Thursday, January 28, 2010

King Rat by China Mieville

Synopsis: Something is stirring in London's dark, stamping out its territory in brickdust and blood. 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,. With drum 'n' bass pounding the backstreets, Saul must confront the forces that would use him, the forces that would destroy him, and the forces that shape his own bizarre identity.

Quote: This was a million miles form the tawdry world of conjuring tricks. His life was in thrall to another hex, a power which had crept into his police cell and claimed him, a dirty,raw magic, a spell that stank of piss. This was Urban voodoo, fueled by the sacrifices of road deaths, of cats and people dying on the tarmac, an I Ching of spilled and stolen groceries, a Cabbala of road signs. Saul could feel King rat watching him. He felt giddy with rude, secular energy.

My thoughts: Wow! What a ride. This dark urban fantasy story, Adult Fairy Story, that is basically a good verses evil story that kept me turning pages. Here the Pied Piper is an evil control freak who only wants to kill. I like the way this author takes figures from folktales and mythology, The piper, King Rat, Anansi, and adds Loplop, Bird Superior (who is a creation of the artist Max Ernst) and mixes it all up in the everyday world. King Rat has appeared in several books I've read over the years, but only in small parts. In some ways it reminded me of Neverwhere (one of my all time favorites) with none of the humor. It was a gritty story. Some of the discriptions, while true to the characters, gave me TMI.


I will complain about the end, where in the Big Fight, our hero did practically nothing. After spending many sentences in the book showing how he can control the rats, he didn't tell them anything. He could have had them rush the tape player for one thing. But then that would have cancelled the control of the Piper over all the people at the club. I'm giving it a B. I liked it and if you like urban fantasy, I think you'll like it too.

China Mieville

Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Tor Books; Reprint edition (October 6, 2000)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312890729
ISBN-13: 978-0312890728

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Pages in 2010:
This book - 318
T0tal - 2171


Anonymous said...

I'd not heard of this, but it sounds fantastic. Great review!

Anonymous said...

What a good one to review. I haven't heard of this book before.