My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I had a love-hate thing with Kraken while I was reading it. I was pulled in immediately by the setting and the main character, and I'm always a little resentful when a storyline takes a whacking great left turn away from an opening I like. I have to say it's completely worth it here, though. This story got turned on its head so fast and so thoroughly that I never really got my equilibrium back throughout; vertigo was a perfect traveling companion for the story.
The violence and perpetual unmaking throughout the storyline is inventive and nauseating; at the same time it's a refreshing change from the torture porn of, oh, every other thriller. I can't remember the last time I read something so constantly innovative.
The real meat of Kraken is the language, which is downright erotic. China Mieville has the most lascivious attention to language I've ever encountered outside of poetry. He may not construct the most moving sentences, but he's turned on by words in the most incredible way. You can practically feel him licking them. The acrobatic sound of every single page was exhilarating. I had to look up over 60 words. That's a good book.