Kraken - China Mieville This one's definitely getting filed under "weirdest books I've ever read". Even now I'm at a loss as to what to say about this book.

I had been interested in reading China Mieville for a long time, after hearing such great things about "Perdido Street Station" and "The City & The City" from my friends. To be fair, I was warned by people who have read "Kraken" that it is not like his other books, which made me wonder if it was such a good idea picking it for my first taste of Mieville. Even knowing what might be coming, it was still nothing like I expected.

"Kraken" basically follows Billy Harrow, a museum scientist at the Museum of Natural History in London. An expert on mollusks, Billy is also responsible for the preservation of a giant squid, one of the most popular exhibits. When the thing goes missing, Billy finds himself thrown into a side of London he never knew existed, a world full of magic, secret cults, doomsday theories and other supernatural creatures.

The first quarter of the book, arguably the most "normal" part, drew me into the story right away. It was afterward that things started spiraling out of control. But even as it gets increasingly abstract, it's in a way that's more Neil-Gaiman-type-whacky, which in and of itself is fine even if it's not really my thing. I'll even give this book a thumbs up, if for nothing else the entire chapter full of Star Trek references including a live Tribble and an actual working phaser gun.

The main problem for me was the prose that got more and more out of hand as the book droned on, killing the momentum completely. It's hard to get into the world and characters when you're continuously distracted by so much that is superfluous to the main story. In the end, I realized all I wanted to do was get the book over with, find out what happened, and move on. Couldn't wait to get done fast enough. Disappointing, since it had such a good start, such great ideas and such an interesting premise.

I don't think I would read something like this again. I hear, however, that the author has quite a varied writing style and it seems he is more straightforward in some books than others. I still have plans to give "The City & The City" a read, but only once I feel like I've gotten "Kraken" out of my system.