Well, I’ve finished China Mieville’s breakthrough fantasy novel,
Perdido Street Station. I actually read it after reading the lackluster (and out of print) Factoring Humanity, by Robert Sawyer.
What did I think of Perdido? Well, the denouement was a little bit of a downer and disappointment to me but the world building was absolutely breathtaking. The city comes alive in his words, a quasi Victorian fantasy megaopolis which seems to owe much to London and third world metropolises, with a lot of different species sharing space. Intelligent cacti! Weird half insect-half human bipeds! The depth and breath of the denizens is often suggested, seen in glimpses, intimated. The magic systems tend toward the quasi-scientific, the rigorous, in line with the 19th century sort of steampunk feel that the rest of the city has.
The characters are quirky and interesting, never devolving into stereotypes or one line notes, either, although one major character’s storyline feels a bit off, I think, he is so alien that China doesn’t quite pull off getting us to understand the universe of the Garuda and their ethos, and how the character violated it. But aside from those quibbles, the universe of Perdido Street Station is dark, huge, complex and very much well worth your time visiting.