So, I just finished China Mieville’s much hyped Iron Council. Ehhh. He has such good ideas, such rich and vivid visuals and generally an intriguing setting – New Crobuzon has its ups and downs. But, dammit, I just didn’t care two hoots for ANY of the characters in Iron Council. The story flipped around too much and none of the characters were anything more that two dimensional, I felt. Just when you would start to get a feel for a character, he would switch to the other setting he was writing about. Just when you felt like a character was developing some depth, he would stop talking about them. It was a big tease, really. I found myself in the last thirty pages or so feeling like I really couldn’t care less if I finished it or not. I did, because I respect the craft, but I didn’t care about it. Just so damn disappointing. He’s suppossed to be good, but I haven’t loved any of his books. Perdido Street Station was great until the cheap deus-ex-machina ending. The Scar would have been a great idea, if Neal Stephenson hadn’t already written the same book with Snow Crash. And Iron Council, well, is he getting lazy, riding the coattails of his own success? I really want to care about the characters I read, but Cutter, Judah Low, Ann-Hari, Ori, Toro? They were all just…ehhhh.
The one line of the book that stuck with me was this, and I did think this was a powerful observation:
“You don’t get to chose what you remember.”
Did that make the book worth reading? No.
And now, I am on to Light by M. Scott Harrison. Another highly touted book and so far, 167 pages into it, I already care about the characters more than I did in Iron Council. The story hasn’t developed quite yet, but its coming.