Customer Reviews for

The City and the City

Average Rating 4
( 104 )
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(40)

4 Star

(38)

3 Star

(15)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(3)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Oh, the questions!

I will not recap the plot as it is done admirably in other reviews. I will say that I was captivated by how cunningly the thread of surreality is interwoven into the gritty realistic crime story. The twists caught me by surprise (which I love,) and added a very interest...
I will not recap the plot as it is done admirably in other reviews. I will say that I was captivated by how cunningly the thread of surreality is interwoven into the gritty realistic crime story. The twists caught me by surprise (which I love,) and added a very interesting dimension that became as important to me as the "main" plotline. I really enjoyed the book, and highly recommend it with one caveat: there had better be another one coming. There are simply too many tantalizing clues and pressing unanswered questions left hanging. I don't know if he is planning another volume to make this a series, but I am reminded of Stephen King's Dark Tower series in that I am breathlessly waiting to find out, can China Mieville pull this all together? I will definitely read the next one when and if it comes out. As a stand alone, it was intriguing and enjoyable but I am left wanting more.

posted by sybil_rising on May 28, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

This won awards??

I had wanted to read Mieville for quite awhile, but I probably should have chosen something from his earlier work to start with. While I fully appreciate his idea of two separate cities sharing the same space, the bulk of the book was REALLY mundane and not compelling,...
I had wanted to read Mieville for quite awhile, but I probably should have chosen something from his earlier work to start with. While I fully appreciate his idea of two separate cities sharing the same space, the bulk of the book was REALLY mundane and not compelling, whatsoever. It read like an episode of Law and Order, with a slight sci-fi twist. I had to force myself to continue reading, and I only did so because I actually paid for the book and knew I'd never pick it back up if I put it aside for a bit. It turned out to be worth neither my time or $$.

posted by SteelyJan on June 5, 2011

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  • Posted May 28, 2010

    Oh, the questions!

    I will not recap the plot as it is done admirably in other reviews. I will say that I was captivated by how cunningly the thread of surreality is interwoven into the gritty realistic crime story. The twists caught me by surprise (which I love,) and added a very interesting dimension that became as important to me as the "main" plotline. I really enjoyed the book, and highly recommend it with one caveat: there had better be another one coming. There are simply too many tantalizing clues and pressing unanswered questions left hanging. I don't know if he is planning another volume to make this a series, but I am reminded of Stephen King's Dark Tower series in that I am breathlessly waiting to find out, can China Mieville pull this all together? I will definitely read the next one when and if it comes out. As a stand alone, it was intriguing and enjoyable but I am left wanting more.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This won awards??

    I had wanted to read Mieville for quite awhile, but I probably should have chosen something from his earlier work to start with. While I fully appreciate his idea of two separate cities sharing the same space, the bulk of the book was REALLY mundane and not compelling, whatsoever. It read like an episode of Law and Order, with a slight sci-fi twist. I had to force myself to continue reading, and I only did so because I actually paid for the book and knew I'd never pick it back up if I put it aside for a bit. It turned out to be worth neither my time or $$.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 13, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Fascinating Read - give it a chance

    This is the kind of book that you have to give a chance to blossom. It seems simple on the surface, but at the same time confusing. The reason for the confusion starts to become clear if you give it a little time, and then you see the great complexity and creativity of the story.

    I found it one of the most enjoying books I've read in recent memory.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A fantastic police procedural parable

    The corpse was found near a skating rink ramp in somewhat seedy Beszell. All the curious spectators knew she was murdered just by looking at the award angles of her body. Extreme Crime Inspector Tyador Borlu leads the investigation that he assumes is a simple homicide. -----------

    He soon learns the victim is Mahalia Geary, which makes him reconsider the simplicity of her murder. She was the leading proponent of a theory that a third unseen city she called Orciny co-exists in the same physical space as that of Beszell and affluent Ul-Oomaof. Her belief and that of her supporters was this other locale filled the vacant blind spots between the co-located "twin" cities. As Geary's cohorts mysteriously begin to vanish, Borlu reexamines Geary's theory because increasingly the evidence points towards a third party conspiracy cleverly manipulating the biases of the two known urban centers.---------

    THE CITY AND THE CITY is a fantastic police procedural parable as brilliant fantasist China Mieville makes a strong case as to how far groups will go to keep the comfort zone of their social order. The story line is fast-paced with the audience accepting the existence of two "cities" intermingled but separate; sort of like the Bronx in the 1970s where a bus line would go from the burned out slums of the south to the affluent estates of the north. .Readers will appreciate this hyperbole as maintaining the illusion of belonging is more critical than economic and social realities. A tale of two cities and perhaps a third too, this is a great whodunit that will have readers pondering what psychological devices we employ to "protect" our places in society.----------

    Harriet Klausner

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 20, 2011

    Outstanding - one of the best books I read all year

    Highly recommended reading. I think it's categorized as Sci-Fi, but the Science Fiction aspect of it is not very strong - it's more like mild fantasy. The central conceit of the book (which is the fantasy element) takes a little while to understand, but after that it's completely accessible.

    Really interesting, well-written, thoughtful book that I thoroughly enjoyed cover-to-cover. Great characters, a really cool plot, and a wonderfully imagined world make this a no-brainer for me.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 20, 2010

    Good Book

    When I first started reading this I was afraid it was going to be too confusing. I decided to stick with it and am glad I did! The more you get into the story, the more it makes sense. It's a great crime novel with a hint of fantasy to it. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 27, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Laurel Anne Hill (Author of "Heroes Arise") Review's China Mieville's "The City & The City"

    I was a guest panelist at Readercon 2009 and my assigned reading included China Mieville's "The City & The City." I never managed to finish "The Iron Council" a couple years ago, so I groaned a little upon ordering Mieville's latest novel. Silly of me. My biggest mistake in reading "The City & The City" was starting too late in the evening to finish the book in one sitting. Alas, my eyeballs turned into bloodshot pumpkins at midnight and I had to wait to discover "who done it."

    One might consider "The City & The City" as being set in a parallel world. Yet the sense of place is so real. As I read the novel, I visualized the eastern edge of Europe in our own world, and stretched my imagination to make room for the cities of Ul Qoma and Beszel.

    As the novel opens, an unidentified woman is found murdered in Beszel. Unknown at the time, she was a foreign graduate student working in Ul Qoma. Ul Qoma and Beszel both are sovereign with restricted passage between them. Their cityscapes--with some shared areas--intertwine, complicating the subsequent investigation of the crime.

    Residents of Ul Qoma and Beszel learn from an early age to see what happens in the city they are located in and "unsee" what doesn't--even if they must unsee something several feet away from them. Sounds impossible to believe? Mieville pulls it off.

    Mieville has given "The City and The City" strong forward momentum. His protagonist, Inspector Tyador Borlu of Beszel's Extreme Crime Squad, is sympathetic and compelling. Mieville has created a plot as intricate as his two sovereign societies and marvelous city sights. The only downside I noticed was in the paragraph structure of some of the dialogue. I had to reread some sections to ascertain the identity of the speaker. All in all, I highly recommend this wonderful and literary piece of speculative fiction.

    Repeat warning: this book is hard to put down, a real page turner. Start reading "The City and The City" many hours before bedtime. Your eyeballs will thank you.

    Laurel Anne Hill (Author of "Heroes Arise") http://www.laurelannehill.com

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 14, 2014

    I was looking for a good book that mixed noir and Sci Fi and thi

    I was looking for a good book that mixed noir and Sci Fi and this kept coming up as a good choice.  This was a good book, but wasn't quit what I was expecting.  This is more noir in a made up city with fantasy elements then Sci Fi.  Still a cool read and worth checking out.

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  • Posted June 9, 2012

    In Bes┬┐el, Inspector Tyador Borlú is investigating a murd

    In Bes¿el, Inspector Tyador Borlú is investigating a murder with some unique complications.

    As with most Miéville books, there is an active political element to the story. With the divided cities of Bes¿el and Ul Qoma, the politics are brought down to a local, tangible level. These things are happening for a reason, and it could be that this unfortunate young woman was brought into the crossfire.

    Between Bes¿el and Ul Qoma is Breach, the area that drives the story. Breach is known by many names, and it has its own secret shadowy police force, themselves simply known as “Breach.” Borlú is forced to go around Breach – both the physical place and the investigating force – to investigate the woman’s murder.

    Borlú’s work is his life, and this case demonstrates that. He and Corwi, the young subordinate he drafts in to help, work together to determine who this woman was, and come to some astonishing conclusions.

    To take those conclusions to their next logical step, Borlú must go to Ul Qoma. Together with Senior Detective Quatt of Ul Qoma, Borlú reaches some incredible conclusions. Who is Breach? What is the nature of (a) Breach? What, when it comes down to it, is between the city and the city?

    As a commentary on the nature of the cities, it is interesting to note that there is very little visible light in this book. There are no sunny days; there is no really pleasant weather to discuss. In fact, “Holy Light!” is used as an expletive. It wasn’t something I noticed on the first reading, but on the second, it seemed an apt summation of the state of the cities and the people in them.

    What drew me to a re-read on The City & The City is that the story works on so many levels. It works as a police procedural. It works as an examination of class distinctions. It works as a biting statement on the things that we, as a society, choose to see and to unsee on a daily basis.

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  • Posted August 15, 2011

    Worth the read; but unworthy of the awards

    The mystery and dectective work in Mieville's story is acceptional, the the character development is great, but the author fails in his presentation of two cities existing in one location; it is barely plausible. Mieville's introduction to the two cities falls woefully short and leaves the reader uncertain of the relationships within dichotomy. The plot is forced as Mieville proffers a commentary on the cultures of modern city-life, where different cultures exist intertwined but never merged. Obviously, the awards are for the author's attempt instead of the actual work.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 29, 2010

    Why would anyone pay this much for an e-book which is cheaper in hard cover?

    Please, lets get our priorities in order here.

    0 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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