Review: Perdido Street Station

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(Originally posted on Blogger site.)

Title: Perdido Street Station

Author/Editor: China Miéville

Review:  
This was a difficult book to rate. I had some up and down moments while reading it. Thankfully, I’d say the up outnumbered the down, which were much fewer.

For the most part, I thought it was extremely inventive, original, and seeking to wrestle with some compelling and complicated social ills. I also very much enjoyed the lack of easy categorization of the novel; it’s not entirely sci-fi, nor totally steampunk, nor completely fantasy.

The writing is excellent in the slower-paced sections. And I definitely enjoyed the nuanced creation that was the city. Yagharek’s character was certainly the most fascinating, in my opinion, and also elicited the most conflicted, gut-wrenching reactions as you move through the book, seeing his plight and his choices as he helps the other characters, and then finding out about his past. In these respects, it earned a high rating.

However, a few issues caused me to reduce the rating a bit. First, there were the extended actions scenes that began about 2/3 into the book. I just really don’t like extensive descriptions of dynamic plot/”action scenes.” I find them disruptive and kind of dull. They invariably change the pacing of the writing. I realize this is often necessary, but it does put me off. Also, I felt that Lin’s character, who seemed to be developing as a major character, was suddenly minimized and reduced to a convenient plot device. The Weaver, who struck me, at first, as an amazing element in the story, soon lost much of its ominous enigma when it took on some understandable dimensions of character.

Final Rating: 6 out of 10

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