Mieville's amazing world-building skills are displayed admirably in this excellent steampunk novel. Much of the book is set in the floating pirate city of Armada where a strange group of outcasts and prisoners have crafted their own unique civilization. Mieville makes Armada seem almost like a real city populated with a complex hierarchy of scheming political factions. The book's main theme, scars, is expertly woven throughout the characters, story, and setting. As always, Mieville's characters are strongly portrayed and are all very humanly flawed. The book drags slowly for the first hundred pages, but resolves itself brilliantly long before the last chapter.
Simply one of the best books I have ever read. A dark, twisted, gritty, vivid steampunk pirate fantasy story that is so much more than just an adventure. Politics, intrigue, linguistics, science, magic and war; this book encompasses all of this and more.
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