King Rat by China Mieville

King RatKing Rat by China Miéville
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A clever revisionist vision of the Pied Piper story. It reminds me of John Gardner’s retelling of Beowulf through the eyes of the monster, Grendel. It makes me wonder what makes Gardner’s novel Grendel “literary” and this novel “fantasy”? I’m sure it’s a question Mieville himself would ask in his quest to abolish genre as a rigid category.

Mieville’s such a unique visionary. At the same time, this novel reads like a superhero novel that begs a sequel.

Still, it’s brilliantly done.

‘Nuff said.


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2 thoughts on “King Rat by China Mieville

  1. Todd, I’ve heard of KING RAT but never read it. Putting it on my list. Any chance you read Bill Willingham’s FABLES series? His FABLES novel, PETER & MAX, was a favorite for me a couple of years ago and also takes the Pied Piper story and turns it on its ear. Not like this one, of course, but classics inspire retellings. 🙂

  2. Keith,
    I haven’t read Willingham, but will have to check him out. Mieville is a relatively new discovery for me. Love his Hugo-winning the City & the City, a noir detective story with a string-theory twist.

    Anyhow, as far as the Piper goes, I only remember vague images of pencil drawings of a fey feather-in-the-cap piper and dancing, happy rats.

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