Well, as I said, it may just be me with the problem with descriptions on this; but, while I could get a fairly clear idea of what Lin, for instance, looked like, there were nebulous, shadowed areas. She never became quite a concrete visualization
to me. Her personality
, on the other hand, was very well done -- and, thinking on it, this would reflect the khepri way of seeing life in some ways, as well -- so perhaps here it was deliberate. Yag also suffered from this slightly, but not quite as much as Lin. Overall with the sapient species, I'd say he does it quite well, but particular individuals
sometimes have a little less than I find helpful for getting that feeling of a character as an actual, physical presence, something with visual thickness, if you will.
As for my comments on the occasional slip in phrasing: I was speaking with my "critic's" cap on, so I'm more likely to note such things (I'm not sure I can read without that, anymore
). But, as I said, it's a very minor quibble and, I think, yes, the mark of a certain increased looseness I've seen develop over the last 30 years in proofreading and publishing (demand has something to do with that, I'm sure). And I already see a vast improvement over King Rat (which I would still recommend; flawed, but it has some magnificent stuff throughout); so I have no doubt Mieville continues to knock off the little bits and pieces that don't really work. That's part of learning the craft; a lifetime thing. I've already -- shortly after entering my thoughts here yesterday, in fact -- highly recommended the book to two people; both seem intrigued, to say the least.
As I said, it may be a while before I get to his next; I've got a backlog a mile long and three wide, but I look forward to trying them out when I get there. And again, I can't thank you folks for the recommendation enough. One final note: On Mieville as a writer as a whole: Even if I didn't like this at all, I think it would be impossible to not see here is one incredibly talented writer who deserves to be high on the list of best living in the field -- and just a darn good writer, period, in field or out.