Saturday, September 14, 2013

Iron Council

Iron Council by China Miéville 
Random House, 2005
Trade Paperback, 576 pages
ISBN-13: 9780345458421

Following Perdido Street Station and The Scar, acclaimed author China Miéville returns.... to the decadent squalor of New Crobuzon—this time, decades later.
It is a time of wars and revolutions, conflict and intrigue. New Crobuzon is being ripped apart from without and within. War with the shadowy city-state of Tesh and rioting on the streets at home are pushing the teeming city to the brink. A mysterious masked figure spurs strange rebellion, while treachery and violence incubate in unexpected places.
In desperation, a small group of renegades escapes from the city and crosses strange and alien continents in the search for a lost hope.
In the blood and violence of New Crobuzon’s most dangerous hour, there are whispers. It is the time of the iron council. . . .
The bold originality that broke Miéville out as a new force of the genre is here once more in Iron Council: the voluminous, lyrical novel that is destined to seal his reputation as perhaps the edgiest mythmaker of the day.
My Thoughts: 

Iron Council by China Miéville is set in New Crobuzon, the  city-state on Bas-Lag, the mythical world he created in previous novels (Perdido Street Station, The Scar). Reading Perdido Street Station before Iron Council is highly recommended because it will give you the insight you need into the complex population of Bas-Lag and New Crobuzon. This is considered the third book in his series of novels in this world.

The political atmosphere is exceptionally charged in Iron Council and that is the crux of this novel, although there are certainly other plot elements pulled into the mix. This is, perhaps, the most socialist of Miéville's novels. The Iron Council is a train with crew and passengers that was expelled from the city years ago. Since that time it has stayed hidden from the militia who seek it. But now may be the time to call the Iron Council back.

After the lengthy background of the Iron Council is established, the political/social revolution is underway. But, of course, since this is Miéville it's not quite as simple as that. Prepare yourself for the previous insect and cactus races, along with all manner of golems, Remades, alchemy, magic, interdemensional travel, native races, and much, much more.

Certainly the writing is exceptional and the characterizations well developed and the descriptions are substantial.  This time around, however, Miéville throws so much into the mix that it became almost too much - something I never could have imagine typing before this. Am I glad I read it? Certainly! I was looking forward to it. But I could only recommend Iron Council to others who have read Perdido Street Station, The Scar and want to finish Miéville's three New Crobuzon novels.


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