Iron Council


I’ve been talking too much about TV lately. Time to get more literate and show off about how I do actually read books from time to time.

Right now I’m gleefully ensconced in this.

Iron Council by China Mieville

Why did I avoid this novel for so long? Aside from my obsession with reading mass market paperbacks, that is, a format in which China Mieville’s Iron Council was never actually released in this country. It wasn’t until I bought an import version, the Pan UK 2005 one (thank you Book Depository), that I actually had it on my shelves.

Still, it remained unread for an extended period of time, constantly overlooked in favor of Richard Morgan, Alastair Reynolds and Neal Asher. I think I know the real reason why, though.

Essentially, I was afraid to be disappointed. Perdido Street Station was a work of such shining, astonishing, dark beauty that reading it was like falling into some sort of fantastical trance to me. It was that good. Words like jewels on every page, ideas and atmosphere that you could taste. Characters and story that made you jealous that you’d never come up with such brilliance yourself and still you wanted to mimic it. Pure genius as far as I’m concerned, an utter, absolute classic.

Then came The Scar which, after reading Perdido, I tracked down and devoured with relative quickness. Not as good, however, or, should I say, not as transcendent. Because it was actually an excellent follow-up and quite amazing in it’s own right. But not quite as giddy a read. Then, when Iron Council was released in hardcover and I began to seek it out, there came a smattering of somewhat indifferent reviews that I had the misfortune to happen across.

And the fear took me. China Mieville was going to be one of those authors who shot his wad early and would never reach the heights he’d done with his first works. Iron Council would mark a definite downward slide that would tarnish my memories of Perdido.

Christ, what an idiot I was. Y’know, sometimes, folks. Just sometimes. The reviews on Amazon are not the best place to seek out reliable information. Just saying.

Iron Council is magnificent. More absorbing, more dramatic, more fascinating than The Scar. Filled with original, intriguing characters and ideas that once again show us the monumental imagination we have before us that is China Mieville. The writing style that features such a unique brand of descriptiveness, such an original way of presenting a narrative, is all there in spades. This, plain and simple, is a master of wordcraft at work. Period.

Goes to show, my friends. Trust the talent. If there’s something you love don’t let anyone sway you otherwise.

China Mieville’s Iron Council, and all his works for that matter, are highly recommended.


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2 Responses to “Iron Council”

  1. Gonz Says:

    Because of your review, I’m going to give PSS another shot. I snagged both that and The Scar while on my rounds yesterday.

  2. Ken Socrates Says:

    I can’t imagine you being disappointed. If it’s wordiness that bothers you, just remember that many young authors are guilty of the same thing in their earliest works. The power of the ideas, the undeniable talent, are all in there. Iron Council shows him a bit more restrained, needing less to evoke that exquisite atmosphere that is utterly his own. He’s the goods, man. I swear, I’d kill nineteen people for an imagination like that.

    As long as they were all former members of Menudo, that is.

    Menudo must die!

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