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The City & The City by China Mieville
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I've just finished reading The City & The City by China Mieville. It's a murder mystery, set in a fantasy city/city. I hesitate to use the word "fantasy" with "city" because that conjures up all the recent uuban werewolf/vampire thrillers or the Hunger Games city.

A murder mystery and so much more.

What I want is a book with an exotic setting, but not so exotic that I can't picture it in my mind. I want unusual characters with unusual names, but not so numerous and outrageous that I can neither pronounce them nor remember them. City & City has three main characters: Borlu, Corwi, and Dhatt. Borlu is a human hero in the truest sense of the word.

I want intelligent writing with extensive, imaginative vocabulary. I am mortally tired of the 8th grade level self-published pablum, rife with grammar and punctuation errors, larded with words gleaned from the thesaurus, used in the wrong context. Mieville has a vocabulary to thrill the word lover's heart.

The plot should be complex but not convoluted to the point of opaque incomprehensibility, and the ending satisfying (I don't know how to say it--all issues don't need to be resolved, if there will be more in the series, but the reader needs to feel a sense that this episode is closed.)

And personally I like characters I can applaud, cheer for, and admire for their intrepid, intelligent, compassionate, couragous behaviors.

The City & The City has all of the above. Highly recommended.

As you might have guessed.

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