Review – The City & The City

Posted May 13, 2016 by Nicky in Reviews / 2 Comments

Cover of The City & The City by China MiévilleThe City & The City, China Miéville

Originally posted 30th November 2010

I read this one in bits. The last half or so was all in one go, on a long train journey, but for the most part, I just read it in bits, a few pages at a time, and didn’t really get involved with it. I didn’t really care how it ended, for most of the time. I did get tense during the last parts, and I was sad for the main character about the ending, but I didn’t really care, for the most part. I wanted to care more about Corwi and Dhatt, but I didn’t really see enough of them, or enough positive about Dhatt…

I suppose it was pretty realistic, in that, but what actually kept me reading was the core idea — and, to some extent, the mystery. I’ve always said that cities were the most interesting thing about Miéville’s work: he’s really good at making them feel alive, I think. Less the individual parts, more the whole life of the city. This is a particularly interesting one, especially the way he navigates it: nothing here is overtly fantastical or sci-fi ish, really. I mean, it sounds completely far-fetched, but we know how deeply cultural conditioning can affect people, and if you just take it as a thought experiment…

Still, I like the idea — and Miéville evokes his worlds well — but it really didn’t have me on the edge of my seat, or caring about the characters, or needing to read more.

Rating: 4/5


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2 responses to “Review – The City & The City

  1. Haha, this has to be the most lukewarm review I’ve read in months. 😀 I started this book because we have it at home and my husband said it’s alright, but it was too “noir” for me and I don’t really do well with that. I might pick it up again someday but I’m not in a huge hurry. Have you read any other Mieville books? Are they any better?

    • Hmmm, I find Miéville really great for ideas, but lukewarm is a good way to describe the way I actually feel about them. They’re objectively good, you know? But not emotionally engaging. I think my favourite was Embassytown, maybe?

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