Once in awhile, through the library inbox, we get a particularly eloquent email about one of the many Advance Reading copies we send out. Recently, we raffled off a few galleys of China Mieville’s newest book, Embassytown, through our friends at “Unshelved” and got this great response from Paul W., which I am pleased to excerpt here:

There’s a whole new world. The Immer – a twisting, chaotic, unfathomable place which both exists outside the universe and serves as its foundation (and the permanent, unchanging foundation of countless universes before it) – is a fascinating new idea which turns out to be almost incidental to the book and its plot. That’s how much there is to spare.

At the same time, there’s a real plot, one which flows naturally, even gradually, yet which always seems to change directions just as you think you’ve gotten a handle on where things must go. More than once, I found myself surprised to see how many pages were left in the book, since it seemed like things were heading to climax or conclusion – only to find that it was all about to change, and that the book wasn’t about what I’d thought. That’s not a frustrating thing or a sign of poor craftsmanship – quite the opposite. It’s delightful, and it shows the amount of thought and planning that went into the book’s creation.

Although there’s more than one planet and more than one alien species around, always a reminder that there’s so much more of this universe to see and explore, the book focuses on one of each. It’s another unique and imaginative world… this time one created just so that the readers can watch as he utterly destroys it and then, surprisingly, remakes it into something new.

An "Unshelved" Reader's Review of EMBASSYTOWN

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