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King Rat

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Something is stirring in London's dark, stamping out its territory in brickdust and blood. Something has murdered Saul Garamond's father, and left Saul to pay for the crime.

But a shadow from the urban waste breaks into Saul's prison cell and leads him to freedom. A shadow called King Rat, who reveals Saul's royal heritage, a heritage that opens a new world to Saul, the world below London's streets--a heritage that also drags Saul into King Rat's plan for revenge against his ancient enemy,. With drum 'n' bass pounding the backstreets, Saul must confront the forces that would use him, the forces that would destroy him, and the forces that shape his own bizarre identity.

320 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1998

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About the author

China Miéville

146 books13.9k followers
A British "fantastic fiction" writer. He is fond of describing his work as "weird fiction" (after early 20th century pulp and horror writers such as H. P. Lovecraft), and belongs to a loose group of writers sometimes called New Weird who consciously attempt to move fantasy away from commercial, genre clichés of Tolkien epigons. He is also active in left-wing politics as a member of the Socialist Workers Party. He has stood for the House of Commons for the Socialist Alliance, and published a book on Marxism and international law.

Excerpted from Wikipedia.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 718 reviews
Profile Image for Nataliya.
781 reviews12.4k followers
April 27, 2023
"Everything starts somewhere, although many physicists disagree."
True to Pratchett's wit and wisdom, even China Mieville's frustratingly good writing had to have its beginnings. And so it begins here, in his first novel 'King Rat', which - as many readers have noted - reads like a close cousin¹ to Neil Gaiman's 'Neverwhere'.
¹ A cousin that the elderly relatives mention only in hushed whispers at family reunions. The heavily tattooed one, with piercings in places you don't want to think of, clad in studded leather, riding a flashy motorbike, smelling of stale alcohol, with needle tracks on his arms. That one.
It's the first novel of His Chinaness (the expression I shamelessly stole from Richard and plan to keep using for a while), and it shows. It lacks the slightly arrogant exceedingly self-confident polishing its later siblings boast. It's rougher around the edges, it alternates between flaunting the sheer shock value and sulking around the corner like a dissatisfied teenage quasi-rebel, trying hard to nonchalantly look cool. It's still looking for its footing, in short.

It's a novel of London's quite literal underbelly; the creatures that lurk in the sewers and gorge themselves on garbage. It has rats, and filth, and piss, and gruesome murders and overall level of grotesque that made me put this book away a few times just to purge my brain of the images I really did not want to be setting camp there. It plays with legends and fairy tales, and centuries-long vendettas. It peppers its pages with rhyming Cockney slang which seriously tries to break my poor brain. It takes the reader on a flight across the roofs and walls of London, taking my breath away (and making me hold the said breath because of the stink of rot and piss that the pages gleefully convey).

(Illustration by Richard A. Kirk - found here)

Yes, I easily see its flaws. The characters developed a tad too thinly. The plot lines and characters that appear dropped. The gruesome scenes that seem to be thrown in jugs for kicks. Yes, it's there, as much as I hate to admit it.

It's amazing that right after this still unsure and, honestly, not yet great book China Mieville would go on to capture the readers with the flight of fantasy in the filthy New Crobuzon of 'Perdido Street Station' - which, if you think about it, is just a quick leap away from the strange beyond-the-surface London of 'King Rat'. My favorites of his - 'The Scar', 'Un Lun Dun' and 'Embassytown' - will come even later, once the skill and deceitful easiness of perfection of his writing reach their dizzying heights.

But the glimpses of what we all came to love in Mieville's books are already here.
“I can squeeze between buildings through spaces you can’t even see. I can walk behind you so close my breath raises gooseflesh on your neck and you won’t hear me. I can hear the muscles in your eyes contract when your pupils dilate. I can feed off your filth and live in your house and sleep under your bed and you will never know unless I want you to.”

Already in this first far from perfect try there are the bits that will come to shine in Mieville's writing with time. His ability to create characters so grey that they are quite murky. His knack for developing a setting so alive and vivid that it becomes a character in it's own right, underbelly and all. His descriptions that jugs fly off the page and already have the same captivating quality that won the fans over in 'Perdido Street Station':
“The trains that enter London arrive like ships sailing across the roofs. They pass between towers jutting into the sky like long-necked sea beasts and the great gas-cylinders wallowing in dirty scrub like whales.”

Besides London (un-London, perhaps, in the spirit of books to come?) literal sub-culture this novel focuses on the youth subculture as well, heavily featuring the Drum'n'Bass music - the music, I confess, I had to look up on YouTube to understand what it's about. Like language in 'Embassytown', it's always present even when it's not. Its beats provide a beating heart to this book (yes, I actually tried to come up with this pun; I'm uncool like that, okay?) and pay off nicely in the end.

As far as China Mieville's writing goes, 'King Rat' is an early, rough offering lacking the sophistication of its later siblings. But had it come from most other writers - those lacking Mieville's amazing way with words - it could have been seen as a strong and very promising work, a proud accomplishment. It's pretty good - it just does not yet live up to the genius to come.

And now, with that dreadful sinking feeling, I realize that besides 'Looking for Jake' I have no other Mieville books to read. His Chinaness needs to quickly write something new. I'm addicted and I need my fix.
'I’m just one of you,’ he said.
‘I’m Citizen Rat.'


Also posted on my blog.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
April 2, 2019
King Rat was first published by British author China Mieville in 1998, his debut novel.

A reader in the speculative fiction genre will certainly make comparisons to Neil Gaiman’s work Neverwhere published in 1996. The setting, tone, and unsettlingly charismatic underwordliness of the two books are too similar to escape association.

A careful reader will also find similarities with Gaiman’s magnificent American Gods and the somewhat sequel Anansi Boys, but WAIT! American Gods was first published in 2001 and Anansi was published in 2005. Mieville’s work anticipated Gaiman’s delving into personified mythos and pantheistic, animistic deification.

Mieville, an aficionado of role playing games, may have been inspired by Deities & Demigods: Cyclopedia of Gods and Heroes from Myth and Legend, the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons tome of supernaturals and superheroes, which has a section about animal gods and heroes.

Using as his villain a revisionist Pied Piper of Hamelin, Mieville also draws a parallel to Haruki Murakami’s 2002 novel Kafka on the Shore, which features a madman who wanted to create a flute from dead souls.

King Rat is a story about a city, as all of Mieville’s tales are told, and this one is about London. It is also about music; urban, dance music, that attracts and makes young lithe bodies move and grind. And, yes, it is about rats … lots of rats. Readers beware.

This, his first published novel, rings with a promise of literary magic, it is the herald of a new voice in our bookish clan. When I finished Kraken, my first Mieville offering, I thought the book good, but was intrigued by its author and the talent that was evident (I would later learn that Kraken was perhaps his weakest). I finished Perdido Street Station with heartfelt disappointment as what had the hope of being a classic, faded and ended poorly. Embassytown and The City and the City were both weird gems and to this reader The Scar finally delivered the promise of what he can produce.

King Rat was a momentous, promising first novel from a man who has demonstrated again and again that he is a great writer and undoubtedly he will show us much more over the next few years.

Profile Image for Karl.
3,258 reviews275 followers
August 29, 2020
One could call this book a grunge fantasy.

In “King Rat” by China Mieville’s character, Saul Garamond, is a restless young Londoner aimlessly adrift,,He is wrongly imprisoned for the murder of his father.
Saul is snatched from the authorities by a mysterious savior named ‘King Rat’, who claims to be both the deposed leader of the rodent army driven out of Hamelin 700 years before and Saul's real father. Raised as a human,

Saul’s mother, was King Rat’s sister. She fled rat-kind, preferring to join humanity, and married Saul’s father.

Saul has much to unlearn before King can teach him to become a worthy opponent of the Rat Catcher, who framed Saul for murder and is still pursuing ‘King Rat’. Saul finds latent rat-abilities stirring, he can eat garbage, move soundlessly and unseen, squeeze through impossibly tiny openings, and climb vertical walls.

Meanwhile, the Rat Catcher (the Piper of Hamelin) forces his friendship on Saul's composer friend, Natasha, by posing as a flutist who hopes to work his melodies into her ""drum `n' bass"" dance music and turn London's hip-hop underground into his unwitting storm troopers. Though the plot is a riff on ‘The Pied Piper”, Saul's efforts to get in touch with his inner rat, he is successful In sucking one into the story, through the high energy of Mr. Mieville’s prose. the narrative crackles with a mesmerizing mixture of impressionistic description and street slang that powerfully illuminates the squalid London cityscape.
Profile Image for Overhaul.
315 reviews699 followers
April 29, 2023
¿Escucháis eso? Algo se está gestando en la oscuridad de Londres, marcando los márgenes de su territorio con polvo de ladrillo y sangre. Alguien ha asesinado al padre de Saúl y le han cargado a él el muerto.

Sin embargo, una sombra del deshecho urbano se presenta en su celda y le conduce a la libertad.

Un desperdicio llamado Rey Rata..

En el ambiente nocturno que bulle tras la fachada londinense, en las alcantarillas, las barriadas y los espacios de podredumbre, Saúl conocerá su verdadera naturaleza.

Como una maldición, la ciudad se ve azotada por grotescos asesinatos. A golpe de Drum n´ Bass y Jungle, Saúl se enfrenta a su extraña herencia.

Puntuación: 3,5⭐️

Me tomó por sorpresa ya que no era nada como me esperaba y aunque fue una lectura extraña, la disfruté.

Se nota que es su primer libro, tiene sus cosas que le falta pulir y otras que ni fu ni fa para la trama.

Me encanta cuando los autores pueden escribir libros muy extraños pero que de alguna manera hacen que funcione.

Saul Garamonde está destinado a ser mitad hombre y mitad rata, desafía la imaginación.

Parece un ser humano, pero tiene sangre de rata corriendo por sus venas y pronto adquiere características de rata, como la capacidad de escalar paredes de ladrillo y edificios altos.

Es fácil sorprenderse y disfrutar de este Londres subterráneo lleno de suciedad.

Miéville tiene un don para el diálogo y mantiene una unión con las ciudades en expansión con su atención al detalle, la enorme importancia y su construcción.

Debajo de él, las calles de Londres ondulan con misterios ocultos, una oscuridad arenosa, sucia que se filtra en la cultura de los habitantes de la ciudad y en las tramas personales.

Las ciudad que crea Miéville es un personaje más, con personalidades. Reconstruye Londres de adentro hacia afuera y construye un nuevo paisaje de lo invisible, los oscuros intestinos más allá de las artisticas fachadas de los edificios hermosamente decorados.

Seguiré leyendo a este autor. Sin duda. Este es su primer libro y apunta un pedazo camino apetecible. Que pedazo de imaginación..✍️
Profile Image for Leo.
4,380 reviews404 followers
July 19, 2022
The few books I've read by China Mieville can absolutely be described as two of the weirdest books I've ever read. This one took me by surprise as it was nothing as I expected and while it was a very strange read I did very much enjoy it. I love it when a writer can pull of writing really weird books but somehow make it work
Profile Image for Ian "Marvin" Graye.
874 reviews2,261 followers
July 7, 2020

Lessons in Rhythm and History

Saul Garamonde is meant to be half-man, half-rat, though quite how his state eventuated defies at least my imagination.

He looks like a human being, but has rat blood coursing through his veins, and soon acquires rat characteristics, such as the ability to climb up brick walls and tall buildings.

His father was a fat (sic) socialist, and once gifted him a copy of Lenin's “What is to Be Done?”

Father and son are estranged, and are frequently overheard arguing with each other. However, Saul is clearly sentimental about his father's old leftist leanings, even if he was never particularly effectual.

Much of the action in the novel takes place in late 1990's London between Brixton and Ladbroke Grove, and between Battersea and Clapham. Mieville describes streets “busy with Lebanese patisseries, mini-cab firms and cut-price electrical repair shops, dirty video stores and clothing warehouses with hand-drawn signs advertising their wares.”

Four chapters into the novel, I noticed that the writing was rich and descriptive, but I had no idea where the plot would take me. No sooner had I realised this than the plot revved up and took off like a jet plane.

I initially suspected that Saul was destined to lead a socialist revolution on behalf of the rats. To this extent, “King Rat" resembles William T Vollmann's “You Bright and Risen Angels", in which the character Bug leads a rebellion of insects against humanity. However, the resemblance soon evaporates, as we learn that the immediate enemy of both Saul and the rats is a flautist called “The Piper", who wishes to kill Saul in case he might frustrate his [the Piper's] mission to rid the world of these upwardly mobile vermin.

Saul hangs out with two cadres, one associated with King Rat (who has imperial ambitions of his own), the other consisting of a collective of Drum and Bass aficionados.

The rats seem to represent the proletariat, while the Drum and Bass fans are more of a cultural collective, if not exactly anarchist. Whatever their real or metaphorical nature, they never establish an alliance, and seem to inhibit each other's progress.

As it turns out, the rats just want to be led and unified, though towards what goal isn't clear. Saul seems intent on protecting them from their herd mentality.

“Row upon row of anxious eyes, gazing at him, demanding that he command them. They oppressed him.”

Rude Secular Energy

Saul is the vehicle by which rats will earn respect and self-respect. He doesn't want the position of their boss or their King. He doesn't believe in kings:

“You don't need champions. It's time for a revolution. You were led by a monarch for years, and he brought you to disaster. Then years of anarchy, fear, searching for a new ruler, the fear isolating you all so you didn't have faith in your nation.”

Saul warns the rats against King Rat, who was both a monarch and the “Great Betrayer". So there is a scepticism about social movements that are premised on nothing more than the seizure of power.

Clearly, the answer is neither monarchy nor anarchy. There's also a risk that members of a vanguard leading a revolution might betray the revolution or the dignity of the masses, in the manner of Stalin.

So, to the extent that there is any underlying political message, it seems to be founded in the ideas of the French Revolution: Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.

Indeed, Saul urges them, with a grin, to “put the rat back in fraternity."


Saul's Old Man He Dead

Gwan gyal, gwan gyal?
Yo yo, Tasha? You heard
What gwan Saul's old man?
Old mon, he dead now.
Dat old leftie, he no more.
Fell outta high winda,
And hitter da below ground,
Widda splash anna bang.
Saul's old man, he dead now.

Profile Image for merixien.
587 reviews326 followers
March 14, 2021
“Tuzak ancak bilmezsen bir tuzaktır. Eğer biliyorsan, bu meydan okumadır.”

Kral Fare yazarın ilk romanı ve zaten bunu okurken çok rahat anlayabiliyorsunuz. Aslında oldukça basit bir konudan farklı bir hikaye çıkaran; tuhaf karakterler ve ilginç olaylarıyla güzel bir Londra romanı. Mieville her ne kadar irrite edici olsa da etkileyici bir alternatif dünya yaratıyor. Fantastik öğeler ağırlıklı gibi görünse de, kitabın temel yapısını oluşturan element yazarın siyasi ve dünya görüşü. Fantastik öğelerin tamamının bir sembolik anlamı var. Gerçek dünyaya ait görüşleri bu kadar net eklemesine rağmen fantastik kurguyu da kesintiye uğratmıyor. Ancak, bazı bölümlerde; özellikle de kovalamalar ya da dans pistindeki ünlü sahne çok dağınık bir anlatıma sahip. Üzerine, zaman zaman düşülen tekrarlarla birlikte yorucu olmaya başlıyor. Son olarak oldukça kişisel bir görüş de olsa; kitabın başında ve sonunda dönen o “ I’m Batman” tadındaki “Ben Kral Fareyim” tiradı da biraz zorlama geldi.

Yazar ile hiç tanışmadıysanız, bu kitap ile başlamayın. Önerim Şehir ve Şehir okumanız, hem yazarın görüşlerine hem de yazım tarzına dair daha net bir fikir elde edebilir ve daha güzel bir kitap okuyabilirsiniz. Eğer daha önce okuduysanız ve seviyorsanız da bu kitap son okuyacaklarınızdan olsun.
Profile Image for Paul Sánchez Keighley.
151 reviews100 followers
December 14, 2018


Before China became His Chinaness, he wrote King Rat.

I found this book hard to read. It’s just so…grim. And I’m not only referring to the gratuitous gross-outs and gore. It’s something about the overall feel of the book. The way the characters behave towards each other is just awful.

Now don’t get me wrong. I think I liked it. The book is an immersive experience. The descriptions make you live the story through all five senses - for better or for worse, considering it looks like dirt, smells like piss, tastes like rot, sounds like bass, and feels like a greasy countertop.

The first act was great and got me hooked; the second act was a bit all over the place, but whatever, most second acts are; and the third act was positively apotheosic. But it had two serious rubs: one being Miéville’s lack of experience, which shows at the seams and becomes all the more apparent if you’ve read his later works; and the other being its borderline overbearing sense of woe.

(Miéville admits in the Acknowledgements that he was going through a 'generally rubbish year' while writing it. No shit.)

You see, when I reviewed Embassytown , I praised the sense of despair that pervaded the book because it felt calculated; I felt like the author was in total control of what was going on. In King Rat the grim factor seems flailing and unfocused, to the point of being bathetic.

Now, we have to talk about Peake.

Miéville has made abundantly clear his admiration for Mervyn Peake. And I could swear that in the first half of this book, especially when describing the titular King Rat’s acrobatic antics, intentionally or not, he was imitating the cartoonish hyper-detailed way mannerisms are conveyed in Titus Groan . Hell, he even throws in a Peakester egg, comparing a building in London’s financial district to Gormenghast Castle.

I’m not even sure this is a bad thing. It is a debut novel, after all. Here we see Miéville finding his voice, and it’s kind of endearing to see his influences in relief. But this isn’t yet a Miévillian work; these are but the shabby baby steps of the crown prince tottering on his way to the throne, or should I say, throwing a stone and an ivy branch into the lake.
Profile Image for Paul.
1,216 reviews1,963 followers
November 6, 2021
3.25 stars
This is Mieville’s first novel and can be described as urban fantasy, set in 1990s London. It also has the feel of a graphic novel. There is an element of fairy tale as it is a retelling of the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Inevitably the plot stretches credulity and the language is strong.
Saul shares a flat with his father. He returns one day and his father has been murdered. His is arrested for the crime. Whilst in custody he is broken out by a character called King Rat and sees a whole new side of London. He also discovers he is half rat ad learns about his new abilities. The reasons for his situation gradually become clear, there is danger from the Ratcatcher. Saul also meets the King of Birds (LopLop) and the King of Spiders (Anansi). The danger comes in the form of a chap called Peter who plays the flute. The Music can charm any species and he is after King Rat, who escaped him in Hamelin. Because Saul is part rat part human he is immune to the music. The piper wants to kill him because he is immune and King Rat wants to use him to kill the Piper. The Piper begins to work his way into the lives of Saul’s friends.
The plot has plenty of holes in it and there are characters that are underdeveloped and barely used. As a result this does feel like a first novel. There is a strong sense of place and the background of jungle and drum’n’bass music gives a sense of time as well. There are a few clever ideas. The idea that invisibility is more about people choosing not to see you than you being invisible is pertinent. There is also an earnestness about this which doesn’t sit easy with the subject matter; the character of the Piper is one dimensional. The strongest character is King Rat himself:
“I’m the big-time crime boss. I’m the one that stinks. I’m the scavenger chief, I live where you don’t want me. I’m the intruder. I killed the usurper, I take you to safekeeping. I killed half your continent one time. I know when your ships are sinking. I can break your traps across my knee and eat the cheese in your face and make you blind with my piss. I’m the one with the hardest teeth in the world, I’m the whiskered boy. I’m the Duce of the sewers, I run the underground. I’m the king.
I’m King Rat.”
Mieville’s politics show through a little clumsily, which didn’t worry me as I mostly agree with them. There ae flaws but Mieville is always worth reading.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,320 reviews2,142 followers
May 28, 2015
I have read quite a few books by China Miéville by now. Some of them I loved and some I really liked but this one I struggled with. It was all so dark and despairing and frequently disgusting. In parts it was also a bit boring. Some credits are due for originality at least for the parts about the rats. The descriptions of London were good and the ending wrapped everything up nicely. Peter's actual identity was a a nice touch too. So just an okay book which I am glad I did not read as my first by this author. If I had read it first I would not have read any more of his books and I would have missed out on some wonderful reading!
Profile Image for Rachel (TheShadesofOrange).
2,205 reviews3,190 followers
April 17, 2023
3.5 Stars
I really love the uniqueness of China Miéville's work. I don't normally read a lot of urban fantasy but I would argue that China Miéville does not write normal urban fantasy.

My favourite aspect of this one was the gritty urban setting. This author has a clear talent for writing atmospheric worldbuilding. The story itself was good, but not my favourite of his work. King Rat was a weird character in this weird fantasy novel. I'm not quite sure I fully enjoyed or wrapped my head around this one. Yet as always with China Miéville, it was certainly an experience.

If you love China Miéville then you will definitely want to get your hands on this Tor Essentials re-release.

Disclaimer I received a copy of this book from the publisher.
Profile Image for A. Raca.
739 reviews150 followers
March 21, 2021
Kitap boyunca kendinizi kanalizasyonda sıkışmış hissediyorsunuz. O koku çok net siniyor üzerinize.
Bende herhangi bir tiksinti oluşmadı bu konuyla ilgili. İnsan/fare olarak düşündüm karakteri hep.
O kadar "tuhaf" şeyler oluyor ama garipsemiyorsunuz, Mieville'i çekici yapan nokta bu sanırım.
Konuşan bir 'Kral Fare' olması, karakterin insan/fare olması, kendi devrimini yapmaya çalışması, olaylara müziğin dahil olması; hepsi birden bire oluyor ve garipsenmiyor asla.
Diğer yorumları da okudum, sonlarda Saul'ün kendi devrimini yapmaya çalışırkenki tercihi beni de şaşırttı. Hepimiz eşitiz, hükümdar yok demeye çalışıyor sanırım.
Natasha'nın besteleri ve kovalama sahneleri benim hoşuma gitti, meraklanarak okudum oraları.

Kavalcı'ya ne oldu, Kavalcı kimdi...
Ben bayağı beğendim kitabı, çok keyifliydi.

Profile Image for Aylin.
170 reviews20 followers
March 17, 2021

Temposunu ve sacma sapan ogeleri birlestirme seklini keyifli ve sasirtici buldum. Ozellikle ilk 150 sayfayi elimden birakmadan okudum.

Birbirleriyle frekanslari tutmayan kavgali bir baba-ogul hikayesi olarak baslayan kitap once dedektiflik romanina, sonra da hizlica fantastige donustu. Derken isin icine muzik girdi, anlati bu sayede bir ritim yakaladi, kitabin hazzi bence bu noktada tavan yapti. Daha sonra isin icine eski bir masala yapilan referanslar girince "weird" hissini yasadik ve haz bende yerini "yok artik sacmalik bu" hissine birakti. Tam hikayeden soguyacakken masal referanslari ve muzik ogelerini birlestirme sekliyle yazar beni geri kazandi. Hikayenin ciktigi en yuksek nokta burasiydi. Kitabin kalani ise benim icin biraz sıkıcı olan aksiyonlarla doluydu. Cok da anlam veremedigim bir son ile kapanis yapti.

Anlam veremedigim sey yazarin dunya gorusunu kitaba yerlestirme sekliydi. Uc farkli sekilde karsimiza cikiyor bu dunya gorusu meselesi: 1) Basta bunu baba-ogul catismasi olarak yansitmis. Yazarin dunya gorusu babaya aktarilmis ve protaginistimiz baslarda direnc gosterir sekilde tasvir edilmis. Daha sonra yasi buyudukce icten bir sekilde olmasa da babasinin verdigi kitaplari benimsedigini goruyoruz. 2) Kendini kral ilan eden deli bir fare ve ona itaat eden korkak farecikler uzerinden kitap boyunca minik minik mesajlar yollamis bize. Yazar kendi fikirlerini hissettirmek icin ne guzel bir kurgu olusturmus izlenimi yaratiyor. Demek istediklerini satir aralarinda soylemis. Butun kurgunun kontrolunu elinde tuttugunu dusundurdu bu kisim. 3) Kitabin sonunda Saul'un kendi bencil cikarlari icin diger fareleri kiskirtmak amaciyla propaganda yapmasi olarak karsimiza son kez cikiyor dunya gorusu. Burada fazlasiyla karikaturize edilmis. Kafami karistiran kisim buydu. Tam da hikayeyi kafamda "sehrinde olup bitenlere duyarsiz kalan benmerkezci Saul'un politize olup kendini halkina faydasi olacak islere adamasi" eksenine yerlestirecekken ve yazarin tum kontrolu elinde tuttugunu dusunurken bu karikaturize son ile kendimce kurdugum anlam darmadagin oldu. "Saul'den de farelerden de bir cacik olmaz" noktasina hangi ara vardik, yakalayamadim. Halbuki birlik olup bunun verdigi gucle dusmani yenen kahramanlar yaratmisti hikaye bize. Finalde kahramanlarimizi neden itibarsizlastirma yoluna gitti, burada aslinda kendi dunya gorusunu mu itibarsizlastirdi, bende bu kisimlar net degil. Belki de yazar bir tuhaf kurgu metni yaratirken okura "her sey yazarin kontrolu altinda merak etmeyin" guvencesi verme derdinde olmadigini hissettirmek istedi.

Durumlari aciklamak icin sacma sapan ogeleri hikayeye yedirmesi ve bunun siritmamasi eglenceliydi. Mesela baba-ogul catismasini, "babasiyla anlasamiyor cunku oglan aslen fare" seklinde ele almasini hicbirimiz garipsemedik. Aksine, bu soylemin altina acaba hangi mesajlari sigdirmis diye eşeleyerek kendi anlamlarimizi yarattik. Sonuc olarak benim icin heyecan verici bir okuma oldu.
Profile Image for Evan Leach.
462 reviews142 followers
March 9, 2012
WARNING: If the following image causes you to recoil from your computer in terror, King Rat is decidedly not the book for you:

On the other hand, if you can look these horrors in the face without losing your lunch, then I very much recommend China Miéville’s entertaining first book. King Rat tells the story of Saul Garamond, a luckless Londoner who is blamed for his father’s untimely death before you can shake a whisker. Happily for Saul, a mysterious stranger named King Rat breaks our hero out of the pokey and introduces Saul to a very new kind of lifestyle. However, Saul’s new life is quickly threatened by a figure from King Rat’s past. I don’t want to give anything away but Miéville does a great job in spinning this story out over 318 pages, particularly considering that this is his very first novel.

I’d definitely classify King Rat as a horror book, thanks in part to a few scenes of pretty intense violence and terror (although nothing more graphic than you would expect from Stephen King, for example). But the book incorporates some urban fantasy elements too, and the comparisons with Neil Gaiman’s American Gods are spot on. Miéville is very good at weaving these mythical and fantastic elements into 21st century London, and some of the best parts of the book are when Miéville hints at the larger mythology behind the narrative. The writing is much more polished than I expected from a first novel, and Miéville has a unique and interesting voice that was a pleasure to read. I thought the author showed a real knack for raising his game when the stakes were high, and two scenes in particular (the end of Part 4 and the second half of Part 6) were jaw-droppingly good. Finally, King Rat features a supremely cool villain, one of the best I have recently encountered. The big baddie is a terrifying meld of myth & Miéville’s imagination that you won’t soon forget.

This was my first Miéville book, and I can’t wait to tackle his later stuff. I certainly had fun with this one. 3.5 stars, highly recommended.
Profile Image for Mike.
1 review1 follower
July 30, 2008
Here's the deal with King Rat: Neil Gaiman and China Mieville were sitting at a pub one cold 1998 evening, right? And China makes some wager with Neil, a wager that Neil ultimately loses. (Let's say China bets him he can't write a better comic book series than The Sandman.) So for losing, Neil has to write a book for China to sell under Mieville's name. Neil writes King Rat. It's got some typical Gaimanisms: a trip through a fantastical underworld two steps removed from the normal version of London, characters lifted from mythology and given a gritty present-day reality, and violent turns that are both threatening and strangely out-of-place. But Neil knows he needs to at least try to hide the fact that he's ghostwritten this one, so he makes the characters lackluster, the plot twists obvious, and the spelling- strangely- erratic. Gaiman fans should go read...well, anything by Gaiman. I've personally only read Looking For Jake by Mieville, a collection of his short stories which I very much enjoyed and highly recommend. This one, in my opinion, is totally skip-worthy.
Profile Image for Fuchsia  Groan.
162 reviews195 followers
July 25, 2019
El Rey Rata es la primera novela publicada por China Miéville. Si la comparamos con sus obras posteriores, mucho más redondas y perfectas en su mayoría, diríamos que es algo que se aprecia perfectamente en la lectura. Pero es también una gran novela de fantasía.

Es fácil sorprenderse y disfrutar de este Londres subterráneo lleno de suciedad, del uso que hace de historias ya conocidas dándoles una genial vuelta de tuerca, de la música, y de un protagonista (el Rey) difícil de olvidar. Una historia entretenidísima y original, con un buen final, aunque quizás podría haberles sacado más jugo a los secundarios y al submundo creado. Todo esto unido a la prosa de calidad del autor, que aquí era ya indiscutible, hacen que esta obra merezca la pena sin duda alguna.

Una enorme mole de edificio achaparrado se alzaba frente a ellos, un monstruo financiero al estilo de Gormenghast, una bestia de acero y hormigón que parecía destilarse, como si fuese una extensión de los edificios circundantes. ¡Oh!
Profile Image for Ana-Maria Negrilă.
Author 24 books211 followers
November 27, 2017
Romanul are la bază povestea The Pied Piper of Hamelin plasată în perioada modernă. Este o carte bine scrisă, cu personaje bine realizate, dar cu o acțiune destul de trenantă și cu episoade ce par să se repete. Motivul cântărețului din Hamelin pare introdus forțat, iar încărcătura dramatică a poveștii medievale se pierde într-o goană prin canalele Londrei și în episoade de violență gratuită.
Profile Image for Silvana.
1,169 reviews1,140 followers
November 3, 2019
After reading this book, I:
1. Will never see rats the same way again. I kinda want their superpower, including strong stomach.
2. Will save money to visit London. Gosh darn it, Mieville, stop seducing me with your atmospheric description of London and what might lie beneath/in between the city. I acquiesce.
3. Will try to reduce buying paperback editions since it actually hurts my hand to hold it, even though I am already using a book holder. E-books FTW! Save the environment!

This is Mieville's first published novel and I did like it, an interesting retelling of the Pied Piper legend. Obviously I have some complaints, like when I got lost trying to figure out character's motivation, some horrible unexpected violence (this is probably his goriest novel), and his tendency of being purple with less poetic quality as in his other novels, which probably more verbose but so delicious to digest.

Yikes, I am running out Mieville books to read. This Census-Taker is next.
Profile Image for Erika.
258 reviews23 followers
September 8, 2008
I tried to keep in mind when picking up King Rat that it was China Miéville's debut novel and the chances of it being on par or better than PSS weren't high. With that in mind, I wasn't too disappointed.

Saul Garamond's come home to London after a camping excursion and finds the place quiet, empty of its usual domestic element. Instead of bothering about his father's silence, Saul succumbs to exhaustion and is awakened to a confusion of police officers, caution tape and a broken window. Now under suspicion for the murder of his father, Saul tries to unwrap the events of that morning. In between interrogations, we learn about Saul's past and his spotty relationship with his father--one of the marking characteristics of his suspicious arrival that has tipped the police in his direction.

Before the police can come to a decisive conclusion, a mysterious intruder known only as King Rat whisks Saul away to the shadowy underground of London back alleys, rooftops and sewers. Among his arsenal is a secret for Saul: a royal heritage and magical inheritance into the shadow, survival, and subterfuge of rodentia.

Saul, perhaps too quickly, adapts to his new rodent-like abilities with an ease as disturbing as some of the traits themselves. The scene where King Rat educates Saul on the finer delicacies of the ratty palate is particularly disgusting and if it didn't turn Saul's stomach, it sure did mine. This is one appetite Miéville seems to relish, revisiting the option time and time again throughout the novel. The other is the ability to somehow fall into the shadows, become a shadow, imperceptible to a world separated by half a dozen feet. If you can imagine a 182 pound man (Miéville seems to think this is a weight bearing more gravity than it actually does) taking to wall climbing (shimmying?) and roof scaling like a duck to water, then you can easily understand the unexplainable vocal trick passed down to Saul through some mysterious aqueduct of Brand New Rat Abilities which turns his voice into a darker, huskier and all-pervasive entity. I'm still not quite sure how this is accomplished, nor how Saul mastered this ability, but it seems to freak his friends out and makes for a good scare.

After being kept in the dark about his role as Prince Rat in this new life architecture, Saul decides to go investigate life on his own. Running into a friend (Kay), he learns just how bad things have gotten since his prison break. Two officers assigned to watch his father's flat on the chance Saul returns to the scene of his supposed first crime are found dead. The police are determined to pin the blame on Saul again, but the nature of the crime--brutal, decisive, utterly destructive--doesn't fit with Inspector Crowley's understanding of Saul. There's something run afoul in London.

Taking it upon himself to spread the word on Saul's capture and disappearance, his friend Fabian discovers a new, unremarkable character hanging around girl-interest Natasha's flat. With a flute in hand and an ear for music "Pete," as he has introduced himself as, adds his own tune to Natasha's Jungle music mixture.

If it isn't clear by now what Miéville is cleverly attempting to pull off, King Rat clears the fog as he and two friends (Anansi and LopLop) sit Saul down and relate an ancient tale of revenge. Pete, you see, if you can put the pieces together here, is really the Pied Piper of Hamelin and King Rat is The One That Got Away. Now, ever determined to pay the Piper back for his emasculation, King Rat seeks revenge with the hope of regaining his kingdom and the loyalty of his subjects in this, Saul’s “fucking fable” (123).

Halfway through the book, King Rat and his cohorts of world mythology lose steam. For a couple of chapters I worried the plot would unravel under the task Miéville set for himself, but my fears were unfounded. This lapse in confidence provided Saul the space he needed to flex his metaphorical wings (if only he was a bat) and rebuff King Rat with a committed collection of dialogue which, when combined, seems to add up to more than he's spoken in the entire text thus far. Getting on with his ratty self, Saul also reveals a bombshell: King Rat's wayward subjects are turning to Saul for leadership, an unthinkable event which kicks the now fearful leader into action. Frustrated with King Rat’s brooding, Saul also puts his gears to work on a solo mission that reveals the truth about his father and sets into motion a new, darker turn of events.

Miéville has a gift for dialogue and with King Rat entertains a lasting relationship to sprawling cities with his attention to detail and marvelous construction. Under him, London streets undulate with hidden mysteries and a pervasive, gritty darkness seeping into the culture of city-dwellers and personal plotlines alike. Miéville’s cities have personalities, are just as much characters as his humans are. He reconstructs London from the inside out and builds a new landscape of the unseen, the dark underbellies beyond the façades of decorated building fronts. Miéville also deconstructs his protagonist and by the end of the novel (much like the later PSS) Saul has not just reclaimed his identity, he has found and molded it, shaped by the tumultuous forces of family and loyalty and emerges reborn and refreshed: a new Saul Garamond, neither the man he started out as, or the rat he thought he would become.

I never noticed the writing in this novel in the way good writing makes the task look easy and polished. While some events in the novel weren’t thematically as seamless as I would have liked, Miéville manages to fool me into thinking they could be, if I just thought hard enough. Or it could be that my eyes sparkle for all things Miéville, but my recent dive into Looking For Jake was refreshing on the rabid fan front. The man isn’t a writing god--mistakes do happen--but it’s nice to know when he’s got it right, it’s some of the best I’ve ever read.

If you like urban fantasy definitely pick this one up.
Profile Image for J.P..
305 reviews48 followers
April 28, 2014
Like most people, I had read other books by the author before getting to this, his debut novel.
While lacking the excellent world building in his later books, this first effort by China Miéville is still way better than most fantasy on the market and a must for his fans.
The protagonist here is one Saul Garamond and he isn’t quite what he appears to be. And thus begins a most imaginative trip through a world within a world populated with all sorts of interesting characters. A typically dark urban story by the author, once again he the displays his mastery of language and combines mystical elements using a backdrop of modern day London.
There are two minor antagonists in this book that I would’ve liked to have heard more about. I think if China Miéville had written this later in his career he would have featured them more. It’s not a pun to call the main antagonist a dirty rat, and his connection with Saul is curious indeed.
Slightly lacking in the depth of his more recent books, this is still a most impressive novel that occasionally displays flashes of brilliance. If you haven’t read any of his books I would suggest you start with either Perdido Street Station the first book in the series, or The Scar.

Profile Image for Lisa.
346 reviews544 followers
June 29, 2014
Full Review: http://www.tenaciousreader.com/2014/0...

King Rat is festering with atmosphere and drowns you in a cacophony of Jungle Bass and Drum. It takes you to London’s underside, it’s stinking bowels, and gives life to the world below. It does all this in a very good way. I swear. King Rat is my first taste of Mieville and I’m still not sure if it was the best place for me to start, but it certainly isn’t a bad place to start. This is his debut novel and does not seem to be as widely read or recommended. I have also heard that it is a bit different from the rest of his novels. Since I obviously have not read the others, I can’t comment on that myself. But I can share what I thought of King Rat.

My largest comment is that I love his atmospheric descriptions. You could just feel the malodorous sludge coagulating and dripping, see the colors and wonders (and horrors) of the city of London, and most importantly, you could hear and feel and practically live the rhythms of the Jungle Bass and Drum music that is prominently featured in the story. Within all of this (and keep in mind, his descriptions work way better than my feeble attempts), I could see brilliance that I am sure is carried over to his other works. In these descriptions, I could easily understand the fan base he has acquired.

Now, before anything else, I want to be clear that for a first novel, this really is a great debut. However, I also felt at times some of his scenes drug on for entirely too long. There is a bike ride that is so detailed I think it would put my GPS turn-by-turn directions to shame for being so simple and minimalistic. I think every turn and street name needed was in the book in addition to what felt like an inordinate number of landmarks along the way. It was not a huge deal, but it did pull me out of the story a bit, it seemed to go beyond what was a descriptive setting to an info dump of how to get from point X to point Y in London and everything you might see in between.

I also found the accent/dialogue from one of the characters (Anansi) a bit grating and kind of hard to read. I think if I was familiar with the accent he was trying to get across, it would have flowed much better, but since I wasn’t it just read very awkward. Luckily, he did not have much to say. And sometimes, it was short, and I didn’t have a problem. But if he had a paragraph worth of dialogue, chances are, I had to slow down my reading, and would get pulled out a bit to wonder what he was really supposed to sound like versus my awkward attempt at it. But, minor complaint. Really.

So, while I didn’t find this book without faults (at least for me as a reader), it was certainly still a positive reading experience. If your in the mood to explore the world below London (and have already read Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman), then definitely give this one try. Especially if you enjoy an atmospheric, descriptive book.
Profile Image for Otherwyrld.
570 reviews54 followers
February 2, 2015
This was the last novel of China Mieville's that I had left to read, which is ironic as it was his first novel. You can tell it is as well, as the book is rather rougher and less polished than his other works.

Yet, for all that, you can get the sense of where the author is heading even at this early point. There is an impression I have that he is searching, almost feeling his way towards his later works here. At each point he almost hesitates, a "how far can I push this" moment, before going ahead and pushing it anyway. It's an approach that comes bursting into gorgeous, nasty life in his next book Perdido Street Station (which I once described to a friend as "Charles Dickens writing a modern fantasy novel, if Dickens was on some serious drugs")

The language, which is my major impediment to truly enjoying the author's works, is much less refined and simpler in this story. This is probably just as well as he is telling a modern fairy tale set in London, and a too verbose language simply wouldn't have suited the story. Some commentators have noted the similarity between this book and some of Neil Gaiman's work, and I would agree that this book and Neverwhere (to name but one) share a similar universe. However this book is much darker than anything I can recall Gaiman writing - it's wallows in it's own filth, just like the rats of the title.

The other major theme in the book is that of music, particularly Jungle music of the period this was written (1998). I can't really say much about it because this type of music is more alien to me than the dark side of the Moon (the actual place not the Pink Floyd album, though as it happens I am rather partial to that album as well). All I can say is that it plays a rather large part in the story, particularly in the climactic showdown between the main characters.

The only real criticism I have of the story is that the author introduces a policeman who is investigating the various murders that occur during this story, but he fails to integrate the character properly. He should have been a witness at the final battle for example, rather than told about it later by the main protagonist. Done this way, we lose the perspective of an ordinary person who is on the outskirts of the action and can make sense of it to us. It's a classic example of an author telling rather than showing, and it fractionally weakens the ending for me.

Having said that, this is a fine first novel and a good starting point for the authors work.

Profile Image for Uğur Karabürk.
Author 4 books107 followers
January 18, 2023
China Mieville’nin oluşturduğu evrenleri seviyorum. Yazar genelde Londra’yı merkeze alır ve ekoloji sorunlarıyla metnini harmanlar. Tabii fantastik bir şekilde… Kral Fare adlı romanında Fareli Köyün Kavalcısı masalından hareketle yine tuhaf bir kurgu yakalamış. Saul karakteriyle beraber Londra sokaklarında (lağımlarda, çatılarda) fareler eşliğinde bazı gizemlerin izini sürüyoruz. Ben daha öncesinde Mieville’nin Un Lun Dun romanını okumuştum onu Kral Fare’den daha çok beğenmiştim. Kral Fare biraz dağınık anlatıma sahip ayrıca karakterler ve olaylar arası geçişler de çok keskin ve hızlı. Yazarın ilk romanıymış belki bu yüzden bana çok derli toplu gelmedi. Fakat yazarın kurguları ilgimi çekiyor diğer kitapları da aldım. Sırayla okumaya devam edeceğim.
Profile Image for Ivana Nešić.
Author 13 books61 followers
March 22, 2017
To vam je problem kad imate velika očekivanja, lako budu izneverena.

Mislim, nije da sad nešto ozbiljno para uši, samo je... onako...

King Rat je roman sa toliko solidnom strukturom da je ispao predvidiv i dosadan.

A bogme su tu stranice i stranice ispunjene opisima muzike, fiziologijom trčanja kroz noć i sličim stvarima koje su možda zabavne i primerene kad ih ima 10x manje.

Plus neke komplikovane reči tamo gde im mesto nije.

Ozbiljno, rekli su mi da Čajna može bolje od ovoga i ja im od sveg srca verujem jer inače ima skroz da se razočaram.

P.S. Veliki plus za to što se kralj ptica zove Loplop, kao omaž Maksu Ernstu koji u nekom trenutku valjda i jeste pomislio da je i sam kralj ptica - Loplop.
Profile Image for Oscar.
1,971 reviews492 followers
August 31, 2014
'El Rey Rata' fue la primera novela publicada por China Miéville. Incluye algunos de los elementos (pero sólo algunos) que lo harían mundialmente famoso, como son la fantasía urbana, gótica y extraña, incluidas magistralmente en esa obra maestra que es 'La estación de la calle Perdido'. Y es que se nota que es su primera obra, ya que si el planteamiento lo tiene claro, así como el desenlace (más o menos), en el nudo parece que anda algo perdido, las diferentes partes están cogidas como con pinzas y los personajes no están bien definidos. Al igual que su obsesión por enseñarnos exhaustivamente lo que es y se puede conseguir con los géneros musicales Drum 'n' Bass y Jungle, que aunque me gustan, francamente se me hicieron muy cansinos.

La historia es sencilla. El presunto suicidio, que no lo es tanto, del padre de Saul hace que se convierta en el máximo sospechoso. Parece que no tiene salida, hasta que es socorrido por el Rey Rata, una especie de dios de las alcantarillas que es capaz de pasar desapercibido para la gente normal. Este es un gran acierto de Miéville, el enseñarnos un Londres oculto para la gente corriente, en el que existen ciertos dioses de los pájaros, las arañas, los perros... El Rey Rata acoge a Saul y le empieza a enseñar este mundo oculto, cómo es posible subsistir de desperdicios (para esta parte hay que tener estómago), subir por los edificios y mantenerte en las sombras. El Rey Rata tiene sus motivos para atraer a Saul, ya que lo necesita para enfrentarse a su némesis, el Flautista, y para ello contará con sus aliados, Anansis, amo de las arañas, y Loplop, amo de los pájaros.

Salvo la primera parte y los episodios finales, apenas me ha gustado, pero aun así, China Miéville es un escritor a seguir, como lo demostraron sus posteriores trabajos.
Profile Image for Matt.
12 reviews2 followers
September 3, 2007
The first time I read King Rat, I was stuck at an airport overnight, waiting for an early flight. I don't know why, but I assumed that airports were 24/7 sorts of things, I had no idea that the whole place would shut down, that flights stopped, and that the daily bustle would dissipate, leaving a strange ghost town populated by a handful of the shambling undead, shuffling between the only open coffee shop at one end of the terminal, and the only open seating area at the other. It's a strange atmosphere in which to read a book like King Rat, but I'm glad I did and discovered one of my favourite authors.

The London that Miéville describes is both familiar and foreign, as full of secrets as Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, but even darker, and more sparse; the grit and grime are distilled, with many characters more raw and feral, less steeped in ritual and reverence, and (consequently?) more complex - except for Loplop, maybe. It's obvious that Miéville's New Crobuzon is a much more lovingly cultivated and polished city than his London, and yet I feel a greater connection to the latter. Reading King Rat had me appreciating the view out of the windows on my commute in a wholly different way. It's a truly enjoyable book - alternately fascinating, captivating and horrifying.
Profile Image for pearl.
309 reviews26 followers
January 28, 2010
As far as debut novels go, Mieville's King Rat was pretty awesome. Gritty, unsettling, and at times plain disgusting, it was all the nasty sub-London I could handle haha. Overall it was an enjoyable read, the pace quick, the implementation of drum-n-base awesome, and I loved/despised/feared Mieville's take on the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Creeeeeepy. That said, there were times when I felt the action scenes dominated everything else, and the characters were underdeveloped. Saul was not as relatable as I'd hoped, and too much of his backstory was shoved into the beginning of the book, a bit awkwardly. But hell, I'm still not even complaining that much! Mieville has such a talent for creating cities, for depicting their undersides and fascinating horribleness. I mean London is the real character, as city's always have been in his books. That and the Marxist subthemes too, haha.

Well anyway, coves, a good read this was. Recommended by all means.
Profile Image for Jonfaith.
1,887 reviews1,414 followers
May 4, 2014
The radio existed to communicate. But here it was failing, it had gone rogue, it had forgotten its purpose like the piano, and the people could not reclaim the city.

A few weeks ago I listened to a London Review podcast of Miéville
reading a story about the immolation of animals. It was certainly the New Weird, the images clung to me, no doubt enhanced by his nuanced delivery. Miéville said he found the story a child of Austerity. I liked that. I suppose a YA audience would like the milieu of King Rat, whereas I did not. I hated the book. It is lad lit expressing daddy issues. It is a clumsy reworking of a few myths with the virtual art of Drum and Bass spot-welded on board to provide urban edge. I read this as a part of a group read but I was afraid to spoil the collective mood with my face-palming and kvetching. I expected much more from that strangely talented author.
Profile Image for [Name Redacted].
797 reviews400 followers
August 28, 2012
This was the first book by China Mieville I encountered, back in the late 90s when Barnes & Noble still published weekly/monthly genre-specific magazines filled with reviews of new books. I thought the premise sounded intriguing, but I never got around to reading it and then I wound up in the jungle for a few years -- surprisingly, there are no bookstores in the jungle.

When I returned, I discovered that Mieville had been crowned the New Gaiman and I was told that I had to read and revere his work because everyone who was anyone did so. That was enough to keep me from reading his work. His fans were just so insistent, so pretentious, so fawning -- I decided to steer clear of his work on general principle. My desire to read "King Rat" has remained (perhaps because I love rats?) and I compromised by buying a used copy off eBay last Summer.

Today i finally re-added it to my GoodReads "to-read" shelf, and who should offer up his own assessment of Mieville but my separated-at-birth brother Jerry "TychoBrahe" Holkins of "Penny Arcade":

"The difference between Neal Stephenson and China Miéville for me is that I never liked the latter, even though I’m supposed to; even though it is simply an accepted fact that people of any cognition whatsoever are turning each page with a shaking hand, ready to receive his next sacred revelation. I own every one of his books, each time thinking this will be the one until his unique ocular drill begins to whir and I must hurl the book across the room or be blinded. This may be the first time you have read on a website that China Miéville is something less than a God; I’ve certainly never seen it typed, which was reason enough to do it. (Comic featured here: http://penny-arcade.com/comic/2012/05/14 )

"In trying to understand what it was precisely I found so intolerable, I recalled a song called 'Fit But You Know It' by The Streets. Being smart, or beautiful, or strong, or confident, or epitomizing any other virtue is whatever. But you can push these things, you can grind them into another person, and we have social censure for this kind of behavior. His writing is incredibly smug. I can feel him leering at me through his typewriter, shoulders up, breathing hard. That’s when I stand up, walk over to the bookshelf, and place it with the others. No way. We have no shared history; I’m not going to bore through one of these things out of deference to some prior affection. I don’t owe him shit.

"Apparently he has a book where there are two cities and they, like, overlap. That’s what I heard anyway, and if someone else had written it maybe that would matter."

UPDATE: I gave up 35 pages into this. I kept trying, I really did, but I finally reached a sentence so pretentious and nauseatingly pseudo-intellectual that I couldn't go any further: "Back in that cell, the grotesque figure calling itself King Rat had impaled Saul with his grandiloquent and preposterous declamations." It was insufferable & amateurish, a pathetic imitation of Gaiman's far-superior Neverwhere written by someone who reads like a college Freshman double-majoring in Creative Writing and Poli Sci.
Profile Image for Derek.
550 reviews94 followers
May 2, 2014
Come and join us in the Miévillans group for a group discussion of this fabulous first novel by China Miéville. [In honor of His Chinaness, the pun on fabulous is entirely intended.]

While this shows some of the roughness of a first novel, it's got many of the hallmarks of his later work. London features strongly as not just the setting, but a character in its own right. The opening of chapter one feels very much like Perdido Street Station, and the rats-eye view of London reflects a theme, to be revisited most clearly in The City & the City, but also in Un Lun Dun and to a lesser extent in most of his tales: if he isn't superimposing topographies, he's investigating the interfaces between them.

Miéville's love of Drum and Bass music is almost contagious. He hasn't converted me, but at least he makes it obvious how somebody could love that music.

For more details, until we finish our group read, see the link above :-)
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