I just finished Perdido Street Station by China Mieville, which I read because it was supposed to be an example of the “fantasy steampunk” genre, although it turned out to be more in the “Lovecraftian horror” genre.
Mieville’s writing is incredibly detailed and imaginative, and he’s pretty creative with his vocabulary, too. In other words, I was using the Kindle’s dictionary feature quite a lot. It wasn’t quite pretentious, but it seemed a tad unnecessary at times.
My biggest (and only) complaint with the book is that I couldn’t connect with anything in it. I didn’t form any emotional bonds with the characters, and, in fact, actively disliked the whiny, inept protagonist Isaac. And the world of Bas-Lag is not pleasant. The fictional steampunkish city of New Crobuzon where this book takes place is an appalling toxic stew of industrial urban ickiness, with Lovecraftian-style monsters, magical creatures, Frankensteinian constructions, and bizarre aliens lurking everywhere. It’s not the sort of place I’d want to visit.
So I don’t think I’ll be reading any more in the Bas-Lag series. It’s a well-crafted book, and nothing like anything I’ve read before, but it just didn’t resonate with me.