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    Review of PERDIDO STREET STATION by China Mieville

    Del Rey, March 2001

    New Crobuzon is a rotting city festering on a strange earth. But everyone seems to come to New Crobuzon and, after a long struggle, even the now flightless being Yagharek. Yagharek is searching for the ability to regain his flight, to become, again, the being he was born to be. And New Crobuzon's scientists appear to be his only hope.

    Disgraced scientist Isaac carries on a relationship with a sapient bug-woman, but he's intrigued by Yagharek's goal--and his gold. He obsessively begins to study all things that fly--or that have the potential to turn into flying creatures. This obsessive study, and an underworld contact, brings him hundreds of birds, bugs, and one deadly caterpillar. When the caterpillar transforms, all of New Crobuzon is threatened. And Isaac and Yagharek make common cause with a semi-divine spider.

    Author China Mieville (see more reviews of novels by Mieville) creates a vivid world in New Crobuzon. Multiple species live side by side with crimelords and capitalists forming an alliance to keep the masses under control. Mieville is a political writer and many readers may disagree with the political message of his story. I also found PERDIDO STREET STATION somewhat hard to get into as Mieville insisted on painting his picture of New Crobuzon in dripping detail while I wanted to get on with the story. Still, I have to admit that Mieville hooked me, dragged me through the story despite my protests, and left me breathless at the end. I cared about these characters. It mattered to me that they somehow survive the moth-creatures and the corporate bosses who run New Crobuzon. Isaac's ultimate moral dilemma brought the story to an appropriate crisis in the end--and left me, and I think many readers, with a strange sense of moral ambiguity.

    This is powerful stuff. Check it out.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 3/09/06

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