I read this tome of a book last February with buddies from the book club and I’ve been sitting on a review since. Not an avid fantasy reader, I was blown away by the world created by China Mieville that I felt that I needed more time to gather my thoughts before I write down my thoughts. And then as always, life got in the way and I had to postpone my write up which extended until, well, today. The reason why I decided to finally sit down and come up with a post is because I declared this book as one of my favorite reads this year and I feel that I owe it to the book (and to my feelings) to at least write down something about it.
Perdido Street Station is my third China Mieville. I have read The City and The City and Un Lun Dun and it is no secret how I have become a Mieville fan afterwards. With Perdido, my admiration of the creative imagination of the author was reinforced.
I can count with my fingers the fantasy books I’ve read, among the latest is the Game of Thrones series. Maybe it is because of my deep faith in Mieville’s abilities that I did not have any qualms reading Perdido Street Station (and perhaps I took courage in the fact that I’d be reading this with friends) despite it a big fantasy novel.
The novel opens with a prologue of a yet to be named narrator aboard a ship towards New Crobuzon, a city in Bas-Lag, where humans and mutants and all kinds of unthinkable creatures abound. At the top of the things that I really loved in this novel is the world-building. The portrayal of New Crobuzon is so vivid and descriptive it makes me shiver just to think about it. Half humans and half bugs? Vodyanois? Garudas? No, I wouldn’t want to live in New Crobuzon, thank you very much. But, yes, I would be interested to know about these sentient beings; just don’t make me go near them.
Yet, despite this distaste, the mystery of the story was such that it was so difficult to put down the book. Each time I did, my dreams were all about giant spiders and ugly moths with wide, colorful wings. Just thinking about these creatures again makes me queasy. Urgh.
I didn’t have any particular affections towards Isaac but I have grown to like Lin. True, she may not be desirable in so many ways (except her art. It would be interesting to see her art, that is, if she exists in real life.) but I think I understand her character. I found myself so devastated with what happened to her. How unfortunate. Or fortunate? And those disgusting moths that, even though I cringe each time they appear in the story, I can’t help but be sorry for them. I mean, they just do what they were born to do, yes? They do what they had to do to survive, and who can fault them? Ah, but the repercussions are just unthinkable.
Perdido Street Station is full of action and suspense my imagination was truly pushed to its meager limits. I became too engrossed with the story, I never noticed the chapters that I easily finished. And in the midst of the action and the mystery and suspense, the morality of the choices made by the characters is something worth pondering. Until now, I still cannot make up my mind whether I agree with what Isaac did in the end. But as I read the epilogue, I sensed a braver and a more resilient Yagharek. I guess I can convince myself to be content with that.
My copy: Mass Market Paperback from Booksale