by China Mieville
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A contemporary fantasy set in present-day London finds people flocking to a BritishMuseum exhibit of a giant squid that is stolen by magical criminals, a crime ...

All Reviews

3 + 12 in other languages
LFrigLFrig wrote a review
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Andyberschauer Andyberschauer wrote a review
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If they make a movie of this, it had better be a comedy
I don't know if China Mieville set out to write a comedy, a thriller, or just a piece of absurdity. There are elements of all three (and then some) between the covers of Kraken, but it's not enough of any one of them to make it a worthwhile read.

In Kraken you'll meet cultists and occultists of many stripes, gunfarmers whose bullets grow into new weapons - in situ - after dispatching their victim, gods and spirits who speak English in drunken and/or childish manners... There are a host of characters and character types (too many, in fact), and you'll care about none of them - not even the nearly normal humans. And why should you? As London's occult underworld waged war against enemies traditional and new, the laity somehow managed to brush all the inconvenience off as unextraordinary albeit uncommon events. Therein lies some of the comedy, as that's actually how British officials speak about unpleasantries - "passenger activity" when a suicidal person succeeds in the presence of a train; "power surge" for the 7/7 bombing before actual events were communicated to the public.

Mr Mieville, meanwhile, takes you on turns in the story line that might well have been great, except for the nagging reality that they barely captured this reader's attention. His unorthodox voice in this story harkens to Anthony Burgess, except that we never learn to speak the language of the book; the dark comedy is Douglas Adams-esque, although perhaps too subtle to actually entertain; the thriller builds inconsequentially as the princpals are blubbering inanely, and the innocent bystanders are silent throughout.

Through 500+ pages I remained as distant from and unconcerned about the events of Kraken as the background noise which serves as the London public in this story.

A strange story, but not a good one.