Perdido Street Station, by China Mievelle, tells the story of Isaac dan der Grimnebulin, a strange scientist living in New Crobuzon. He is approached by Yagharek, a bird like pseudo human creature who happens to have lost his ability to fly when his tribe cut off his wings for punishment. He asks Isaac to help him by restoring his ability to fly. Isaac decides to take on this strange commission and soon is doing research on all sorts of things that fly, and some that do not in order to help his patron regain his lost ability. Isaac’s Girlfriend is exactly like a human artist, except she has a bug head and creates sculptures from her spit. Although the story revolves around Isaacs’ research, the main portion of the novel deals with the after effects of research gone wrong.
This book is full of many things, including a noir setting, strange creatures, artificial intelligence, drugs, corrupt officials, crime lords and street thugs, alien women, riots, magic, technology and interspecies romance. I enjoyed the dark setting and mood of the city. The characters were interesting, although, to be perfectly honest, a lot of them seemed to be weird for the sake of being weird and there seemed to be little development.
I had heard a lot about this novel on various message boards that I peruse. Most of the people who posted had recommended it and I thought that I would really like it from the reviews it had gotten. As is, I thought it was ok. It is a bit difficult to explain what it is about the novel that struck a wrong chord. I think it might have been the basis of the crisis engine that did it in for me. Perhaps it was the ending, which, in its own way was appropriate and at the same time seemed like a bit of a let down. I’m not sure. I have The Scar, one of the next books written by Mieville dealing with New Crobuzon, the city that Perdido Street Station took place in. Although I had grabbed it from the bookshelf at home to read (I am still living away from home, in an apartment with friends so I don’t have access to all of my books), I’m not sure when I’ll get to it. The last quarter or so of the book just kind of turned me off… Who knows though.