Just finished reading this book for a second time. While it was still a great tale, it didn't feel quite as amazing as the first time around. PerhapsJust finished reading this book for a second time. While it was still a great tale, it didn't feel quite as amazing as the first time around. Perhaps because I knew the story already? Anyway, back to school books I go, then.
--Older Review: 2011 Feb 21 - 2011 Feb 24-- Okay, so, when someone reads a book that is over 1000 pages in under 3 days, that must mean something good, right?
I certainly thought so! I literally raced through this book! (And that while studying for my midterms!)
I was captured from the very start, although, now after a bit of reflection I can see why some other reviewers had some issues with the writing. Yeah, the beginning is slow, but only if you compare it with the rest of the book! I loved learning all about the culture, society, politics, etc. It gave me goosebumps and made me cringe and wonder how freaky of a society this really is, but all in all, it gripped me emotionally.
I have to say, the books really is divided strongly into parts. I can almost say that I love Phedre's life before all her big adventures start a lot more than the latter. And that because she is such an interesting and fascinating character that makes me question my own self.
I don't want to go into too great details in this review. Just say that I loved the book. The characters were incredible. The plot was moving and fast and wonderful. I loved how the author mixed bits of our own geography into her world. And the writing style didn't even bother me (and I tend to LOATHE foreshadowing). ...more
Well, that was a disappointing read. It started out so interesting and promising and ended very oddly.
Firstly, and I was willing to forgive this, whiWell, that was a disappointing read. It started out so interesting and promising and ended very oddly.
Firstly, and I was willing to forgive this, which isn't like me, the characters' dialog was very stiff, as though scripted acting by a bunch of bad actors. At first it wasn't so bad, but later it really bugged me. ("He explored her skin like a charted map" was the most innocent of phrases.)
And then there is the whole case of pirates celebrating Christmas. Perhaps an interesting theory in and of itself, but not realisic. Add to that all the "angel" referances and it started to really drive me crazy.
The plot had a lot of potential, and then somewhere in the story the author tried to meld two idea that didn't really mesh. It made for a rather disatisfying read. ...more
My first review wasn't saved by Goodreads due to server problems. Here is my second review (definitely shorter than the first).
I loved this book immenMy first review wasn't saved by Goodreads due to server problems. Here is my second review (definitely shorter than the first).
I loved this book immensely. I can't find any faults with it:
The writing was superb. Nothing that stands out and makes me squeal, but nothing where I cringe and think "geez, that slipped by the editor". Miéville has a flair for bringing a situation to life, to a degree where action scenes don't feel forced and you never get bored when the characters just sit around and talk.
My most favorite part of the novel was the multitude of rich and interesting and completely new settings. The floating ship city of Armada in and of itself is the most intriguing place ever, and I want to go visit right now! But really, all the settings were amazing. And newfangled, since the whole entire world of Bas-Lag is a creation of the author. It's what's considered to be "steampunk", where the time frame is around the time of the steam engine production and usage. This is one of my most favorite time periods in history, since things are changing so much and so fast, there are just a lot of possibilities for the author to work with.
In Bas-Lag, there is magic, various forms of human-like lifeforms and it's all mixed together with combustion engines. Some of Miéville's creations are just wrong: for instance, as punishment, governments will Remake someone, essentially doing surgery on someone to connect foreign body parts or steam engine / metal parts to their body... they use their form of "magic" (which has a complicated name) to harness these foreign objects into your own metabolism. It is so wrong. More wrong than today's genetic manipulations and cloning, I find. There is one scene where we are taken along for the ride on one such surgery, and as fascinating as it was, it was also very disturbing! One remade man had tentacles attached to his chest, which helped him swim underwater, another girl was connected to a boiler a few inches underneath her pelvis and she had to roll everywhere. It just disturbed me so much. But other's of Miéville's creations made me pause in awe... there are just some really neat ideas and mixes of cultures which came together with such a symmetry as to make this book stand out in my mind.
The characters were all very unique as well. First off, as I mentioned above, there are various types of humanoid lifeforms. I remember the cray (they live underwater, but can come up above water too, and half of their body is part crustacean), the cactus people (the have sap for blood and many many thorns!), the mosquito people (who's women will suck a human man dry in under 30 seconds), then there are vampir, half-dead, the grindylow, and lots of others which I can't remember. The humans themselves are also of various levels and are composed of a multitude of facets. Together, the cast of character is just as memorable as the settings. Some of the freakiest were The Lovers, Doul, the Bruolac (sp?), and our main main character, Bellis.
The plot was somewhat predictable... since there was a lot of build-up via the character interaction. "Are we really going there? But that's insane! Why would we go there?" and so on. Of course, in order to get the book moving forward, they DO go there, or do that, or etc. But it is so interesting to see HOW they go about achieving their goals (and there are so many goals and ambitions played off each other and against each other that it's amazing that Miéville managed to keep it all straight!) Our main main character, Bellis, drives most of the plot due to her wanting to go back home. Right at the beginning of the novel she is fleeing her town of New Crobuzon, and her goal for most of the book is to get back there. Due to that, she is at the pivotal center of the plot (although she'd rather she wasn't). A few side main characters are Tanner, a Remade man, Shenkel, a young cabin boy who we watch grow into a man, Doul, who is a bit harder to piece together but nevertheless just as fascinating, and a few more.
I love how Miéville had a few recurring themes from the first page to the last. The one that stood out the most was the idea of scars. There are so many references to scars (emotional, physical, size of the world, size of one person) that if I started making a list I'd still be sitting here tomorrow. It starts with the title, The Scar, but some other notable characteristics are The Lovers, who both have deep tissue scars mirroring each other, the scars on each of the characters souls, and of course, (view spoiler)[the scar of the world, where it was cleaved in two, the ultimate goal of Armada (hide spoiler)].
This was my first book by Miéville and it is definitely not the last that I will be reading. It was incredible and I recommend it to everyone!...more
A very pirate-cliche pirate story. But I suppose it's one of the few that createdthe cliche. Filled with pirates, and ships, and vodoun, and magic spelA very pirate-cliche pirate story. But I suppose it's one of the few that createdthe cliche. Filled with pirates, and ships, and vodoun, and magic spells, and historical figures of old, this novel was certainly fun to read, albeit a bit lacking in details at times.
The Swiss Family Robinson is one of my most favorite adventures stories! I really want to go visit the island that the family is marooned on, especialThe Swiss Family Robinson is one of my most favorite adventures stories! I really want to go visit the island that the family is marooned on, especially due to the vast amount of plant and animal life on it! I have reread this story many times over the years....more