Next on my quest to aquaint myself with some modern fantasy and SF (my last effort was Stardust by Neil Gaiman), I tackled this volume with some trepidation. Between three and four times the length of the books I normally read these days I was quite intimidated. To devote so much time to just one book, I hoped that it would be worth it. It had better not be another example of the bloated stories that are so prevelant these days.
I was pleasantly suprised. I felt drawn into the complex and rich world that he went to such pains to paint for the reader. Early on in particular the pace of the story is slow in order that he might imbue the city of New Crobuzon with depth and character but just pulled short of being tedious. A fairy large cast of characters was introduced gradually so as not to overwhelm the reader, giving you a chance to become aquainted with each.
This book is packed with imaginative ideas and concepts. He avoids the usual fantasy chiches and stereotypes, cares not for genre bounderies straying often into SF and horror. I almost feel like he's trying to cram too
much into a single story and perhaps it could have been a bit shorter if he had not tried to be so ambitious. Sometimes, less is more. But generally I think he pulls it off.
He's obviously a very talented guy and I shall probably read some more of his work at some point. Just falls a little short of being a masterpiece.