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Kraken by China Mieville
Cover Artist: Photo: Vittorio Bruno / Shutterstock
Review by Benjamin Wald
Del Rey Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345497499
Date: 29 June 2010 List Price $26.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Article /

China Mieville' new novel Kraken has a little bit of everything. Actually, it has great heaping piles of everything. There are Lovecraftian squid-worshiping cults, several different bands of bizarre and immoral (or amoral) mercenaries with such colorful appellations as gunfarmers and chaos Nazis, several competing apocalypses, an angel made of specimen bottles and bones, an ancient Egyptian spirit turned union organizer who inhabits the bodies of statues, and much, much more. This profligacy of ideas is a large part of the charm of this book, but it is also responsible for most of the books flaws. However, despite these flaws the sheer energy and inventiveness of the book makes it a fun and engaging read.

From official release/information:

Product Description: With this outrageous new novel, China Miéville has written one of the strangest, funniest, and flat-out scariest books you will read this—or any other—year. The London that comes to life in Kraken is a weird metropolis awash in secret currents of myth and magic, where criminals, police, cultists, and wizards are locked in a war to bring about—or prevent—the End of All Things.

In the Darwin Centre at London's Natural History Museum, Billy Harrow, a cephalopod specialist, is conducting a tour whose climax is meant to be the Centre's prize specimen of a rare Architeuthis duxbetter known as the Giant Squid. But Billy's tour takes an unexpected turn when the squid suddenly and impossibly vanishes into thin air.

As Billy soon discovers, this is the precipitating act in a struggle to the death between mysterious but powerful forces in a London whose existence he has been blissfully ignorant of until now, a city whose denizens—human and otherwise—are adept in magic and murder.

There is the Congregation of God Kraken, a sect of squid worshippers whose roots go back to the dawn of humanity—and beyond. There is the criminal mastermind known as the Tattoo, a merciless maniac inked onto the flesh of a hapless victim. There is the FSRC—the Fundamentalist and Sect-Related Crime Unit—a branch of London's finest that fights sorcery

with sorcery. There is Wati, a spirit from ancient Egypt who leads a ragtag union of magical familiars. There are the Londonmancers, who read the future in the city's entrails. There is Grisamentum, London's greatest wizard, whose shadow lingers long after his death. And then there is Goss and Subby, an ageless old man and a cretinous boy who, together, constitute a terrifying—yet darkly charismatic—demonic duo.

All of them—and others—are in pursuit of Billy, who inadvertently holds the key to the missing squid, an embryonic god whose powers, properly harnessed, can destroy all that is, was, and ever shall be.

(Source: Del Rey)

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