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King Rat

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  5,387 ratings  ·  405 reviews
Something is stirring in London's dark, stamping out its territory in brickdust and blood. Something has murdered Saul's father, and left Saul to pay for the crime.

But a shadow from the urban waste breaks into his prison cell and leads him to freedom. A shadow called King Rat.

In the night-land behind London's fa ade, in sewers and slums and rotting dead spaces, Saul must
Paperback, 421 pages
Published June 11th 1999 by Pan Publishing (first published 1998)
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"Everything starts somewhere, although many physicists disagree."
True to Pratchett's wit and wisdom, even China Mieville's frustratingly good writing had to have its beginnings. And so it begins here, in his first novel 'King Rat', which - as many readers have noted - reads like a close cousin to Neil Gaiman's 'Neverwhere'.
A cousin that the elderly relatives mention only in hushed whispers at family reunions. The heavily tattooed one, with piercings in places you don't want to think of, cla
Jul 30, 2008 Mike rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mike by: Frank
Here's the deal with King Rat: Neil Gaiman and China Mieville were sitting at a pub one cold 1998 evening, right? And China makes some wager with Neil, a wager that Neil ultimately loses. (Let's say China bets him he can't write a better comic book series than The Sandman.) So for losing, Neil has to write a book for China to sell under Mieville's name. Neil writes King Rat. It's got some typical Gaimanisms: a trip through a fantastical underworld two steps removed from the normal version of Lon ...more
King Rat was first published by British author China Mieville in 1998, his debut novel.

A reader in the speculative fiction genre will certainly make comparisons to Neil Gaiman’s work Neverwhere published in 1996. The setting, tone, and unsettlingly charismatic underwordliness of the two books are too similar to escape association.

A careful reader will also find similarities with Gaiman’s magnificent American Gods and the somewhat sequel Anansi Boys, but WAIT! American Gods was first published
Evan Leach
WARNING: If the following image causes you to recoil from your computer in terror, King Rat is decidedly not the book for you:

On the other hand, if you can look these horrors in the face without losing your lunch, then I very much recommend China Miéville’s entertaining first book. King Rat tells the story of Saul Garamond, a luckless Londoner who is blamed for his father’s untimely death before you can shake a whisker. Happily for Saul, a mysterious stranger named King Rat breaks
The radio existed to communicate. But here it was failing, it had gone rogue, it had forgotten its purpose like the piano, and the people could not reclaim the city.

A few weeks ago I listened to a London Review podcast of Miéville
reading a story about the immolation of animals. It was certainly the New Weird, the images clung to me, no doubt enhanced by his nuanced delivery. Miéville said he found the story a child of Austerity. I liked that. I suppose a YA audience would like the milieu of Ki
Full Review:

King Rat is festering with atmosphere and drowns you in a cacophony of Jungle Bass and Drum. It takes you to London’s underside, it’s stinking bowels, and gives life to the world below. It does all this in a very good way. I swear. King Rat is my first taste of Mieville and I’m still not sure if it was the best place for me to start, but it certainly isn’t a bad place to start. This is his debut novel and does not seem to be as widely read or
I tried to keep in mind when picking up King Rat that it was China Miéville's debut novel and the chances of it being on par or better than PSS weren't high. With that in mind, I wasn't too disappointed.

Saul Garamond's come home to London after a camping excursion and finds the place quiet, empty of its usual domestic element. Instead of bothering about his father's silence, Saul succumbs to exhaustion and is awakened to a confusion of police officers, caution tape and a broken window. Now under
This was the last novel of China Mieville's that I had left to read, which is ironic as it was his first novel. You can tell it is as well, as the book is rather rougher and less polished than his other works.

Yet, for all that, you can get the sense of where the author is heading even at this early point. There is an impression I have that he is searching, almost feeling his way towards his later works here. At each point he almost hesitates, a "how far can I push this" moment, before going ahea
Like most people, I had read other books by the author before getting to this, his debut novel.
While lacking the excellent world building in his later books, this first effort by China Miéville is still way better than most fantasy on the market and a must for his fans.
The protagonist here is one Saul Garamond and he isn’t quite what he appears to be. And thus begins a most imaginative trip through a world within a world populated with all sorts of interesting characters. A typically dark urban
As far as debut novels go, Mieville's King Rat was pretty awesome. Gritty, unsettling, and at times plain disgusting, it was all the nasty sub-London I could handle haha. Overall it was an enjoyable read, the pace quick, the implementation of drum-n-base awesome, and I loved/despised/feared Mieville's take on the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Creeeeeepy. That said, there were times when I felt the action scenes dominated everything else, and the characters were underdeveloped. Saul was not as relatable ...more
'El Rey Rata' fue la primera novela publicada por China Miéville. Incluye algunos de los elementos (pero sólo algunos) que lo harían mundialmente famoso, como son la fantasía urbana, gótica y extraña, incluidas magistralmente en esa obra maestra que es 'La estación de la calle Perdido'. Y es que se nota que es su primera obra, ya que si el planteamiento lo tiene claro, así como el desenlace (más o menos), en el nudo parece que anda algo perdido, las diferentes partes están cogidas como con pinza ...more
The first time I read King Rat, I was stuck at an airport overnight, waiting for an early flight. I don't know why, but I assumed that airports were 24/7 sorts of things, I had no idea that the whole place would shut down, that flights stopped, and that the daily bustle would dissipate, leaving a strange ghost town populated by a handful of the shambling undead, shuffling between the only open coffee shop at one end of the terminal, and the only open seating area at the other. It's a strange atm ...more
[Name Redacted]
This was the first book by China Mieville I encountered, back in the late 90s when Barnes & Noble still published weekly/monthly genre-specific magazines filled with reviews of new books. I thought the premise sounded intriguing, but I never got around to reading it and then I wound up in the jungle for a few years -- surprisingly, there are no bookstores in the jungle.

When I returned, I discovered that Mieville had been crowned the New Gaiman and I was told that I had to read and revere hi
After reading Perdido Street Station I thought for my next Miéville book I would go back to the beginning. Released in 1998 this book is a lot different to the other books of his I've read. You can tell it was his début work as it lacks the refinement of later novels.

The most marked difference though is the lack of a certain type of "character". By this I mean the setting. I don't know if all his books are the same but so far in the ones I've read the setting is as much a character as anyone/th
Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime)
Come and join us in the Miévillans group for a group discussion of this fabulous first novel by China Miéville. [In honor of His Chinaness, the pun on fabulous is entirely intended.]

While this shows some of the roughness of a first novel, it's got many of the hallmarks of his later work. London features strongly as not just the setting, but a character in its own right. The opening of chapter one feels very much like Perdido Street Station, and the rats-eye view of London reflects a theme, to be
Seems likely that this was inspired by the reading of comic books. The narrator is likened to a "superhero" on several occasions (171, 287), and very specifically thinks "of a comic-book hero: Batman or Daredevil. Silhouetted in the ruined window, King Rat looked like a scene-setting frame at the start of a graphic novel" (259). With those types of framing devices, the narrative proceeds as anti-superhero story (and of course there're no graphic components).

The subject matter is several strands
After reading Perdido Street Station, I was expecting King Rat to knock my socks off. It didn't. But, it was a fun horror tale about rodent royalty and the Pied Piper of Hamelin. And, I think it would translate into a really cool graphic novel.

The main character's dad dies mysteriously, and he is the only suspect. While he's between interrogations, he's sprung by King Rat. King Rat is the king of the rats. He reveals some secret stuff about Our Hero's past, and informs him that the Pied Piper o
China Miéville really loves writing about cities, doesn't he? And not pretty, fantasy cities, but "real" cities, gritty cities, the underside of cities. It's interesting. Again, this book reminded me of Gaiman's Neverwhere more than a little, while also managing to be different. The weaving in of Drum and Bass music as part of the city was interesting and different, and the Pied Piper was interesting. The book even surprised me a little -- when I found out about Saul's real father.

The book in ge
Keith Deininger
Very much like a Neil Gaiman urban fantasy, with characters more difficult to care about than Mieville's later fantasy work, but with hints of his imaginative brilliance nonetheless. Still, a very good read.
Profundus Librum
Az Agave Könyvek gondozásában a harmadikként megjelenő Miéville-regény a Patkánykirály, ami az egész eddigi életművet figyelembe véve számomra talán a legkevésbé érdekes könyve. Hogy miért? Először is, urban fantasy, ami alapesetben – a sok, régebben elolvasott, hasonló zsánerű, futószalagon gyártott (értsd: rossz) mű kulturális hagyatékaként – nem a szívem csücske, ráadásul a köztünk lévő gyenge lábakon álló kapcsolatot a szintén sokszor városi környezetbe helyezett paranormális vonal képes vol ...more
Sam Quixote
Saul is framed for the murder of his father and sent to jail where he’s somehow broken out by a mysterious character calling himself King Rat. King Rat reveals Saul’s mother was secretly a rat and that he belongs underneath London, in a dark and magical place among the rats!

This was my first China Mieville book and might be my last - it certainly made no positive impression on me to make me want to seek out more of this author’s work. The main character, Saul, is a charmless cipher, bumbling ar
I wasn't sure about the beginning.... but then I was thrilled when I came across his first description of Natasha's experience of music... "There was a promise to this tension."
She closed her eyes. The flute soared and dived; it fleshed out her skeletal tune in a way she could never achieve. The life in the live music was exuberant and neurotic and it sparked off the revivified bass, the very alive dancing with the dead. There was a promise to this tension.

The story was developing nicely. There
OK, I actually finished this one last week sometime, but I've been sick ever since and having trouble coming up with the energy to write anything. So this may not be as accurate as it would be had I written it the day I finished reading "King Rat", but I'll do my best.

This book is about a twenty-something boy in London who still lives with his father and is resisting the process of growing up, spending his time and money hanging out in the drum n' bass scene, hitting up dance parties and traveli
oguz kaan
Okurken beni sıkan bir kitap oldu. Her bölümü zorlayarak okudum. İlk roman için kötü değil. Fakat karakterleri iki boyutluydu. Kitap boyunca Saul'u ve onun bakışından iki dünyayı da okumaya çalışsak bile Saul'un iki evren arasında kalması karakterinde sıkışması ve yerinde saymasına neden olmuş.

Hikaye modern toplum içerisinde, günümüz Londra'sında geçen bir yeniden yorumlama mitti. İlginç, nefes kesici diyemem. Yine de sürekli bir tempoya sahip olduğunu söyleyebilirim. İlerleyen bir hikaye kurgu
I will pretty much read anything, in fact I will actively try and read books that are beyond any groove I may have become stuck in. I savour the omnivores richness, or at least I prefer that description the one of having no taste or discernment. Be it as it may King Rat is a book that is well beyond my normal diet, although if the goodreads reviews are anything to go by it bears more then a passing resemblance to the books by Neil Gaiman. It is the story of a man who get rescued by a gigantic ra ...more
Read it on the plane to New York and it kept me absorbed throughout - good job as my row of seats couldn't view any films during the flight! It's very British/London in it's flavour and no spoilers but it's a reworking of an old myth in modern London that works superbly.
I could see some of the scenes being fantastic in a film setting and I can't understand why the movie hasn't come out yet - oh yes I know why, there are still some crap old TV series and movies that need to be remade again and ag
Jason Coffman
This feels like the book China Miéville wrote in high school-- and for all I know, he actually did! Without giving too much away, most of "King Rat" feels like an American McGee "twisted fairy tale" with numerous very specific references to the drum and bass/jungle club culture of the 90s that make the book seem painfully dated. Everyone has to start somewhere-- it's kind of nice to realize Miéville is actually a person whose talent had to bloom instead of imagining him just sitting down one day ...more
Mieville’s debut is a stylish fantasy reimagining the tale of the Pied Piper against the backdrop of contemporary London. His take on the myth is decidedly dark, rife with emotional torment and brutal violence. Mieville never flinches from his characters’ suffering; in fact, he seems to revel in it at times. It’s never ‘gratuitous,’ however, but rather a reflection of the seriousness of an artistic vision which seeks to drag the genre kicking and screaming towards new literary horizons: a breed ...more
Having read Perdido Street Station first, I'm fascinated to see how some of the themes are present here in nascent form. PSS is by far the superior book, but King Rat is a worthwhile entry to the urban fantasy oeuvre: grimy and bold and honest, if mean. It's also a great take on the Pied Piper fairytale, though I felt it was a bit unfinished in its mythology. It was also pretty nice to not have a gratuitous romance thrown in, and I really liked the political underpinnings, even if I found the mu ...more
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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 Kraken

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“A trap is only a trap if you don't know about it. If you know about it, it's a challenge.” 2316 likes
“– Один плюс один равняется одному, твою мать, – сказал он и тяжело обрушил флейту на челюсть Дудочника. Тот отшатнулся, но не упал. – Я не крыса плюс человек, усек? Я больше, чем один из двух, и я больше, чем оба. Я новое существо. Ты не заставишь меня танцевать.” 1 likes
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