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Kraken - China Mieville You've all heard the anecdotes about the guy who sits down in a restaurant, plops a chunk of money on the table and says, "this is the tip; I'll be making deductions for every misstep!" What a jerk.Well, it's a bit how I approach novels. At page one, everyone has five stars (assuming the first line isn't "It was a dark and stormy night.")The Kraken lost one star a couple of chapters in when I thought "who does this guy think he is: Neil Gaiman?" Think of every derivative work slightly tweaking The Lord of the Rings and I think that's where we're headed with Gaiman's style. Mieville might be the start of it or just the first I've read.The Kraken lost its second star when I realized that Mieville is no Neil Gaiman. For all its quirk and dark oddity (Mieville might have an edge on Gaiman in creative profanity, I guess) the story doesn't contain its threads as well as it should. There are little weak links in the chain that aren't soldered in place by a concrete mythology; your disbelief falls through a rotted wood slab on a hastily constructed suspension bridge.The Kraken lost its third star for slighting characters it had gone through some effort in getting you to care about. I won't say more about it because I don't want to click the 'this review contains spoilers' box.Two stars and a suggestion that you read Mieville's The City and the City, which reminds me of no one else's work in style or plot and is well-formed and satisfying.