To me this book only went downhill from the sluggish start. In fact I was forced to skim read the book in order to actually finish.
The book tried so very hard to be dark and gritty and really only came across as trying. It was an awkward book, a mutated beast with bludgeoned tentacles. of course that was simply my experience with the book sadly after reading some rave reviews here on Goodreads.
It failed in my opinion, it didn't work for me. It felt crude, rather than polished and particularly rushed which I'm sure the author didn't intend it to be. Other authors I am certain could write a similar tale and be applauded by me for suspending my disbelief and weaving a magical tale. I'm sure some other people might find this a fascinating novel. But not me. There are simply far better books that can be gritty without being so rough.
Now I'm not personally a fan of using extreme obscenities and I hate it when authors use ones with strong religious affiliations. You wouldn't write something that aims to offend a particular minority group so why write something that's offensive from a religious perspective? However I'm not a person who will simply censor everything because it has a poor choice of words. This simply contained far too many of those words. And I mean a literal overdose.
Every page slowly becomes more and more filled with obscenity. Adjectives, nouns, maybe even pronouns. One or maybe the occasional word I can handle. But a book drenched in the words instantly causes my blood to boil. I consider it lazy writing and I know very few actual people who swear that much in reality. It is considered unacceptable when a writer uses any other word so repetitively right? If I wrote a story and every second sentence used the word 'but' the audience would soon grow tired. Why should swearing be any different? Not to mention it's lazy because instead of trying to craft a dark and gritty atmosphere with some skilfully chosen words the author simply throws in a few taboo words to give that illusion. But really its simply repetitive use of the same old connotations and so in his story the words come to mean literally nothing than a gap filler.
I stand by this quote from Franz Kafka (Conversations with Kafka) "Swearing destroys man's greatest creation - language. It is an insult to the soul and a murderous offence against grace. But so is any use of words without proper consideration. For to speak implies to consider and define. Words involve a decision between life and death."
And I find that both frustrating and sad. Miéville clearly possesses an elevated vocabulary visible in the opening few chapters. Yet then he went downhill for me in terms of language use and the plot. Of course this is all my own opinion and as I've said before reading a book is highly personal and subjective. It's just this book and I did not make good friends. That is all. If someone were however to direct me to a Miéville book without the twisted and insane plot I would devour it of course.