Review: The City & The City by China Miéville

In The City & The City Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad in the Eastern European city of Beszel investigates the murder of a young woman. As he tries to solve the case evidence points him towards the only city as strange as his own, Ul Qoma, and to a far bigger conspiracy than he could have imagined.


This book wasn’t exactly my typical read, but it really fascinated me. Besides, I was supposed to read it like a year ago and didn’t, so I thought it was time I took care of that.

The concept of the two cities and their parallel existence in the same area was really interesting, and the cross-city murder case was an interesting way of illustrating the idea of these cities and what it means for the people who live in them.

Much as I enjoyed the actual plot of the story, I have to say I never fully enjoyed the characters. They seemed a little flat, and I never managed to fully connect with them. Borlú himself was maybe the only one who felt like a fully developed character, but even he was somewhat lacking. It’s hard to describe it, and I’m not fully sure I can even put my finger on what’s really bothering me, but the characters could have been developed better in my opinion.

The world was a little weird, and fantastic, which I actually loved, because it was so fascinating to read about. At the same time Miéville managed to make me feel satisfied with what I know about this world.  Fascinating as it is,  I don’t feel like I really want to know more about it. There’s no real mystery anymore, no question that makes me think i really need it answered. It’s kind of nice to see once in a while, when so many worlds make me want to crave more.

Overall The City & the City  is a decent book, if not a great one. It has some weaknesses in character building but the world building is strong and the plot is interesting, even if it held little surprises.

Rating: ★★★1/2☆☆ (3 1/2 Stars)

Additional Information


Publication Date: 6 May 2011
Publisher: Pan Books
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 373
Genre: Science Fiction, Mystery, Crime Fiction
ISBN: 9780330534192


When the body of a murdered woman is found in the extraordinary, decaying city of Beszel, somewhere at the edge of Europe, it looks like a routine case for Inspector Tyador Borlú of the Extreme Crime Squad. But as he probes, the evidence begins to point to conspiracies far stranger, and more deadly, than anything he could have imagined. Soon his work puts him and those he cares for in danger. Borlú must travel to the only metropolis on Earth as strange as his own, across a border like no other.



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