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Kraken by China Miéville is a book that defies easy classification. It's at the crossroads of a busy intersection with science fiction, urban fantasy, horror and mystery / thriller. It's very long, requires a good deal of concentration and a full vocabulary to finish.
As the book is so long and complex, I've included thrice the amount of links to other reviews as I normally do. If you're seriously considering reading the book, I recommend you go through the posted reviews. You may love the book. You may be confused by it. You may hate it.
Billy Harrow works at London's Natural History Museum where he specializes in mollusks. His pride and joy is a giant squid he taxidermied. At the start of the book, "Archie" the squid has gone missing. Billy calls the police and when they don't have any leads, he sets out to find Archie himself.
Billy's search leads him into an alternate London (not quite as alternate as Miéville's Un Lun Dun but more along the lines of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere. The other possiblity is that the search for Archie makes Billy aware of all the oddities of London that are there just under the surface of day to day perception.
I was reading Kraken at the same time I was reading Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus. I imagine Billy living in the present day London of Theodosia where shabtis can (and do) go on strike, tattoos can be sentient, and there's a Kraken cult trying to awaken the sleeping monster that is London.
But... there's a point where no matter how beautiful the language or how imaginative the scenes, a book begins to drag. Kraken suffers from that. There's a lot of filler.
Comment #1: Friday, August, 26, 2011 at 12:40:12
I was curious just from the title. Long sort of keeps it off any current reading pile for me. :-) Did you like Neverwhere? It is one I keep thinking I will read.
Comment #2: Sunday, September 4, 2011 at 22:08:24
Neverwhere is a great book. Before it was a book, it was a six episode series on the BBC. I recommend watching it too.