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King Rat

Miéville, China (Book - 1999 )
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
King Rat
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Item Details

A London man is enrolled by the King of Rats to assassinate the Pied Piper of Hamelin who dethroned him. The man is Saul, whose rat mother joined humanity, making him immune to the piper's call. In his rat persona Saul eats garbage and climbs walls.
Authors: Miéville, China
Title: King Rat
Publisher: New York : Tor, [1999], c1998
Edition: 1st Tor ed
Characteristics: 318 p. ;,22 cm
Statement of Responsibility: China Miéville
Notes: "A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Summary: A London man is enrolled by the King of Rats to assassinate the Pied Piper of Hamelin who dethroned him. The man is Saul, whose rat mother joined humanity, making him immune to the piper's call. In his rat persona Saul eats garbage and climbs walls.
ISBN: 9780312890735
0312890737
9780312890728
Branch Call Number: FICTION MIEVILLE
Subject Headings: Rats Fiction Revenge Fiction Young men Fiction Pied Piper of Hamelin (Legendary character) Fiction
Genre/Form: Bildungsromans
Fantasy fiction
Topical Term: Rats
Revenge
Young men
Pied Piper of Hamelin (Legendary character)
LCCN: 99026657
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Opinion

From Library Staff

No list of left-leaning sci fi entertainment would be complete without at least one China Miéville novel. While none of this author’s inventive, heart-stoppingly well-written, varied novels are ringers for Elysium, his King Rat features a young male protagonist faced with harrowing danger.


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Aug 18, 2012
  • shelleysf rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

King Rat was Mieville's first book, and perhaps will be most interesting to readers already familiar with his later work. The concept and plot are both simple, almost embarrasingly so: it's the Pied Piper versus the half-rat heir to the throne of King Rat, played out in late-90s London to the tune of Drum n' Bass. It's a cousin of Jeff Noon's Vurt, playing out a ubiquitous folk tale in the context of a particular underground music scene in London. Although the hook is a bit too easy, it is interesting to see Mieville writing about his favorite theme: the secret cities that exist inside of the apparent urban landscape of London.

May 18, 2011
  • Danny007 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

This was great. Full of a rich tapestry of sci fi ideas.

Jun 29, 2010
  • div_dbrl rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This book was quite good, quite entertaining, but occasionally a little bewildering, as well. For his first novel, it seems like Mieville was holding back quite a bit, and the results tend to be uneven.

"King Rat" wanders a bit from action sequences to philosophical considerations of Drum and Bass music, and never completely finds its footing. The characters, in particular, feel a bit weak. Saul, the protagonist, is very well developed, and King Rat is also solid, but Saul's friends and the villain all seem a bit cardboard. The style of the writing is so good that you really expect more.

"King Rat" also presents the standard "young man finds out his humdrum origins were a lie and he's actually a prince / messiah / Jedi / child wizard" with a darker twist than most. All in all, it's a solid effort, but it feels like something is lacking. It's really good, but it's not great.

The biggest problem may simply be that his next book, "Perdido Street Station," was flawless. He went all-out, inventing an entirely new world full of rich characters and a fully developed cultural and physical geography... "King Rat" ends up feeling like a rough draft of a much better novel. This isn't to say that "King Rat" isn't worth reading, but that "Perdido Street Station" is a classic. Either way, I look forward to reading more from Mr. Mieville in the future.

Dec 10, 2009
  • kwsmith rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Mieville turns London upside down, creating a unique alter-world filled with inspired invention. Mieville's writing style is dangerously creative but carries over the top at times.

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