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Iron Council (2004)

by China Miéville

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Bas-Lag (3)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,166753,220 (3.61)144
BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from China Mi?ville?s Embassytown. Following Perdido Street Station and The Scar, acclaimed author China Mi?ville returns with his hugely anticipated Del Rey hardcover debut. With a fresh and fantastical band of characters, he carries us back to the decadent squalor of New Crobuzon?this time, decades later. It is a time of wars and revolutions, conflict and intrigue. New Crobuzon is being ripped apart from without and within. War with the shadowy city-state of Tesh and rioting on the streets at home are pushing the teeming city to the brink. A mysterious masked figure spurs strange rebellion, while treachery and violence incubate in unexpected places. In desperation, a small group of renegades escapes from the city and crosses strange and alien continents in the search for a lost hope. In the blood and violence of New Crobuzon?s most dangerous hour, there are whispers. It is the time of the iron council. . . . The bold originality that broke Mi?ville out as a new force of the genre is here once more in Iron Council: the voluminous, lyrical novel that is destined to seal his reputation as perhaps the edgiest mythmaker of the day.… (more)
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» See also 144 mentions

English (73)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (75)
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
This is the sixth Mièville book I have read and it turned out to be the weakest. The central conceit (the train) just didn't work for me. Lots of body-horror stuff also didn't help. The gross-out elements were there in both Perdido Street Station and The Scar as well but those books both had more compelling plots and more interesting characters. Central character motivation especially was much better developed in the earlier Bas-Lag books. This novel might have been more enjoyable if it were shorter; 550+ pages seemed to contain a lot of unnecessary descriptive passages and that bloat just became tiresome after a while. ( )
  ScoLgo | Apr 8, 2021 |
This is the third of Mieville’;s books to be set in the wonderful world of New Crobuzon, and so far my favourite of this ‘verse. I enjoyed Perdido Street Station, admired more than liked The Scar, but Iron Council surpasses both of them. I was a little doubtful at first, not really getting the character of Cutter. But once the story began it sucked me in.

The ‘verse Mieville has created is simply fantastic, in both sense of the word. A variety of characters, races, and peoples all battle for the reader’s attention, and just when you want to read more about some one in particular another comes along to steal your attention.

There are three main storylines. Cutter and his wanderings as he attempts to track down Judah Lowe. Then there is Ori, back in the city of New Crobuzon and his desire for revolution, for a better world. The third strand is set in the past, and centres on the character of Judah Lowe and the origin of the legendary Iron Council.

Mieville is a socialist, and there is quite a bit of politics in this book. The social reform the people of the Collective yearn for. The strikes that helped bring about the creation of the Iron Council. And while it is impossible to ignore this political aspect, nowhere does Mieville’s political belief turn into a sermon or a rant. The characters live, and die, they act as characters, not as proponents of a particular theory.

There are no real bad guys in this book. Sure, there are the authorities and the railroad managers, but they are more in the background. Few of them are actual characters that appear in the book. Instead it is the realities of life that create the situations that the other characters must react to. For just as there are no bad guys, there are no good guys. There are simply characters, acting according to what goes on about them.

Utterly original, with its Remade, flesh elementals, Cactae people and Khepri women among many many more, Iron Council makes for a great read. You’ll never look at a train in the same way again. And the ending! well. I’ll let you find out for yourself. ( )
1 vote Fence | Jan 5, 2021 |
This Mieville books was more of a struggle for me. It took longer than I'm used to and at least this time not because of the crazy creatures involved. So much of the story has words that seem to me made-up with no glossary, so you just have to figure out what he means by reading on. However, the depth of personalities, missions, the civil strife make it worth trying it at least. ( )
  Angel.Tatum.Craddock | Dec 17, 2020 |
I did not enjoy this one as much as the previous two. Parts of it were fantastic, but overall it was a bit weak.

The ending was good and probably saved the book from an ever worse rating ( )
  gullevek | Dec 15, 2020 |
Very strong 4.5 stars. Very nearly a 5. Many reviews here are saying this is the weakest of the New Crozubon tales but I enjoyed it more the Perdidio St Station and The Scar. The plot seems better paced and driven and I for one did nit miss the long lists of place names from Perdido St Station. Highly recommended. ( )
  MattCotton | Dec 4, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 73 (next | show all)
Aside from his high-end prose style, Miéville’s characters, with their conceits and weaknesses abraded as moral choices play themselves out, secure their author’s place among the top-flight novelists of today.
 

» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
China Miévilleprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bauche-Eppers, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Drechsler, ArndtCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Giugliano, NelloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lynch, DamianNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stevenson, DavidCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Epigraph
'Erect portable moving monuments on the platforms of trains.' Velimir Khlebnikov, Proposals
Dedication
To Jemima, my sister
First words
In years gone, women and men are cutting a line across the dirtland and dragging history with them.
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BONUS: This edition contains an excerpt from China Mi?ville?s Embassytown. Following Perdido Street Station and The Scar, acclaimed author China Mi?ville returns with his hugely anticipated Del Rey hardcover debut. With a fresh and fantastical band of characters, he carries us back to the decadent squalor of New Crobuzon?this time, decades later. It is a time of wars and revolutions, conflict and intrigue. New Crobuzon is being ripped apart from without and within. War with the shadowy city-state of Tesh and rioting on the streets at home are pushing the teeming city to the brink. A mysterious masked figure spurs strange rebellion, while treachery and violence incubate in unexpected places. In desperation, a small group of renegades escapes from the city and crosses strange and alien continents in the search for a lost hope. In the blood and violence of New Crobuzon?s most dangerous hour, there are whispers. It is the time of the iron council. . . . The bold originality that broke Mi?ville out as a new force of the genre is here once more in Iron Council: the voluminous, lyrical novel that is destined to seal his reputation as perhaps the edgiest mythmaker of the day.

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Haiku summary
Croubouzon at war \
talks of rebel paradise \
rumor mill alive
(lisa2)

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