Review of 'Iron Council'

Iron Council by China Miéville

Continuing the story begun with Perdido Street Station, Iron Council is another story of the fantastic New Crobuzon and, in this case, the lands beyond.

Things are not going all that well for the citizens of New Crobuzon with a distant war being lost and an unresponsive parliament insurrection is imminent. This is a story of two parts: Of a man seeking to change things who joins up with the subversive elements of the city led by the mysterious “Toro” – A figure of awe and horror – Of rebellion. Many miles out of New Crobuzon a train is taken over by a belittled minority and, literally, leaves the tracks behind to roam unknown lands and attacked from all sides. Another young man seeks meaning to his life and finds it with the Iron Council or is it just his lover that compels him to follow?

Very likable and believable characters through, Miéville once again shows his skills as a writer. There is the, much reported, issue of the homosexual elements of the story but I found them not all that shocking – perhaps a bit overblown in terms of any sort of issue. These elements are very much an important aspect of the story.

I must admit I found it a bit difficult to get into this book with a fair number of characters and places with names that seemed to detract my attention a bit from the underlying story. Keeping with it the story builds up pace with the two stories, seemingly miles apart, eventually intimately intermingled with one another. I did not find it as easy to read as previous Crobuzon books but did find the truly astounding story as enthralling as all the rest if not even more so.

Another truly remarkable book from Miéville. I look forward to great anticipation to the next Miéville masterpiece.

Rating: “Really good but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2007-02-12

Genre: Science Fiction

Publisher: Macmillan

Publication Date: 2004

Other reviewed books by China Miéville: