This was kind of a new experience for me. I reread old favorites all the time, but how often do you get to reread new favorites? This is the first China Mieville I ever read (reviewed in 2014!), and I have now read everything he’s written, so I started over. This one is still my favorite.
The world-building is amazing. This man’s imagination is bonkers, and I’m so glad he shares it with the world. The characters are unlikeable but incredibly compelling, which is so tough to do. The writing is atmospheric and original. My writer dad is always complaining that China breaks all the writing rules, but makes it work anyway.
Bellis Coldwine is fleeing her city after mysterious circumstances have armed patrols on her trail. She hires herself out as an interpreter on a ship going to a new colony, planning to return home after things calm down. Instead, her ship and all its passengers and crew are taken by Armada, a floating pirate city. She tries to adjust to her new surroundings while piecing together Armada’s secrets and trying to come up with an escape plan.
The scale of this book amazes me. The story, the history, the absolute detail and lived-in-ness of the world. This is technically book two in the loosely-connected Bas Lag saga (but you totally don’t have to read the first one first), and I was so pleased to have more to explore when I was done.