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Very imaginative and fast-paced. A great summer read.
If it weren't for my having started to read Cloud Atlas, I may have given this 5 stars because it has pretty much all I want from a sci fi novel. Because of the way Railsea is told, I have to be very vague in my review. So I will point out some things I really enjoyed about the book. First, it's an actual novel; not part one of a ten book serial. As a sci fi fan, I kind of miss actual stories with a beginning, middle, and end where the writer isn't so shamelessly trying to get people to read the next book in the series. As I was getting to the end of the tracks, I felt something I haven't felt in a long time with a sci fi novel.. sadness that it's really ending.
I really enjoyed the worldbuilding of railsea. On the surface, a world full of rails sounds ridiculous, but it worked for me. The world of railsea is told from the point of view of a boy becoming a man. So the descriptions of this strange world is filtered through a kid's pov; especially the beginning. It's like Huck Finn in the sense that the reader knows more than the narrator; at least about some things. And the plot follows the same character for the bulk of the series without all the tedius side tracks I've come to expect with sci fi. And I know some people had problems with the 'asides' of the author during the story, but I personally enjoyed them.
A minor fault with the novel is that the descriptions are not as vivid as they could be. Part of it is because it's filtered through a kid/young man. And part of it is the language of railsea diverges somewhat from standard english, so some phrasing is kinda odd. Things like '&' being used instead of 'and' as well as the incessant double negatives. I had to reread more than a few sentences thinking, 'okay a negative times a negative is a positive, and so I guess this means...' I'm saying the wording is clunky, but so is the world of railsea. I'm not sure if the language of the novel was a net positive or a net negative. More than once, I had the thought that this may be a story that was better heard than read and although I'm not a fan of audio versions, in this case I think I'd suggest it.
Quite frankly, the above descriptions were picked at random - I was so bored that I couldn't get very far - as with all of Miéville's books - bored, bored, bored. I tried every book so far. Great imagination - and the most boring writing style I've ever experienced. I have read encyclopaedia, and they were far more thrilling.
I have Asperger's, and require no emotional involvement with the characters whatsoever, but these were just so far out in the land of 'couldn't care less', that it was unreadable.
Every one has been the same; lucky if I reach the end of the first chapter or two.
Such a wonderful style & story.
China Mieville just gets better and better. This is a take-off on Moby Dick, which I haven't read but have been around long enough to recognize big chunks of it. Mieville took it, twisted it, and made it hilarious and thought-provoking at the same time. HOW does he do that? Mieville doesn't do depth of character very well in my opinion (this might be a gender difference) but he is awesomely fantastic at world building, at language, at insight and thoughtfulness. I have been passing out copies to my friends, yay!
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Railsea by China Miéville |
Audiobook Download $ May 15, 2012 | 596 Minutes Buy ... Spectacular as it is, Sham can't shake the sense that there is more to life than the endless rails of the railsea—even if his captain thinks only of hunting the ivory-colored mole that took her arm years ago. But when they come across a wrecked train, Sham finds ...
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Listen to a sample or download Railsea (Unabridged) by China Miéville in iTunes. Read a description of this audiobook, customer reviews and more.
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