King Rat-China Miéville
Something has murdered Saul Garamond's father, and left Saul to pay for the crime. But a shadow from the urban waste breaks into Saul's prison cell and leads him to freedom. A shadow called King Rat, who reveals Saul's royal heritage, a heritage that opens a new world to Saul, the world below London's streets--a heritage that also drags Saul into King Rat's plan for revenge against his ancient enemy
I fell in love with Miéville almost instantly with Perdido Street Station. My love was cemented with The Scar and was barely dented by The Iron Council's slight emptiness. Just as the beginnings of a real life romance, I thought things like "where have you been all my life?" and time with these books flew by while the time in my life before I knew Miéville was just impoverished in a way I had not realized.
You think I'm joking.
Well, it was time to see if my love for Miéville could survive leaving New Corbuzon and would extend to the rest of his oevre since he is the type of author who never writes the same thing twice. King Rat came first and it's his debut novel and as such...a little disappointing when compared to Perdido Street Station and so I ended up a little ambivalent-I'd enjoyed it but it's not as good as Miéville at his height. Which quite frankly is probably a good thing because it would so sad if his first novel was his best. There'd be nothing to look forward to. The characters and plot were unfortunately a little predictable as urban fantasy take on the Pied Piper traditional tale. That's not to say there were no plot twists and such but some of the dramatic reveals were not very dramatic if you catch my drift.
However Miéville's style is there. Instead of dazzling you with a fantastical science, he dazzles you with drum and bass and a gritty sewer London. The city and music burst to life on the page and they, more than characters, stick in your mind and carry the novel to strength. Even if you hate that kind of music, by the end of the novel you begin thinking, hmm, maybe I should revisit that. His style is striking and confidently in your face from page one when you get submerged into Miéville's creation of London.
And submerged you are...quite frankly, I read this in one day without sacrificing any of my errands and other projects. It is a good book.
I also gotta point out that Miéville's treatment of Saul and his father is absolutely brilliant and real-a definite precursor to how his characters become later in his career.