Nautical: It’s Monday, What Are You Reading

What I Read Last Week:
Kraken by China MievilleChina Mieville’s Kraken (speculative fiction, New Weird, apocalyptic) is dominating my reading.

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 by Ellie StraussSeaweed (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!

For more It’s Monday, What Are You Reading, visit Sheila at Book Journey and Kellee and Jen over at Teach Mentor Texts.

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10 Responses to Nautical: It’s Monday, What Are You Reading

  1. I admired the World created in Kraken, but didn’t “enjoy” the book at all. There was just so much – too much – going on, too … crazy.

  2. Linda Baie says:

    I don’t think I’ll be picking up Kraken any time soon-too many other good books to read. It isn’t mindless, but I just read One For The Murphys & it was a lovely story. I think anyone would like it. Thanks for telling also about the mer-book. Interesting. And-I have 1Q84 on my list too-that will be good! Thanks Katya!

  3. Heather says:

    Doomsday squid cult is an awesome idea. Too bad it isn’t being executed well.

  4. Hmmmm…..80% in? You are a trooper! I usually give a book about 100 pages…. connect with me or be gone! LOL

  5. Tara says:

    Kraken sounds like a book to avoid, for me…I second Linda’s suggestion for One for the Murphy’s – such a lovely, warms your heart sort of book.

  6. Lindsey says:

    Light and mindless sounds good at this moment! I accidentally lined up a few really long, intense books in a row.
    Have a great week!

  7. Earl says:

    As much as I thought I’d like 1Q84, I couldn’t even force myself to continue after a few chapters. I’d be interested in what you think of it since you seem to not give up on books so early on!

  8. I have not read any of the books you mentioned though I am on my way to Goodreads to check them all out. Thanks for introducing me to new books.

    Happy reading this week! :)

  9. Jennifer says:

    I hope you enjoy IQ84, I thought it was strange and fantastic! It seems you might need to read a bit of mindless palate cleansing materials before you start it though ;)

    Have a great week of reading!