The disappearance of a preserved giant squid from the natural history museum in London is the least strange occurrence described in this book. The theft triggers an escalation of magic and violence amongst the ‘knacked’ inhabitants of an alternate London hidden just beyond the senses of most everyday Londoners, and is seen as a precursor to apocalypse.
Packed full of ideas and almost poetic ‘street’ slang Mieville‘s writing style is unique even if some of the plot and characters appear to be derivative of the likes of Clive Barker and Neil Gaiman. This is a more grown-up affair than UnLunDun and has a more gritty city feel than his other fantasy work. However, it is a times at little pedestrian and reliant on exposition – there’s a lot of flowery ‘telling’ and maybe not enough ‘showing’ in my opinion.
That said, Mieville justly deserves all the awards and plaudits he has amassed, just maybe not for this book, which while better than King Rat and UnLunDun is nowhere near as special as the classic Perdido Street Station or The Scar both of which I would thoroughly recommend.
I will give this a slightly disappointed (7/10)