Kraken

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Kraken

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
British fantasist Miéville mashes up cop drama, cults, popular culture, magic, and gods in a Lovecraftian New Weird caper sure to delight fans of Perdido Street Station and The City & the City. When a nine-meter-long dead squid is stolen, tank and all, from a London museum, curator Billy Harrow finds himself swept up in a world he didn't know existed: one of worshippers of the giant squid, animated golems, talking tattoos, and animal familiars on strike. Forced on the lam with a renegade kraken cultist and stalked by cops and crazies, Billy finds his quest to recover the squid sidelined by questions as to what force may now be unleashed on an unsuspecting world. Even Miéville's eloquent prose can't conceal the meandering, bewildering plot, but his fans will happily swap linearity for this dizzying whirl of outrageous details and fantastic characters. (July)
Kirkus Reviews
New, hefty urban fantasy with a London setting-sort of-from Mieville (The City & The City, 2009, etc.). At the Darwin Centre in London's Natural History Museum, curator Billy Harrow shepherds a tour group toward the center's prize specimen, a giant squid that Billy himself helped prepare. Alas-squid, tank, preservative and all, have vanished! Whodunit? How? To Billy's disbelief, investigating police officer Kath Collingswood professes to fight sorcery with sorcery. But, as Billy will quickly learn but more slowly accept, the teleportation of the huge squid is but an opening gambit in a struggle to the death between shadowy magical gangs lurking in an unseen London whose denizens, human and otherwise, are adept in techniques unknown to science and unsuspected by orthodox Londoners. This colorful, swirling, often arresting, equally often ploddingly didactic backdrop involves the squid-worshipping Congregation of God Kraken and renegade squiddy Dane Parnell-he tries to shield Billy from Goss and Subby, terrifying, sadistic wizards sent by the Tattoo, a maniacal, disembodied gangster now inked into the flesh of a hapless victim by Grisamentum, London's greatest dead wizard. Meanwhile, the city's magical familiars-cats, beetles, you-name-it-led by ancient Egyptian tomb-spirit Wati, are striking for better pay and benefits. Somebody or something, ho-hum, intends to destroy the world. But less than a hundred pages in, the lack of a plot becomes a serious drag, and Mieville doesn't seem to grasp that absurd does not mean funny. Likely reaction: raised eyebrows, head-scratching bewilderment. Agent: Mic Cheetham/Mic Cheetham Agency
Sara Sklaroff
While Miéville is a bit prone to cephalopodan silliness…it's great fun to watch the pleasure he takes in wordsmithing. At more than 500 pages, Kraken is not a particularly disciplined work, but it's still an entertaining twist on this venerable tentacled sci-fi trope—think Jules Verne, Lovecraft…
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345497499
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/29/2010
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.74 (h) x 1.71 (d)

Meet the Author

China Mieville
China Mieville

China Miéville is the author of King Rat; Perdido Street Station, which won the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Fantasy Award; The Scar, which won the Locus Award and the British Fantasy Award; Iron Council, which won the Locus Award and the Arthur C. Clarke Award; and a collection of short stories, Looking for Jake. He lives and works in London.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 162 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(33)

4 Star

(54)

3 Star

(44)

2 Star

(13)

1 Star

(18)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 163 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 5, 2010

    Weird In More Ways Than One

    China Mieville has constructed a loving homage to H.P. Lovecraft, right down to the odd characters, mysterious beastlies, and awkward phrasing. Dialogue and sentence construction take backseats to the concepts, though every few pages there is a laugh-outloud line that will keep the reader entertained--but not, necessarily, engaged. KRAKEN reminds me a lot of Warren Ellis's fiction debut, ONE CROOKED VEIN, another "weird" book that seemed to run off the rails at times. A reviewer in the UK put it best: "Less is more where weirdness is concerned." Readers will either embrace the madness or go mad trying to make it through KRAKEN.

    14 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 31, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    wild urban fantasy

    In London's Natural History Museum, curator Billy Harrow escorts a tour into the Darwin Center where a giant squid resides in a special tank prepared by him. Billy is proud of what he and most experts consider the top attraction of the Darwin center and perhaps the entire museum. When he and the tour group reach their destination, Billy is stunned to find it empty as that is not possible. What is more eerie is that not just the squid is gone, but the tank and preservative too.

    Investigating police officer Kath Collingswood explains magical teleportation to a shocked Billy. He has now entered the realm of sorcery where Kath explains the only way to fight back is with sorcery. As Billy learns more about a part of London he and most residents never knew existed, the Congregation of God Kraken worship the giant squid while one of their flock Dane Parnell tries to keep curious Billy safe from two nasty wizards who get off with torture. Sent by their leader Tattoo the insane gangster survived sans body of his own as a tattoo put on the flesh of a wretched soul thanks to the greatest dead wizard. As the curator becomes more acquainted with the other London, city's familiars are refusing to perform as they picket for better pay, improved working conditions and health care.

    Kraken is a wild over the top of Big Ben urban fantasy starring a likable curator, a fascinating dedicated cop-mage, and a vision of London that feels like something from Alice in Wonderland or Simon R. Green. Although the plot meanders much more than a Hyde Street Park speaker, and at times is overwhelmed by the paranormal antics throughout the city, fans of China Mieville will enjoy his jocular lampooning of the police procedural-amateur sleuth in an urban fantasy environs.

    Harriet Klausner

    7 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2010

    A long unfulfilling read

    Kept waiting for the story to pick up at some point. It was barely good enough not to abandon altogether, but it was painful to wade through 500+ pages to find out: how it all ended, if any of it made sense (yes) and whether I cared (no). Would have given it 2 stars if it was 300 pages.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 17, 2010

    This book stinks

    Reading this book is a waste of time, author should find a new job.

    2 out of 40 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2012

    Too Weird to Enjoy

    Very hard to follow. Reader has no frame of reference with which to make sense of the story line,and auther not very good about developing insight for the reader. I stopped reading at page 160. Just wasnt enjoying it enough to continue. I found it a laboreous and non-entertaining read.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2011

    Best book I've read in a long while.

    Brilliant story. Very deep story,but not for kids. Highly recommend this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2011

    An acquired taste

    This is a good book, with levels of lore so deep that it brings me back to the days when I was reading Harry Potter, sticking all of my mental capacity into prying open the magnificent world of wizarding. Even though I enjoyed the read, it is not for everybody. If you have a child that you don't want reading lots of slang and cursing, then you probably shouldn't give this to them. It is also a very complicated world Mieville has opened up, and that makes it a complicated read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2011

    Great book.

    This book starts fast and kept me interested with the fascinating setting. However there are some chapters that tend to drag on. Even with those hickups it is a fantastic story!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Too Complicated. Will Read At Another Time. Maybe

    After reading the synopsis I was super excited and really looking forward to this book. It was so overwhelming with all the different kinds of characters, various factions, and bizarre action (real London/alternative London) that I found it hard to understand what was going on, so I would re-read what I just read. Then I was just reading it to simply enjoy the story. Then I was just reading the words not focusing, until after some time I was asking myself what I had just read. It has a great and interesting start with Billy a museum curator being sought after by the magic-wielding Krakenists and being chased by the dangerous pair Goss and Subby. But by half way through the book, (at the end of Part 2), I simply could not go on. It's rare that I am not able to finish a book, so that is saying something for me. (The Historian, Icehenge, and this book Kraken are the only ones I've never been able to finish reading.) I realize that some may like this book; I even expect others who've read some of China Miéville's other books may have a one up on me. I do not recommend this book, because it was too difficult to get into the story, stay focused on what's happening, and it's too dry and boring. I give it 1 ½ stars instead of just 1star because I didn't outright hate it. However, I am intrigued by what one of my favorite authors had to say about Kraken. Terry Brooks Reviews: Kraken April 5, 2011 ~ T.B. Rating: 5 of 5 stars This month I am recommending a book that has been out for a year or so, China Miéville's Kraken. No one writes books like China. Some have said this is a good thing because China's prose is dense and complex and his language might require that you keep a dictionary close at hand. But this is a really wonderful, compelling story. It possesses elements of science fiction, fantasy, horror and myth, and it is impossible to describe here. But I will take a shot at it anyway. Kraken is an end of the world story centered around a stolen Kraken corpse, a Kraken worshipping cult, strange collections of magic wielders both good and bad, a paranormal police unit, a gaggle of odd heroes and a couple of really terrible villains. It reminded me of Stephen King, among others. You have to work at this book, but even given that I had to put some effort into reading it I could not put it down. It builds as it goes and thunders to a surprisingly satisfying ending. It made me envy China's storytelling skills, and that doesn't happen very often.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2014

    Big fan but prefer his other books.

    Embassytown may be one of my favorite books evrt but this was was just a little too unchained for me. Still a good read.

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    Posted March 1, 2011

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