Soundbite Sunday – Embassytown

October 5, 2014 Audiobook, Fiction, Review, Science Fiction 8 ★★★★

Soundbite Sunday – EmbassytownTitle: Embassytown
Author: China Mieville
Links: Bookshop (affiliate link) |Goodreads


Like Mieville’s The City and the City, the world building in Embassytown blew me away. It was a bit hard to follow as an audiobook because the world was complex and there was no exposition, but I loved how the author slowly revealed the world as the plot unfolded. The plot itself took a bit of a backseat (inevitable, perhaps, with world building this good) . I was interested in finding out what happened, but I was far less engaged towards the more action-packed ending than I was at the beginning, when I couldn’t wait to piece together more about the world the author created.

Also like The City and the City, Mieville doesn’t do much explaining of why things are the way they are, but in this case, that was a good thing. The alien race he creates seems to be in some ways beyond human comprehension and I love that. Even alien races who aren’t described as being humanoid so often act like people. In reality, I think aliens would be more likely to resemble the ciphers Mieville creates. I liked the focus on the power of language in the story, which was strengthened by the author’s incredible use of language to tell the story. I thought he invented believable slang and wrote amazing, vivid descriptions by using words in very unique ways. I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone looking for an action-packed plot, but would highly recommend it (as a physical book especially) to anyone looking for beautiful writing and superb world building.

8 Responses to “Soundbite Sunday – Embassytown”

  1. Tanya Patrice

    If you had read the print copy, it would still have been a bit difficult to follow along at first. I couldn’t get into this one at all. Too much going on, too complicated and too … weird.

  2. Trisha

    I loved The City and The City, and I have this one on the shelves; I just haven’t picked it up yet. I need to because it sounds awesome.

    • DoingDewey

      It is maybe a little bit creepy, mostly because it’s so alien. The world the author creates is interesting and detailed and I am in awe of his ability to imagine something so different from reality.

  3. Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness)

    You had me at “beautiful writing and superb world building”! I loved The City and the City but I haven’t picked this one up yet. I feel like I’m sort of saving it because I’m so excited to read it.

    • DoingDewey

      In that case, I’m pretty sure you’ll love this one! Honestly, both this book and The City and The City were almost five star reads for me just because of the beautiful writing, but in both cases, the plot felt like such a let down compared to writing and the world building, that they each left me feeling a little unsatisfied. I think I’d still like to read more by this author though, in hopes that one of his plots will really grab me, because I love everything else.

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