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Kraken by China Miéville

Kraken (2010)

by China Miéville

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,7161453,272 (3.61)233
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» See also 233 mentions

English (143)  Czech (1)  French (1)  All languages (145)
Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
Come on, Mieville. You can do better than this. ( )
  miri12 | May 31, 2019 |
Miéville is a master of world-building, working quirky and clever concepts into his books, and language. Especially language -- it's amazing what he does -- his neologisms and the mixture of high and low (slang and inkhorn-isms). I've found, however, having now read this, [b:The City and The City|21996|The Devil in the White City Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America|Erik Larson|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1167325045s/21996.jpg|3486041], and most of [b:Perdido Street Station|68494|Perdido Street Station (New Crobuzon, #1)|China Miéville|http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51NSMZRX33L._SL75_.jpg|3221410], that he has problems about 2/3 of the way through his books with plot. In each of these books, the plot meanders and zig-zags in a very uninteresting, get-on-with-it-already sort of way. Then it ties up okay at the end, but basically one-third of each book is tedious. It's clear he enjoys this, since he does it every time, but I don't. ( )
  xiaomarlo | Apr 17, 2019 |
The disappearance of a prize exhibit at the Darwin Centre leads to a curator becoming dragged into an unknown struggle of cultists and magic and the upcoming Apocalypse set in a dangerous London running alongside his own.

Unlike The City & The City, which was a slow burn, Kraken wastes no time introducing elements of the bizarre (on top of the Architeuthis disappearing) and the horrific. There is a division of the police, the FSRC, that investigates cult-related supernatural crime and use magic themselves in combating and preventing it; there is the Congregation of God Kraken who seem to be the most likely suspects, and there is a strike of magical familiars, Star Trek, a grotesque criminal ring and, of course, fucking Goss & Subby.

It took me five years to read another Mieville, which is ridiculous, because his stories are so engrossing and different. The characters were great and funny and the combination of horror, procedural and fantasy were just what I needed at the time. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
A promising start dissolves into a rather disappointing British clone of American Gods. The cool title, Kraken, is wasted on this derivative urban fantasy. A better title would be London Gods, as various Londonese religious faction compete to either bring about their preferred version of apocalypse, or else stop it.

You see, a preserved specimen of a kraken is stolen from the Darwin museum in London. For reasons not ever fully explained, this sets the apocalypse, or perhaps several competing versions of them, into motion. Or so it seems. In the end, the story is too all over the place to make it fully enjoyable, or even coherent.

Like Gaiman in American Gods, Mieville leaves the Abrahamic religions out of the mess, although, in the end (which I liked), there is a connection. Prior to that, however, the competing factions include the Krakenists, the Londonmancers, the sea worshippers, the Chaos Nazis, the various fantastic criminal syndicates and the like.

There was an attempt to make the setting (that is, the city of London), a character. This is something I usually like, but Mieville just doesn't seem a good enough writer to bring it to life. For sure, he is no Garcia Marquez, and the frequent attempts at overly clever language do nothing to improve the situation.

So much more could have been done with this promising premise and setting, but Mieville just doesn't execute. ( )
  matija2019 | Jan 8, 2019 |
Highly imaginative. Has maybe more ideas than it knows what to do with. The writing is at times somewhat overwrought and maybe tries a bit too hard, but overall the desired effect is achieved.
  Jannes | Dec 27, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 143 (next | show all)
Kraken utilises Miéville’s common setting of London, albeit a strange London. This otherness beside the familiar is a strand in his work evident from King Rat and Un Lun Dun through to THE CITY AND YTIC EHT.

This one started out as if it may have been written with a film or TV adaptation in mind - one with a potentially light-hearted take - but soon veers off down strange Miévillean byways which may be unfilmable. For these are the end times and cultists worshipping all manner of weird gods abound.

It begins with a kind of locked room mystery as a giant squid, Architeuthis, has been stolen - formalin, tank and all - from its stance in the Darwin Centre, a natural history museum where Billy Harrow is a curator. He helped to prepare the squid for show and is thought to hold the knowledge that might allow all those interested in its recovery to find it. The police fundamentalist and cult squad, the FSRC, is called in to help investigate the disappearance which becomes more involved when Billy discovers a body pickled (in too small a jar) in the museum’s basement. And these are merely the first strangenesses to be encountered in this book. We also have the consciousness of a man embedded within a tattoo, a tattoo which moves and speaks. Then there is the double act of Goss and Subby - two shapeshifting baddies from out of time (they shift other people’s shapes) - and weird sects, cults and mancers of all sorts.

Never short of incident and brimming with plot the novel is probably a bit too convoluted, with too many characters for its own good, and its one-damn-strange-thing-after-another-ness can verge on overkill. But this is an unashamed fantasy, a form to which I am antipathetic when it is taken to extremes; and Miéville is not one for restraint.

While Kraken sometimes skirts along the edge of comedy it never fully embraces it. There are too many killings and acts of violence for comedy to sit comfortably. I might have liked the novel better if it had. Its main fault is that it never manages to settle on which sort of book it is meant to be, straddling various narrative stools such as police procedural, one man against the odds, woman in search of the truth about her vanished lover, etc.
added by jackdeighton | editA Son Of The Rock, Jack Deighton (Jan 29, 2011)
Miéville has done what all great science-fiction has done—and great so-called literary fiction, when it gets around to it—provide a nuanced, highly imagined critique of the zeitgeist, dressed up in a crackerjack story.
""... "Kraken" is, no mistake, a literary work. The hint is in the subtitle, "An Anatomy," because Miéville is exploring the gap between the prosaic squid and the mythic Kraken, between the mundane ground of everyday life and the sacred. What precisely turns a fish into a god? What is the anatomy of a legend? And how do gods manifest themselves in our world?
...Miéville's best work since "Perdido Street Station."

» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Miéville, Chinaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Drechsler, ArndtCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Higurashi, MasamichiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kubiak, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Meier, FraukeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Valdez, Elisa LazoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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“The green waves break from my sides
As I roll up, forced by my season”

    —Hugh Cook, “The Kraken Wakes”
To Mark Bould
First words
An everyday doomsayer in sandwich-board abruptly walked away from what over the last several days had been his pitch, by the gates of a museum.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Welcome to London
and an underground of cults,
cops, baddies and ... squid.

No descriptions found.

Being chased by cults, a maniac, and the sorcerers of the Fundamentalist and Sect-Related Crime Unit, cephalopod specialist Billy Harrow inadvertently learns that he holds the key to finding a missing squid--a squid that just happens to be an embryonic god whose powers, properly harnessed, can destroy all that is, was, and ever shall be.… (more)

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