80% of the way through the book, I’m not sure if I like it or not. While I have a soft spot for weird (doomsday squid cults are definitely weird), I’m just not sure Kraken works for me as a story. I want a main character I can care about or root for or be fascinated by. Billy (museum curator turned fugitive and pickled-squid hunter) spends too much of of the book being shocked and confused. After 100 pages, I was ready for Billy to roll up his sleeves and get into the fray. Dane (a doomsday squid cultist turned renegade) is almost a parody of himself. The trio of police officers are a collective cliche. The most interesting characters in the book at the scary ones — Goss and Subby, the Tatoo.
Like Neil Gaiman, Mieville doesn’t shy away from occasional moments of creepy horror and cruelty — a character is brutally murdered by being folded into an origami crane. The description was graphic enough to give me nightmares. The time-traveling assassins-for-hire Goss and Subby remind me of Gaiman’s the Corinthian (Sandman) — they revel in their cruelty. While these moments certainly don’t dominate or define the book, at times I had to put Kraken down to get a break from it.
Seaweed (indie, paranormal romance, mermaids) by Ellie Strauss is a tween paranormal romance with merpeople. Light and fun, it was a good antidote to the creepy, dense, oddness of Kraken.
The setting wasn’t Disney-mermaid but a more realistic and gritty mermaid culture that I am sure I would have been drawn to as a tween. I liked it. It was cute. But I kept wishing it had a little more… I’m not sure what. Depth, maybe? Character growth and development? Entertaining but not quite engaging enough to rise above a ★★★☆☆ read. I’ll do a more thorough review later this week.
What’s on my TBR pile this week:
Obviously I am going to finish Kraken.
1Q84 (speculative fiction, magical realism) by Haruki Murakami is next on my TBR pile but I may want something light and mindless after I finish Kraken so I’m open to suggestions!