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Iron Council by China Mieville


I enjoyed Iron Council immensely. Mieville is inventive as usual. The other reviews said that this book is overtly political but I never found it to be so. I always thought it was being taken to its logical conclusion.
The story contains three separate threads which of course converge at the end. The city of New Crobuzon is at war with Tesh. They are building a railroad to conduct the war. The workers aren't getting paid, they strike, they fight and eventually break away across unknown frontiers. It is against this backdrop that the tales of the Judah, Cuter and Ori unfold.
This is a challenging book but the sort of challenge that one enjoys(or at least one that I enjoyed).
Mieville seems to have an insanely keen grasp of characters and he writes like one possessed. There is lesser exposition than his previous works. A lot of the creatures are described with economy and precision with words that sends one hunting for the dictionary (but then you find that the word that has been used could have been replaced by none other).
Mieville is adept at entrenching images in your head. The characters, the races, the monsters are all etched, better than the way any movie could depict them.(I hope they never film these books because so much would be lost and no matter how good a job they do, they cannot be better than the actors in our heads.). The sheer number of races that interact with each other is a delight in itself.
What I don't understand is the mixed reception that Iron Council received. It is a riveting and magnificent tale full of fantastic characters. This is writing of the highest quality, a work of pure art that transcends genre and defies classification.
Despite the above praise I would recommend the book only to fans of Mieville or those who liked Perdido Street Station. This is a heavy read and I was exhausted(but pleased) at the end of it.

You can buy Iron Council here.

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