Railsea by China Mieville

72%

22 Critic Reviews

Every sentence is packed with wit, strange but appropriate neologisms, and jostling clusters of consonants that are there for no other reason than sheer delight in language.
-Guardian

Synopsis

“Other names besides [Herman] Melville’s will surely come to mind as you read this thrilling tale—there’s Dune’s Frank Herbert. . . . But in this, as in all of his works, Miéville has that special knack for evoking other writers even while making the story wholly his own.”—Los Angeles Times
 
On board the moletrain Medes, Sham Yes ap Soorap watches in awe as he witnesses his first moldywarpe hunt: the giant mole bursting from the earth, the harpoonists targeting their prey, the battle resulting in one’s death & the other’s glory. Spectacular as it is, Sham can’t shake the sense that there is more to life than the endless rails of the railsea—even if his captain thinks only of hunting the ivory-colored mole that took her arm years ago. But when they come across a wrecked train, Sham finds something—a series of pictures hinting at something, somewhere, that should be impossible—that leads to considerably more than he’d bargained for. Soon he’s hunted on all sides, by pirates, trainsfolk, monsters & salvage-scrabblers. & it might not be just Sham’s life that’s about to change. It could be the whole of the railsea.
 
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
“[Miéville] gives all readers a lot to dig into here, be it emotional drama, Godzilla-esque monster carnage, or the high adventure that comes only with riding the rails.”—USA Today
 
“Superb . . . massively imaginative.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“Riveting . . . a great adventure.”—NPR
 
“Wildly inventive . . . Every sentence is packed with wit.”—The Guardian (London)
 

About China Mieville

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China Miéville is the author of several books, including Perdido Street Station, The City & The City, and Kraken. His works have won the Hugo, the British Science Fiction Award (twice), the Arthur C. Clarke Award (three times) and the World Fantasy Award. He lives and works in London.From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published May 15, 2012 by Del Rey. 384 pages
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Children's Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Railsea
All: 22 | Positive: 16 | Negative: 6

Kirkus

Excellent
Jun 15 2012

Eye-bulging escapades tempered with invention and mordant wit, perfectly complemented by the author’s own pen-and-ink drawings of the Railsea’s weird denizens.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Tony Bradman on May 23 2012

Every sentence is packed with wit, strange but appropriate neologisms, and jostling clusters of consonants that are there for no other reason than sheer delight in language.

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NPR

Above average
Reviewed by Stephen Burt on May 10 2012

...a tale that you can also read as a meta-meditation on how to tell a story or build a world; as homage to Melville and Stevenson and other precursors, such as Daniel Defoe; or as a riveting ferronautical yarn.

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AV Club

Excellent
Reviewed by Jason Heller on May 14 2012

Miéville manages to weld a rich science-fiction concept to influences like Herman Melville and Robert Louis Stevenson (yes, there are pirates; how could there not be?), and the result is both brainy and thrilling.

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The Independent

Excellent
Reviewed by David Barnett on May 20 2012

Some of the finest writing, thinking and sheer joy is coming out of the SF/fantasy genre at the moment, especially in Britain, and Railsea is a very fine example indeed.

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USA Today

Excellent
Reviewed by Brian Truitt on May 16 2012

He gives all readers a lot to dig into here, be it emotional drama, Godzilla-esque monster carnage, or the high adventure that comes only with riding the rails.

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SF Site

Excellent
Reviewed by Christopher DeFilippis

Railsea not only works, it shines...an engaging, funny and thoroughly charming coming-of-age tale, and teens and adults alike will be rooting for that bloodstained boy, swept along the high rails as Sham finds friendship, danger, a hint of romance and -- ultimately -- himself.

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SF Site

Below average
Reviewed by Paul Kincaid

There's too much crowded into the pages for it all to make sense; and Miéville is so clearly in love with the whole fantasmagoria of the Railsea that when we eventually get to the end of the rails, as we must, what we find there is rather bathetic, as if he never quite knew what to put beyond the edge.

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Paste

Excellent
Reviewed by Curt Holman on May 31 2012

Fans of provocative fiction can hope that Mieville’s creativity can sustain such momentum as he builds a body of work that maps new possibilities for 21st-century fiction. All aboard!

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Los Angeles Review of Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Jessica Stites on May 25 2012

...part of the fun of this kind of speculative fiction is its slow, sneaking exposition. The mystery is implausibility; the reveal is how it all makes sense.

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io9

Excellent
Reviewed by Chris Hsiang on May 10 2012

There are tons of brilliant ideas and deep thoughts to be mined here but I never felt beaten over the head and shoulders with A Message...any reader who gets a giggle out of thinking will enjoy this very different old-fashioned Storybook.

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Geek Speak Magazine

Excellent
Reviewed by Geonn Cannon

While Miéville may have made this novel a little easier to understand for less mature readers, he by no means has dumbed himself down. It’s a beautiful book, and one I was reluctant to stop reading.

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Escape Pod

Below average
Reviewed by Josh Roseman on Jun 15 2012

... while the writing is as good as it’s ever been, there wasn’t anyone for me to latch onto & say “I want to keep reading because I want to know what happens to this person.”... I was so disinterested with the characters that I went off to read graphic novels just to cleanse my palate.

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SFRevu

Below average
Reviewed by Benjamin Wald

... this setting is neither as evocative nor as internally consistent as might have been hoped for. Combined with uninspiring characters and a creaky plot, this novel is a bit of a disappointment, especially coming from such a talented author.

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Fantasy Book Critic

Good
Reviewed by Sabine on Aug 10 2012

Like all of his novels, China Miéville’s beliefs are always present and that is what gives his writing such strength, power and poetry—whether you agree with him or not.

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The Wertzone

Good
Reviewed by Adam Whitehead on May 07 2012

...a well-written, compulsive page-turner and sees Mieville's imagination on top form. It's a book that works on multiple levels and is thoroughly rewarding.

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The Readventurer

Below average
Reviewed by Calie on Apr 06 2012

Once again, China Miéville delivers one of the most unique, imaginative worlds I’ve ever spent time in...The world-building is outstanding, the characters are well-constructed and interesting, and for about 60% of the book, the story is compelling.

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Book Monkey

Good
Reviewed by Emma on Jun 09 2012

Each character is so wonderfully written and so vividly brought to life, that I felt every possibly ounce of emotion for these people who felt nothing shy of friends to me.

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Violin in a Void

Good
Aug 30 2012

...a quintessential action-adventure novel about a daring journey of discovery and self-discovery. Out of the Mieville novels I’ve read, this is one of the most fun to read.

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Staffer's Book Review

Below average
Reviewed by Justin Landon on May 22 2012

Alas, Miéville is being too clever, or not clever enough. I never felt a thread of connectivity between the first chapter & the last.

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Looseleaf Leaflets

Below average
Reviewed by Kristy Stewart on Sep 28 2012

Although the setting was compelling, I found it difficult to read... largely because the main character, Sham, didn’t particularly interest me.

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Weir Tales

Good
Reviewed by Penny Schenk on May 13 2012

Railsea is a wild ride. Different aspects of it will appeal to a wide range of readers, and it will certainly merit multiple re-readings.

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Reader Rating for Railsea
81%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 216 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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