The City & The City

By China Mieville

I read this book on a recommendation from a friend, and I was really into about the first two thirds. The narrative throws you into the deep end with aggressive worldbuilding reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange, and it expects you to keep up with a multi-layered mystery that had me speed reading to get to the next clue.

But then, it sort of just fizzles. With the book’s big reveal (spoilers!) that the secret world we’ve been chasing is either just dressed-up-capitalism or dressed-up-bureaucracy, it felt like the author didn’t know or didn’t care what happened to our characters, and the book just wanted itself to end. Especially having just read Yiddish Policeman’s Union, with its near perfect execution of a cop solving a murder mystery, I felt like this book’s conclusion fell flat. I think I would still recommend it for the first two thirds alone, but it isn’t in the running for my favorite book of the year.