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Kraken by China Mieville : Wacky characters and an ode to London

Kraken is a cracker of a read. Gets boring in the middle but the end and beginning hold it in great stead.
This probably has the wackiest set of characters in any Mieville novel (which is saying a lot).
There is a punk who has an old warlord tattooed onto him. There is an assassin who is probably the scariest I have ever read. There is the chameleon, a man who seems familiar to everyone. There is a star trek fan boy who power happens to be teleportation with a strange twist. In Mieville's London everyone has a power or a knack as he likes to call it. The most normal person is obviously the protagonist Billy Harrow.
The novel concerns itself with the theft of a Kraken(a giant squid for the uninformed) which may or may not set of an apocalypse. There is a squid cult. Questions of faith and religion are dealt with. There is a female cop who can give Captain Haddock a run for his money when it comes to cursing. There is an after life rebellion. All of which is linked through the city of London which seems to the craziest character of them all.
This is Mieville at his flat out bloody best, writing with deftness and a spontaneity unseen since Perdido Street Station(The rambling was one of the things I enjoyed about Perdido because no one quite rambles the way Mieville does). The city and the city for all its merits(and it is a great novel) felt like everything was too planned, too meticulous and that Mieville was reining himself in. Kraken has all his whimsy in full force.
Although if you do want to start reading Mieville this is certainly not the novel to begin with. I would say go with The city and the city or Perdido Street Station.

You can buy Kraken here.

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