I went to Book Expo America this year and mailed back two boxes of books just like I did at the American Library Association conference last year. I think this year’s crop will be less fruitful than ALA’s, but I know I got a few good books already, and one of them is the new Miéville. I got it signed for Dan and then promptly confiscated to read first. Miéville has a lot of adoring female fans who wear glasses.
I read both Perdido Street Station and The Scar and enjoyed them, but I’m not enamored of his flowery language. The City & The City is in a completely different deliberately hard-boiled style and for me that was a big win.
I prefer my sci-fi and fantasy crossed with some other genre. Here it’s police procedural. That’s obvious from the first page; what I couldn’t tell for some time was whether the book really was fantasy or sci-fi at all. I certainly won’t spoil that. Most of the intrigue in the first half is in understanding the world model; to ruin that would be tragic.
Like a true detective story you don’t get into the head of the first-person narrator much, except obliquely. I didn’t really connect with the secondary characters either. Both choices seem deliberate. This is an ideas book, not a character one. I spent a lot of time imagining how it could be adapted into film. I think it could be done right, but failing to do so would be spectacularly bad.
The book isn’t totally cerebral either. There’s action. There’s murder! By the end, I was turning pages to get to the resolution, even though I was pretty sure how things would end up (I was right). There’s a good mix of tied-up and loose ends. Recommended.