Imagine London riddles with underground societies, religious sects, and political factions. Not that difficult, you say. Now imagine some of these worshipping giant squids, a figure talking through a tattoo on a man’s back, and the sea’s ambassador living in an ordinary house, communicating with messages in bottles. Yeah, it’s beginning to get weird. China Mièville’s feat in “Kraken” is introducing an absurd world in a believable way, so that the reader accepts knuckleheads, who really have a closed fist instead of a head and a character that inhabits statues and jumps between them. Add an apocalypse – or more, and a couple of mismatched heroes on a quest to stop them, and you have “Kraken”.
The starting point of “Kraken” lulled me into the fast-paced story unaware and the plot kaleidoscopes out from there. Several times, I closed the novel thinking “absurd, tsk!”, but ended up just having to read the next chapter.
What impressed me about “Kraken” is the thought behind all the different aspects in the novel. Everything is thought through, for example the mythology behind the krakenist sect or the Egyptian past of the character Wati. Actually, I would say, that “Kraken” is enjoyable as a weird novel and an intricate example of creative writing.
“Kraken” is not within my reading comfort zone, but it was a thrill comparable to the scary funhouse at a carneval.