Eric's Reviews > Iron Council

Iron Council by China Miéville
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's review
Aug 10, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: fantasy, steam, western

Felt Like Two Books That Never Quite Met

Iron Council is another book about Bas-Lag, and the dystopian city of New Crobozon.

As usual, Miéville does an excellent job of weaving an interesting environment out of words. He mixes straightforward English, archaic phrases and invented terms with excellent facility. The main characters are complex and varied, and don't succumb to cookie cutter roles.

The author expands on the already intricate and varied world of Bas-Lag magic. We get further inside the mind of the people of the city, and learn more about the government, the militia, and the Remaking punishment factories.

Unfortunately, the story doesn't quite hang together. On the one hand, you have the search for and history of the titular Iron Council. On the other hand, you have the story of democratic insurrectionists fighting the heavy-handed parliament and Mayor of New Crobozon. The two stories only intersect at a couple of points, and none of those points really require the inclusion of both full stories.

The story of the Iron Council feels pointless and unfinished. In the greater narrative, it feels more like background information that something the book should have been named after. In the end, the trek of the council across the continent and back amounts to nothing. They don't arrive in time to help the Collective, which loses its battle "off screen."

During the Council's pointless ride to the rescue, Cutter thinks, "this is a prologue. This in going on after the story is over." Sage words, Mr. Miéville.

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