lørdag 20. mars 2010

On Perdido Street Station.

So, to escape the spam of text describing cafeterias and food shopping and fashion and what have you, I pick up a fantasy book.

That has more cafeteria, fashion, science, politics, drugs and food shopping than you can shake Alma at. Sigh...

Anyway, the book actually puts some fantasy back in the fantasy genre. Instead of being a sort of medieval world with some added myth, made up locations and some slightly deviant humanoids, most of it actually seem rather alien. It's also a little hard to sum up the plot.. The core of the book is about a group of people mixed up of scientists, artists, criminals and outcast who ends up with various dangerous or weird work assignments - like making a sculpture out of a ganglord, making a convicted birdman whose wings have been cut off be able to fly again, write articles for an anti-government newspaper and so on. However, a mixture of corrupt clerks and outsourcing state R&D to organised crime ends up making the main theme of the book more of a gothic horror book than anything - with creatures that are sorta vampiresque making a city of millions quaver in fear, and even asking the ambassador of Hell for help (for the right price, of course) leads to nothing. And thus, the mess begins.

The best bit about the book was the...flavour. How the city everything is going on in works (something between pratchett and cook, of all things), how the non-humans are (more inspired than just another fighty dwarf and shooty elf), to magic and how the "vampires" are (no more sparkly, thankfully). It ends up being hard NOT to imagine everything, the writing almost made it more movielike than a book. The characters were amazing, especially the interactions. Combined with how the story panned out, it must be impossible to not get gripped by some of the themes, and how some characters end up. The city is also way more alive, and more interesting than the run of the mill plains or gimmic culture things most places are in fantasy works.

But spare me all the overdone daily details! The book reminded me a lot about the second Millenium book - the first half was just a bunch of details and sloooooooooooooooooooooooooooow plot movements, leading me on to think "GET ON WITH IT ALREADY!" - it was a chore to get through, and during the second half it's impossible to actually put the book away even while cooking and such. I grew tired of this with Robert Jordan books that was often 800 pages of bla bla bla, and 100-200 pages of fun - but at least this book wasn't that bad. But I guess this just boils down to my taste...

Entertainment: 8/10.
Thought Provoking: 5/10.

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