't Wait Books of 2010
172nd out of 1,185 books — 10,699 voters
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Not the Booker Prize 2010
8th out of 86 books — 158 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Oh hey. An lolcat.That's new. But wait, because even though they are 1,000,000 years old in internet time, lolcats are only kittens in "offline" time, by which I mean the time by which your parents live their lives (go on, check your email right now: your dad just forwarded you a bunch of them. Hahaha Invisible Bike. I forgot about that one).

Moreover, judged by the molasses pace of the publishing industry, they're younger still. So I give props to China Miéville (you're only getting that acute...more
Stephen my excitement, I seem to have Mievilled all over myself. Pardon my gush.

So the ONLY reason this gatling blast of brainstorming outréness is not yet nesting on my all time favorite shelf along with Perdido Street Station and The City & The City is that my feeble grey matter is still trying to process whattheFrench I just read. I grasped the big picture, though my neurons were white-knuckled and straining, but there were so, so, SO many reference gems, idea snippets, bizarre sound...more
Jun 21, 2012 Nataliya rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: China Miéville fans
Recommended to Nataliya by: Catie

Unpredictable, funny, and chock-full of weird with a side of SQUIDDITY apocalypse - and yet (oh blasphemy!) Kraken is my first 3-starred Miéville. This hurts my fangirl soul.

But here's the thing - even the weakest book by His Chinaness is still better that the strongest offerings of most other writers. Therefore me giving it 3 stars in NO WAY puts it in the same category that some of the drecks that I've read. I liked this one. It's just that it in NO WAY measures up to the usual amazing and bra...more
Chapter 1: Wow, this is kind of cool. Everybody says China Miéville is the shit. He owns the GR comment boards. He can kick ass in any genre, or no genre, or bend genres to fit his will. Not to mention his good looks, right? I mean, the dude is hawt with a capital H. Hubba-Fuckin-Hubba. At least, that's what I've been told; personally I think he looks like a rude, low-class French waiter who hasn't bathed and has been relegated to peeling potatoes in the back alley where he can't scare off the c...more
In the city of _______, the end of the world is quickly approaching, instigated when a/an _______ gets stolen. Genero, the undistinguished protagonist, all of a sudden discovers a new world when he's ________ by a ________ and then rescued by a ________. It then turns out he is a hero sort, a necessary element of the battle between a ______ and a/an ___________.

Jeff Vandermeer: Alright, Mieville, the name of a city.

China Mieville: This will be a London sometin'.

JV: Alright *writes it in* Now,...more
Dan Schwent
A preserved giant squid is stolen from London's Natural History museum and curator Billy Harrow is at the top of everyone's list for answers. But who stole the Kraken and why? Was it the Londonmancers? Or minions of the Tattoo? Or the Church of the God Kraken? Or someone else all together? That's what Billy Harrow and Dane Parnell, a renegade from the Church, aim to find out. But can they recover the Kraken before it's used to trigger Armageddon?

China Mieville appears to have the Midas touch at...more
Seak (Bryce L.)
First off, a book with the title Kraken is required to have a sinking ship attacked by a Kraken or at least have the line "release the Kraken" make sense. Sorry, it's in the rules...This did not have any.

If that's what you're looking for, look elsewhere, although if you know anything about Mieville (I'm told), you should know that you never really get what you expect from his novels.

Kraken was my first crack (or should I say krak) at China Mieville outside of the 100 or so pages I read of Perdid...more
Nov 23, 2012 Paul rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: novels
Kraken gave me a severe case of goodreaditus, an unpleasant condition whereby as you are reading a book you are constantly thinking not about the book itself but how you are going to review it. For example I thought maybe I could borrow the voice of Cher Horowitz from Clueless

Here's the four-one-one on Billy Harrow. He's like a squid janitor, he's single, he's 24 or something, quite old, and he earns minor duckets for a thankless job. What that man needs is a good healthy boinkfest. Unfortunatel...more
Jun 27, 2012 Catie rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Catie by: Nataliya
I never thought I’d give a China Mieville book two stars. There’s just so much that I love about his writing and world-building; although he does tend to move through genres with a shocking (shocking!!) lack of respect for genre boundaries I never thought there’d come a day when he wrote a story that wasn’t really my thing. In fact, I believe I’ve said almost these exact words a few times: “His world-building is so inventive and amazing and his prose is so beautiful – I think I could read his wo...more
David Katzman
Dec 29, 2013 David Katzman rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of adult/urban fantasy, gritty Brits, and/or punkers
The most fun you can have with a giant squid this side of Japanese octopus porn. I take that back. It’s the most fun no matter which side of octopus porn you’re on.

This is the first China Miéville work I’ve read so I wasn’t tainted by any of his previous books. I went in with few expectations. And how did I feel coming out? The dude rocks.

Here's the the milieu: Magic exists in modern day London, and, hidden behind mystical distractions, a secret society of competing religious cults, for-hire mag...more
Kraken marks a digression for Mieville from his familiar madcap style. Where before we had come to expect moody, slow-burn plots interrupted by sudden action, and just as suddenly back to introspection, we now get a story that is dramatic, unbroken, and streamlined in punchy chapters and theatrical quick-cuts.

His vibrant, poetical asides into mad science and techno-thaumaturgy have been toned down: no longer a virulent undercurrent, twisting and shaping his world, they have become curiosities an...more
"Now look," said Billy, in an uncertain approximation of his reasonable voice. "What's all this about? Can't someone tell me?"

"Oh, for fuck's sake," replied Collingwood in disgust. "Someone's been trying to tell you for most of your sodding life. You just won't listen, will you? But if you want something more explicit, there's always Goodreads."

She opened a grubby-looking Apple Powerbook with a Hello Kitty sticker on the lid and began typing.

"What's Goodreads got to do with it?" whispered Billy,...more
There's something agonisingly frustrating about throwing a China Miéville novel across the room.

The problem, I think, is in convincing myself that it actually deserves to be thrown. Because a Miéville novel should be brilliant. Both Kraken and the other Miéville I've read, The City & The City, are built on fascinating conceits. Like City's politically schizoid metropolis, the hidden London into which a museum curator is drawn after theft of a giant squid promises a wild, intelligently drawn...more
Many other writers have done urban fantasy, re-envisioning modern metropolises hiding a magical underbelly co-existing alongside the modern technological veneer: JK Rowling and the Harry Potter novels, Neil Gaiman and American Gods, Charles de Lint and his Newford novels. All of that is like Campari next to Miéville’s hard 100-year old whiskey. He ratchets up the weirdness, twists it and integrates it into modernity in a way that’s well… let’s just say that if Kraken were to get into a celebrity...more
August 2010


There’s a tale for ya. Miéville’s got him some oldoldreaders, deepfans what’ve been there since yearone or earlier (but not me, sadtosay; we smileflirted in bookstores but I didn’t heedthecall til yearfive), and in some of the forums there’s been a legend for years: Kraken! The bigsecret. Been talked about since early yeareight, maybe far back as ‘seven, but no one knew what it was. Justwhispers. Another Bas-Lag? Couldn’t be; sounded Scar-ish. Something newworld? Something thi
To me this book only went downhill from the sluggish start. In fact I was forced to skim read the book in order to actually finish.

The book tried so very hard to be dark and gritty and really only came across as trying. It was an awkward book, a mutated beast with bludgeoned tentacles. of course that was simply my experience with the book sadly after reading some rave reviews here on Goodreads.

It failed in my opinion, it didn't work for me. It felt crude, rather than polished and particularly r...more
Feb 26, 2014 Carmen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: SF-F Fans who are up for a Challenge
Recommended to Carmen by: Library
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
This book is crazy.

Now, either China Miéville writes your kind of crazy or he doesn't. If you read this book and think "This is crazy...but it kind of makes sense," then you're good to go. However, if you have to ditch it after 100 pages because all you can think is "WTF?", then this book is not for you.

What makes it difficult is that Miéville tends to plunge you into his crazy world and hopes you'll hold on long enough to start to enjoy the ride. He's not big on info-dumping or exposition. Read...more
I am officially throwing in the towel, page 291. Sorry, Mr. Mieville. I know some women around her love you but I think maybe I chose the wrong book with which to start your catalog.

Kraken isn't awful. In short bursts Mieville is inventive, sometimes startlingly so. But the novel read like a suspense movie that goes on too long and I stopped caring about the plot and/or characters. And some of the stronger elements weren't strong enough to support storyline cliches. Man stumbles into a secret,...more
WARNING: This "review" (if you can call it that) contains some veiled but serious spoilers. Only read this review if you've read Kraken or aren't planning to read it for some time.

Miéville's Brain*

Star Trekiteuthis: The Original Series
Episode: TOS 061 - Spock's Brain
Season 3 Ep. 1
Air Date: 09/20/1968
Stardate: 5431.4

The U.S.S. Architeuthis is on a routine mission in its preservative bottle when a riffling, ink stained, paper tiger beams into the National History Museum. Without a word, the tiger...more
My comment on the first Mieville book I read was something like, “brilliant book! Shame it has no soul.” Second verse, etc.

A quick-moving book about a giant squid corpse that is going to end the world. No really. It’s got this absinth-intense whacko worldbuilding – all squid cults and fire that burns time and animal familiar labor strikes. It has the sort of sense of humor you would need to carry off “squid pro quo” jokes. And wonderful writing, of course. Every sentence in a Mieville book has f...more
Ian Tregillis
It's surprising to me, how lukewarm I am about this book. Especially given how much I enjoyed and admire The City and the City. After that experience with City (my first exposure to Mieville), I figured that Kraken would be a slam-dunk reading experience for me. Who doesn't love giant squid? I worked a reference to Architeuthis into my thesis, for crying out loud. (Which took some doing, since the subject had nothing to do with marine biology.) So I really think I ought to have loved this.

I didn...more
I've always enjoyed China Miéville's weirdness. In Perdido Street Station and The Scar, he created two places on a very vivid world and populated them with all kinds of interesting people of several species. In The City & The City, he created an interesting idea and used a murder mystery format to show it to us. Despite the oddness of these stories, I had no problem understanding what was going on.

Kraken starts off promising and ends great, but there's a huge hunk in the middle that I just c...more
This return to classic Mieville after the quite unMievillelike The City & The City is his best yet. It's an unabashed celebration of all that is London as we've seen from him in King Rat and Un Lun Dun, but 10-fold. His adoration for the city is clear and I loved every second of it.

I found it funny that this book, written by a man, contained greatest female character I've ever read. Collingswood- she is so real and tough and ...just excellent! The char. of Goss and Subby, some of the scarie...more
I was not, for the entirety of my reading experience, sure what to make of Kraken. Blurbs promised funny -- well, it didn't make me laugh, though there was a wry smile or two. And there was the feeling I always get with Miéville's work, a sort of, "Mm, okay, but give me something to get hold of."

His work is frenetic, absolutely full of clever things, full of references to this and that, a nod here and a nod there. I've learnt to just sit back and wait for the end, for things to detangle themselv...more
Apr 23, 2011 Jasmine added it
Shelves: british
review reconsidered see:

Okay my goal to day was to be like Greg and to finish a book, given I didn't actually have that much of a book left but whatever.

This book has a lot of person problems that it is trying to work out, basically it is a bit of a hot mess.

It isn't as intelligent as mieville's other books, it worries me a bit that the blurb says this is him going back to perdido street station because I was intending on reading that, and if it is anyt...more
Nov 27, 2010 Terence rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Mieville fans; urban fantasists
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Someone has stolen the Darwin Centre's Architeuthis dux, the giant squid or kraken, and now an apocalypse is imminent. Only no one knows who stole the squid or which apocalypse it might be, though the Londonmancers have divined it involves fire. And with that China Mieville takes us on a roller-coaster ride through London as we follow various characters and their attempts to figure out what's going on.

I had fun reading this book. Mieville has fun with the language and with conspiracy theories, a...more
After the interesting reaction to The City and the City, we get Kraken, which is, dare I say it (and to borrow an oft-used phrase), a different kettle of fish.

Interestingly a contemporary novel, it combines China’s previous interest with urban areas (in the case, mainly London and the Natural History Museum), with the usual slippages of place and space, to the urban underworld and secret cults, a Lovecraftian tale of squid-gods and its acolytes. Anyone mention Cthulhu yet? Expect many to draw si...more
China Mieville is a British author who is probably best known for his vast Peake-esque Bas Lag books, for which he has received an array of accolades. When describing a Mieville novel, two things that inevitably crop up are nods to Mieville’s in-depth world-building, and his idiosyncratic use of language, both of which are evident throughout his entire oeuvre, and even those pieces of work that depart substantially from the loosely linked Bas Lag trilogy.

Kraken, Mieville’s newest offering, bring...more
So I read this back when it came out and I hated it. I was pissed that it wasn't like the city and the city, and that it was shallow and poorly thought out and stupid.

I was wrong. I think what is problematic about mieville is that his books are so different that if you go in expecting an book to look like the others you are bound to hate it. If you compare this to the city and the city on the same playing field this looks grey and dull. not because it is, but because it is an entirely different...more
Dec 28, 2010 nicole rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
I hated this book.

It had everything I wanted to love - magic! museums! A GIANT SQUID! Miéville just won the Hugo Award! But this initial excitement quickly faded as I started turning pages. I would read the words, knew that they were sentences full of vocabulary I understood, but actual comprehension was always just out of reach, as if behind frosted glass. I complained about it at brunch and it in bed, to friends on train and to my boss. I couldn't keep track of the world-building or the langua...more
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Penny Arcade hates China Miéville 22 357 Oct 16, 2013 12:48PM  
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St. Anne's Readin...: End of Book Party 3 6 May 27, 2013 09:40AM  
St. Anne's Readin...: Three 3 4 May 06, 2013 08:50AM  
St. Anne's Readin...: Vocab 7 5 May 05, 2013 01:23PM  
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A British "fantastic fiction" writer. He is fond of describing his work as "weird fiction" (after early 20th century pulp and horror writers such as H. P. Lovecraft), and belongs to a loose group of writers sometimes called New Weird who consciously attempt to move fantasy away from commercial, genre clichés of Tolkien epigons. He is also active in left-wing politics as a member of the Socialist W...more
More about China Miéville...
Perdido Street Station (Bas-Lag, #1) The City & the City The Scar (Bas-Lag, #2) Embassytown Un Lun Dun

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“We should have just killed him, that's a lesson, don't get creative with revenge” 20 likes
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