Genre: Fantasy, Science-Fiction, Crime
No. Pages: 373
Beszel and Ul Qoma are two cities which are both separate and connected. Despite having distinct languages and customs, they share the same streets in the cross-hatched areas of the cities. There is no physical barrier dividing the two – the citizens of each city are taught to ‘unsee’ what is not in their own city. Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad in Beszel is investigating what should have been a routine murder investigation but it soon becomes clear that it’s not quite so straight-forward.
I read Miéville’s Un Lun Dun years ago when I was younger and I absolutely loved it. The sheer level of imagination used within that book was enough to keep me hooked the entire way through. So I had high hopes when it came to The City & The City.
I was left feeling disappointed after finishing The City & The City but not with Miéville’s level of creativity which remained as captivating as ever. I thought the idea behind the story of two cities being connected in such a way was really original. It is detailed and developed well and I found all of my questions about the premise answered by the end of the book. Also, the language used wasn’t extravagant or trying to be more than it was. It was simple and to the point, reflecting the logical nature of the progression of the plot.
However, the story line was not something which got me hooked. I wasn’t surprised when the murderer was revealed and if anything, it was a bit predictable. It was the setting more than the story itself which resonated with me and I would recommend this book based on that alone.
Have you read The City & The City? What did you think of it? 🙂