Miéville’s work is never easy for me — I always have to work for it — so I get a little contemptuous of people who just read fifty pages and give up, even though I do that plenty with other books. I always have to give Miéville plenty of leeway: he gets to a place where he blows my mind in the end, but it might take half the book before I’m starting to see it.
So it was with Embassytown, and not helped by the fact that I’m in a bit of a depressed phase at the moment and everything is Too Much Effort. But I got there eventually, and when I did, I didn’t want to put the book down for a second. I stayed up to finish it, last night, and felt breathlessly excited at the twists and turns.
I can understand the criticisms that there aren’t really any well-defined/sympathetic/unique characters (maybe if there’d been more of Spanish Dancer?), but in Miéville’s work there’s always plenty that makes up for it, for me. His cities are pretty much characters, both a collection of separate organisms and an organism in themselves, and his world-building is second to very, very few. I loved the concept of Language, and the way it became language. I just. Flail.