When reading any book by China Miéville, I find that I have one of two reactions. Either I struggle for a good few chapters at the beginning, unable to grasp on to the writing and ideas until suddenly I get hit by this recognition that this book may in fact be an absolute masterpiece, after which I cannot stop reading as I continue to be blown away by his prose, his uniqueness, his incredible story (Embassytown is a good example of this). Or: The book is easy to read, quick moving lightly written prose (but still with his trademark vocabulary and alliterations) but
I can't stop thinking "I've read this before". Unfortunately this was the reaction I had to Kraken.
I haven't actually checked publication dates to see where Kraken lies in relation to the soon-to-be-mentioned books by other authors, so I don't know how much is coincidence, homage or almost-fan-fiction. All I know is that while reading Kraken, I couldn't stop thinking of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere Two ancient killers that everyone is scared of, who work for the "main bad guy" but also just do whatever they want in incrasingly sadistic ways; A somewhat unassuming protagonist who gets drawn into a "secret" London that includes sort of magic.
or American Gods Gods all live amongst us and there is going to be an apocalypse
or other books that I just couldn't quite place but knew there were similarities to.
This feeling of unoriginality doesn't extend to the whole book, and doesn't mean it is a bad or uninteresting read. Come one - any decently written book about a squid cult that culminates in a fight with the ocean and a nearly-apocalypse is going to be worth reading at least once. I just feel as though there are two Miéville's. This one I like a lot less than the Embassytown or Railsea one.