Maybe it was the fact that I read it in London, finishing it in Hyde park by Exposition Road, near the Natural History Museum (where I had already resMaybe it was the fact that I read it in London, finishing it in Hyde park by Exposition Road, near the Natural History Museum (where I had already reserved the tour to see the Kraken), and that the description of the city fitted so well on what I could see just a few steps or a tube trip away, but this book has felt closer or more believable to me than most of the Magical London subset of the contemporary fantasy kind.
Kraken presents an alternative, occult city living with and sharing the space of the mundane London. The main character is forced out of mundanity, and the main charm of the book is how natural it all seems, even if most individual details are recycled from other tales, other books on London, legends or comic. A great example of recycling, while making them his by adding Miéville gift for the macabre and the shocking to twist the material out of the mold.
The main antagonists reminded me a lot of the bad guys in Neverwhere, but much more disturbing. The bizarre characters and the many shocks are handled deftly. The plot is quite simple but with byzantine loops thrown by the changes in narrator, and at times it feels as if there are some pages missing, while some minor event is blown out of proportion. Nevertheless the engaging language and the fact that I liked the three narrator voices (quite rare for me) make me give it a high score, because, no matter its faults, this is a book I enjoyed a lot reading....more
The book looks interesting, on the surface. The authors have written many interesting works, and some of it appears on this book, but hidden behind unThe book looks interesting, on the surface. The authors have written many interesting works, and some of it appears on this book, but hidden behind uninteresting characters, a predictable plot and a city at the center of the universe that is neither interesting nor believable.
Like working at a coal mine, only for those desperate enough. Despite the Multiverse connection, it has no real link with the main Multiverse work....more
The second book in the Instrumentalities of the Night, I have enjoyed this book more than the first one. Mainly because my main problem with the serieThe second book in the Instrumentalities of the Night, I have enjoyed this book more than the first one. Mainly because my main problem with the series, that it is based on a thinly disguised XIIIth century Earth, is less intrusive now that things are drifting from the historical record. It is still fairly disturbing, as there are still too many correlations, but as the events do not follow the historical script (unlike the past), it becomes more interesting.
A second problem is that, unlike George RR Martin in similar circumstances, Cook uses a reduced cast. That makes the events easier to follow, but it also means that a few characters end up taking parts in almost all events, and he cannot use Martin's powerful tool of killing major characters, as he needs all of them.
The descriptions of warfare and its horrors are as good as usual with this author, the magic is suitably mysterious, terrifying and not very effective (to keep the emphasis on the characters), and there is a real sense of time passing and events taking place.
Its delocalization from Earth dillutes its strong anti-religious feeling, but it is still a good military middle ages adventure. I will be waiting for the next installment....more