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A Goodreads user asked:

I read the first chapters of this book, but I already really hate the main protagonist. Is there an arc for this character, will she become more likable throughout the book? I loved Perdido Street Station, and I'd like to read more about Bas-Lag, but now I just can't seem to pick it up because I don't want to read more about her. Should I just skip this book?

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Ira Carter To somewhat repeat others, I don't think Bellis exists to be liked or be a sympathetic character, not really a factor in my appreciation of the book.
Robert Carter See, its funny I actually really liked Bellis. She's cold, she doesn't really want to be bothered, she wants to go home- she's a classic introvert. But she has people who love and care about her (she's writing to them, with such care and devotion) but they are few and far between. It takes a lot to earn her trust. Then you see how she teaches Shekel to read. She's not a person who gives her trust casually, and you have to have qualities she respects (unlike the annoying Sister Meriope who may be kind or whatever- but Bellis is absolutely right- if she gave her any sympathy she would just be sucked into her drama).

Maybe I'm a bit like her. But I thought she was great and well drawn protagonist.
prcardi I don't think Bellis is there to be liked. You come to understand her - perhaps even to appreciate her situation and actions - but if it is important to you that the main character is likable, I do not think you will enjoy this book. There are, however, other characters who are likable. If you can endure Bellis, you will be given enough material on them.
Samantha Ferrins Bit of a late answer, I personally didn't like Bellis very much at the beginning of the book - and while I wouldn't say she gets more likeable as such, I found her to get more relatable as her relationships with other charectors develop.
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by China Miéville (Goodreads Author)
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