Ken's Reviews > Kraken

Kraken by China Miéville
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's review
Jun 02, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: weird, fiction, fantasy-faction-book-club
Read from June 02 to 24, 2011 — I own a copy

I'll start off by saying that China Mieville sure knows his stuff. Kraken is a well researched book, blending religion, cults, mysticism and the weird together into a story. It has an interesting premise, a giant squid disappears from the Natural History Museum and this seemingly nobody is suddenly thrust into this world where magic exists and must help recover the squid before the prophesied end of the world comes.

This book had so much going for it. I enjoyed the way Mieville described all the different cults and the secret wars that go on behind the scenes of everyday London. Despite all this, the book just felt bloated and unevenly paced with the story jumping all over the place. There were unnecessary storylines that lead to nowhere but what's worse was that they caused more confusion and created more questions than answers.

I really had a hard time trying to finish reading this. After maybe halfway through the book I didn't care about any of the characters at all except wanting to get to the end as quickly as possible. To this day I still don't understand what special abilities Collingswood possessed and how he can so easily dismiss Dane who had been one of the key characters in the book. The ending also seemed rushed and too convenient, a little too "Deus ex Machina" for me. Everything just wrapped up so nicely even after all the chaos and weirdness that occurred in the book.

You can tell that Mieville has a lot of ideas for this book but at the same time it felt like he was writing for his own enjoyment and that he is too cool to share his thoughts with his readers. Some say you have to read this book with the humour that Mieville possesses and you will see the contradictory nature of religion and the farce in the story. To me, this means you are either with him or you're not. While reading this book, I felt as if I was on an express train, only getting glimpses of the outside but never in detail.

Kraken was my book club's read for June and many people struggled through it too or gave up before reaching the end. This is a book that I ought to like but just couldn't bring myself to liking it. People tell me that his Bas Lag books are better and I hope that they are right.

(Reposted from

Original review:
Just finished reading it, found the book weird and the plot hard to follow at times with all its meandering plots and twists. I think Mieville wants us to experience the story from Billy's point of view and share in his confusion of all the strange things that is happening in the book's London. The different religions, sects and the whole mythology are interesting and you know there is much more going on that went unexplained.

To me, this book feels like a work of mental masturbation for the author and hard for me to enjoy. I still need some time to digest this book and might update this review later.
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Reading Progress

30.0% "Weird and slightly confused"
45.0% "Still not quite feeling the book"

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