Mieville, China -- Kraken

Mieville's bent sensibility of urban magic turns up in London, where you always suspected it grew. Someone has stolen a giant squid. A giant squid! Stolen! I suspect this was a mad idea that turned up in Mieville's head during a museum visit and had to be exorcised by writing. The plotting isn't slapdash, exactly, but it's full of random things which aren't quite as compelling on paper as I suspect they were behind the author's eyelids. Yes, it's cool that the "kraken" is the name of a fairy chess piece; no, it's not cool enough to make you the new Tim Powers. Yes, it's cute that you can write London dialect so over the top that it lithobrakes back into plausibility from the far side. ("If you step closer, my lad and I will take you sailing, and you will not enjoy what's under the mizzen. We'll run you up a dress in taffeta. Do you understand me? If you speak we will bake you oh my god but the worst cake.") All that said, and believe me Mieville does say it, this is a bouncing little plot with plenty of special effects and the characters are all awesome in interestingly different ways.

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