Anyone who’s read this site over the last few years knows of the high esteem in which China Miéville is held around here. I think he’s probably the most important . China Miéville’s Bas Lag series is somewhat unique in the realm of fantasy literature in that it keeps me coming back for more over and over. Following Perdido Street Station and The Scar, acclaimed author China Miéville returns with his hugely anticipated Del Rey hardcover debut. With a fresh and.

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Wink the Astrokitty drawn by Matt Olson. I think he’s probably the most important new fantasy writer of the new century, and his novels Perdido Street Station and The Scar are masterful exercises of the imagination that will go down as classics.

So it’s with an almost physical sense of pain that I must pronounce Iron Council the Crushing Disappointment of My fears seem to have been borne chins. Its characters inspire little sympathy and the story, while it does tackle the weighty subject of the potential fall of the city-state of New Crobuzon itself, is nonetheless aloof for much of its length.

Whereas Perdido and The Scar were genuinely haunting and eye-opening epics that broke new ground, Iron Council just feels like one of those overstuffed mega-budget Hollywood blockbusters that’s all special effects and no heart. Do I also think geniuses are fallible mortals like the rest of us?

Bookslut | Iron Council by China Mieville

The story this time is set around 25 years or so after the events in the previous two volumes. But Iron Councilwhile it is coumcil stand-alone story like its predecessors, will almost certainly be inaccessible to new readers who haven’t read those books. It literally takes about pages for this book to get interesting, which is something I’m much more used to saying about Terry Goodkind.


We begin at a time when turmoil is the order of the day in New Crobuzon. A war — and no one is sure how it started — has broken out with a neighboring city-state called Tesh, and it effects are coujcil out into the countryside surrounding New Crobuzon.

Meanwhile, economic strife in the city is fomenting dissatisfaction among its mercantile class that is a hair’s breadth away from turning into outright revolution.

Within the city, a disenchanted playwright named Ori Cuiraz is growing sick and tired of the “all talk no action” policy that the Caucus, a loose group of merchants opposed to the government, seems intent dhina following.

Ori seeks out a popular rebel figure named Toro, who, word has it, actually plans to assassinate New Crobuzon’s mayor, and toward this end meets up with a curious tramp named Spiral Jack, once a follower of another legendary rebel hero.

Now the survivors of the rebellion roam the distant landscape on the train they hijacked, which has now mushroomed into a little city all its own. If the Iron Council is found and can be persuaded to return to New Crobuzon, it is believed, it would be a triumphant boost to the morale of the rebel forces in the city, a sign that it is truly possible to fight against corrupt leadership and win.

Iron Council by China Mieville

Judah Low was with the Iron Council at its inception, and holds out hope cojncil can win them over. The backstory of the Iron Council, which is also the backstory of Jieville Low, is the book’s most compelling sequence, and one that at its best moments lives up to the achievements of The Scar. But nothing that comes after in the book lives up to it. You might have noticed plot elements in the synopsis up to now that would seem to be commentary on numerous real-world events, both current and historical.


Iron Council – Mieville China

But any relationship between New Crobuzon’s war with Tesh and American military misadventures like the war in Iraq or the “War on Terror” is probably coincidental although Tesh is rumored to have some weapons conucil magical destruction up its sleeve.

But he’s also never been one to bore the daylights out of readers with tedious, drawn-out battle scenes that lack strong protagonists you can root for, either.

In fact I barely noticed at one point when one major character died. I couldn’t really buy that the Iron Council would still, after all these years, be thought of by New Crobuzon’s government as such a threat that the city would continue to send militia thousands of miles across the landscape to hunt them down — especially at a time when New Crobuzon is having to deal with both civil insurrection and war with a neighbor.