Last week I finally, finally finished reading Perdido Street Station. It took me a full six months to get through that book, and I wanted the world to know what I thought about it. I rolled up my sleeves put my fingers to the keys and began typing. At about 1,500 words I noticed a speck of dust on my brand new laptop. As I was innocently brushing it off, I must have hit some key combination, or clicked a button that then caused the WordPress editor to refresh. I lost the whole review. Every word. No auto-saves. (All the writers reading this are cringing and hearing phantom screams of “NOOOOOOO!” echoing through their heads right now.) In any case, I decided that for a book that I really didn’t enjoy that much, it wasn’t worth my time to spend another two hours recalling what I had written to recreate the post that I’d lost, so here’s the tl;dr version of the review of a book that, in hindsight, I really wish I’d marked as tl;dr at the 300 page point:
– Very imaginative, rich world to explore. Everything feels very tangible.
– Many interesting concepts and world building details.
– The Weaver.
– Lemuel Pigeon.
– 600 pages and only half felt like actual story.
– 250 pages in and the plot finally starts.
– The majority of the characters are bland and uninteresting.
– Two of the three main antagonists are completely unnecessary.
– Tangents, tangents, tangents.
– Emotion bled out of scenes that are reported retroactively.
– Fleetingly interesting characters are never heard from again.
– Several pages of lengthy description that could be (and eventually were) skipped with no detriment to story comprehension.
– The death of Lemuel Pigeon.
– 25 pages of describing laying cables.
– Deus ex Remade.
– Lin and her entire story arc.
– The terribly anticlimactic monster reveal.
– The terribly anticlimactic ending.
– The unresolved Construct Council conflict.
– The unresolved Motley conflict.
– The unresolved Militia conflict.
– The unresolved Yagharek conflict.
– The clumsy inclusion of the dock workers conflict.
In the end, the whole reason why I didn’t just give up on this book was that the writing is pretty good. Is it worth the slog? I don’t know. It depends on what you look for in a book. If deep, rich worlds full of creativity and diversity are your thing, then yeah, this book will probably do it for you. If you prefer characters and tidy plots, then this book is almost guaranteed to frustrate you.
The next book on my reading list is Thomas the Rhymer by Ellen Kushner.