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King Rat by China Miéville

King Rat (1998)

by China Miéville

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,625534,460 (3.55)86
  1. 40
    Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (chani, MyriadBooks, jeanned)
    MyriadBooks: For vanishing within the shadows of the city.
    jeanned: Disappearing into the unseen parts of London
  2. 10
    Pollen by Jeff Noon (wandering_star)
  3. 00
    The Book on Fire by Keith Miller (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For relishing the exploration of the shadow side of things.

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» See also 86 mentions

English (51)  Italian (1)  Russian (1)  All (53)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
It's an intriguing premise, and very well written - the language is brilliant and evocative. But it feels a bit padded, possibly because of all the beautiful language. It doesn't help that I found myself wondering why the hero didn't do something in particular at the big climax, and that annoyed me. Overall, it's a good first novel. ( )
  Jon_Hansen | Apr 4, 2017 |
Hacía tiempo que le tenía ganas a Miéville, y me miraba desde la estantería. La recomendación de empezar por este fue un acierto, sobre todo sabiendo por los comentarios que en adelante mejora mucho.

Dame mitología y fábulas y me tienes en el bolsillo. Con ese estilo descriptivo que a otros aburre, si bien es cierto que entiendo que puede hacerse un poco lento y pesado, a mí no me supone un problema y me ayuda a meterme en la historia.

Hacía tiempo que no me enganchaba tanto con una novela desde el principio, normalmente suele costarme unos cuantos capítulos o bastantes más. En cambio la historia me ha enganchado rápido, incluso siendo previsibles las referencias en las que se desarrolla y basa el libro.

Me declaro instafan de Miéville, y me arrepiento de haberlo tenido en espera en mi Caos Lector (TM) tanto tiempo. Gracias a todos los que me habéis regalado sus novelas y a los que me las habíais recomendado. ( )
  Minimissplaced | Jul 21, 2016 |
Saul Garamond's father dies and he finds himself in a shadow London where he is half-rat, half-man, and hunted by a mysterious Piper. Mièville relishes the wastegrounds and unloved places of London, which form the backdrop to this tale. ( )
  questbird | Jun 30, 2016 |
In King Rat by China Miéville Saul Garamond's father is murdered under mysterious circumstances the night Saul returns to London. Saul, who was asleep at the time of the murder, is left implicated in the crime. After being questioned by the police and left locked up in a cell, a mysterious figure, King Rat, breaks Saul out of jail and the adventure begins in London's underground and sewers, with the music of Drum ‘n’ Bass, mixed strangely with the flute, always in the background.

King Rat is a murder mystery, urban fantasy, and horror story, that uses rewritten folk lore and mythical characters to tell the story. China Miéville reworks the story of the Pied Piper and includes King Rat, Anansi the spider, and Loplop the king of birds, as characters. In his version the Pied Piper is an evil psychotic killer. This is a dark, gritty narrative set in the garbage strewn alleys, sewers and the underbelly of London.

There are some similarities to Miéville's Un Lun Dun. As in any good myth, in both a seemingly normal person has a destiny or task that they must complete to save others from a deadly outcome. While King Rat is set in London, Un Lun Dun is in an alternate London. King Rat is, however, a far darker and menacing tale and a very urban fantasy.

This was China Miéville's first novel and probably would be considered the start of his "new weird" genre of literature. In some ways I wish I knew Drum 'n' Bass music in order to hear the musical background pulsing throughout the novel. On the other hand, I could have looked into it and didn't, so my lack of total understanding didn't prohibit me from enjoying the tale. Admittedly, I enjoyed Perdido Street Station, Un Lun Dun, and The City and the City more, but King Rat is highly recommended. http://shetreadssoftly.blogspot.com/
( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | Mar 21, 2016 |
Something is stirring in London's darkness, stamping out its territory in the brickdust and blood. Something has murdered Saul's father, and has left Saul to pay for the crime. But a shadow from the urban wasteland breaks into his prison cell and leads him to freedom. A shadow called King Rat.
In the night-land behind London's facade, in sewers and slums and rotting dead spaces, Saul must learn his true nature.
Grotesque murders rock the city like a curse. Mysterious forces prepare for a showdown. With Drum and Bass pounding the backstreets, Saul confronts his bizarre inheritance - the badlands of South London.
In the heart of darkness, at the gathering of the Junglist Massive.
Based around the dance-music subculture of Drum and Base, this brilliant first novel of urban gothic introduces the outstanding new talent of China Mieville. Disturbing and different, this debut novel is ingenious and punchy. It is a violent but intelligent story that can be read on many levels - from the tops of city skyscrapers to the deepest, dank sewers ...
  bostonwendym | Mar 3, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (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 (5 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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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312890729, Paperback)

Saul Garamond returns from a journey in late evening and sneaks into his bedroom to avoid a confrontation with his estranged father. He awakes to the intrusion of police and the news that his father has been murdered and he is the number-one suspect. Forgotten in a jail cell, he is freed by a peculiar, stinking, and impossibly strong stranger--only to find rescue may be worse than imprisonment. The plot moves through subterranean and rooftop London quick as a techno beat, as Saul discovers his curious heritage and finds himself marked for death in an age-old secret war among frightful inhuman powers.

China Miéville's urban fantasy novel, King Rat, is an impressive, even daring, debut. It is a Lost Prince story that avoids both black-and-white morality and the standard fantasy-novel adoration of royalty. Furthermore, it is inspired by the unlikeliest of sources, the Rat King legend and the Pied Piper of Hamelin fairy tale. Finally, King Rat, powered and propelled by the rhythms of jungle/drum-'n'-bass music, is a fantasy novel set in the 1990s that genuinely captures the 1990s. --Cynthia Ward

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:21 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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.

» see all 3 descriptions

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