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Monday, March 25, 2013

Review: The City & The City



The City & The City
The City & The City by China Mieville
My rating:         Fantasy / Crime
Source: Purchased

Of all the books I included in my rereading challenge this year, The City & The City is the one which I'd most recently read for the first time. Since I was already using Goodreads when I read it in 2011, I even have the text of my first review:
I don't think it's too much of a spoiler to identify that the most interesting feature of this book is the way that the two titular cities are intertwined, in a way that's both fantastical and eminently plausible. Against this backdrop, an unusual murder mystery plays out.

It's fast paced and captivating, and I struggled to put it down. Mieville has an even more convoluted turn of phrase than I do, but until I've read another of his books I'll reserve judgement on whether that's his personal style or an affectation of this particular (first person) narrator. I'm a linguist by training, and I particularly loved the attention to linguistic detail in the languages of Beszel and Ul Qoma.

If I have one criticism, it's that the ending was a little abrupt: the plot suddenly snowballs into a resolution, almost too easily. But the setting is so fun that I was happy to be carried along through this world. This is the first of Mieville's books that I've read, and I'll be looking out for more.
Well, I don't think I can disagree with any of what I wrote then. I love this book. It's a masterpiece of creativity, and it went straight into my top 10 novels of all time (not that I actually keep such a list, but if I did...). Rereading this time, I had high expectations, but also an awareness of where the story was heading; fortunately neither of these things dampened my enjoyment.

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