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King Rat by China Miéville

King Rat (1998)

by China Miéville

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,730576,346 (3.55)90
A London man is enrolled by the King of Rats to assassinate the Pied Piper of Hamelin who dethroned him. The man is Saul, whose rat mother joined humanity, making him immune to the piper's call. In his rat persona Saul eats garbage and climbs walls.
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» See also 90 mentions

English (55)  Italian (1)  Russian (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
A clunky read at times (as I have often found Miéville's books to be )
but... what a brilliant ending! The protagonist manages to turn the tables on the villain in the most complete and satisfying way - and it is all conveyed in a single sentence - obliterated, wiped out, tabula rasa, dead parrot! - he manages to destroy everything the villain stands for and worked towards during all of the narration and he does it with a single gesture, remaining completely in character, true to his life and beliefs and "honoring the father" (his real father, the one who brought him up, duh), his true roots, - pure genius.
  vittithing | May 31, 2019 |
This is Young Adult???!!! ( )
  miri12 | May 31, 2019 |
The radio existed to communicate. But here it was failing, it had gone rogue, it had forgotten its purpose like the piano, and the people could not reclaim the city.

A few weeks ago I listened to a London Review podcast of Miéville
reading a story about the immolation of animals. It was certainly the New Weird, the images clung to me, no doubt enhanced by his nuanced delivery. Miéville said he found the story a child of Austerity. I liked that. I suppose a YA audience would like the milieu of King Rat, whereas I did not. I hated the book. It is lad lit expressing daddy issues. It is a clumsy reworking of a few myths with the virtual art of Drum and Bass spot-welded on board to provide urban edge. I read this as a part of a group read but I was afraid to spoil the collective mood with my face-palming and kvetching. I expected much more from that strangely talented author.
( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
This urban grunge fantasy is Mieville's debut novel and the first of his works I've read. This is a riff on the Pied Piper of Hamlin and is imaginative and fast-paced. The language is delightful as is the imagery. The plot, however, is entirely predictable and there is one clear flaw in the plot, having to do with the protagonist's ability to resist the Rat Catcher's tune when no one else can. Still, it's a fun and fast read, and shows Mieville's developing talent. I'll read more of his work. ( )
  Laurenbdavis | Aug 2, 2017 |
Well I rated this 5 stars then promptly forgot to write a review when the story still lingered fresh in the air. I think I was marinating in the beautiful ambiance this story left behind for me.
well, Now it has to be a dumbed down version of an intelligent review.
The point is- I love this story, with all my heart and the author is incredibly talented.
I own two hairless Rats... the way the author depicted rat characteristics is SO accurate its mindblowing. I want to read more from this author asap! ( )
  XoVictoryXo | Jun 28, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
Saul Garamond is arrested when his father is found dead having fallen, jumped or been pushed, through a window of their house. Saul is sprung from custody by a mysterious figure who calls himself King Rat and asserts that Saul’s mother was a Rat. King Rat is able to move freely between the London which Saul knows and the unnoticed spaces which constitute a hidden Rat city. Under his tutelage Saul becomes rat-like too but King Rat, of course, is not quite what he seems. In this netherworld Saul also meets the Bird Superior, Loplop, and Anansi, head of the spiders. Meanwhile Saul’s friend Natasha, a creator/DJ of Drum and Bass, is befriended by a mysterious flute player called Pete and Police Inspector Crowley is increasingly puzzled by the spate of bizarre and bloody murders occurring on his patch.

The other city conceit seems to be one of Miéville’s running themes; it also occurs in Un Lun Dun and THE CITY & YTIC EHT though of course this would be its first appearance. This one is very London-centric though, which annoyed me strangely.

The language of the novel is simple; even a little sketchy at times. In this it has pre-echoes of Un Lun Dun. Indeed, were it not for the violence and the expletives this could well have been a tale for young adults.

Though the plot strands do cohere and music is integral to its resolution, at times the novel appears diffuse, as if it does not know whether to be a fantasy, a musical odyssey or a police procedural - though it has embedded within it a nice retelling of the Pied Piper of Hamelin story told from the rats’ point of view. Miéville also takes the opportunity to throw in a minor bit of political consciousness raising.

Had I read this on first publication I could certainly have foreseen an Un Lun Dun - though perhaps not a Perdido Street Station.

But… One of the characters seems to be under the impression that layered music never existed before Drum and Bass. Come off it.
added by jackdeighton | editA Son Of The Rock, Jack Deighton (Oct 28, 2010)

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Miéville, Chinaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clive BarkerIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moran, MarkCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nielsen, CliffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A London Sometin' ...

        Tek 9
To Max
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I can squeeze between buildings through spaces you can't even see.
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