Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Review: The Etched City

The Etched City by K.J. Bishop is a book I’ve been wanting to read for nearly four years. For some reason I just never picked it up. I let it linger in the back of my mind for some time and every once in awhile a remembrance would hit me; I’ve got to pick this book up.

Finally I pulled the trigger and I’m so glad I did. It ended up being one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. The Etched City is now one of my favorite novels of all-time and one I plan to reread at some point down the road.

Now on the back of the book there’s a quote from Publisher’s Weekly comparing The Etched City to Stephen King’s Dark Tower series and China Mieville’s Perdido Street Station, which to be blunt I think is ridiculous. The novel that K.J. Bishop has crafted in my mind doesn’t resemble either author’s work in the least. This work is much darker than Perdido Street Station and never as lubricious and incomprehensible as King’s Dark Tower series often becomes.

This book is a strange beast in that it is continuously morphing into something different and unexpected. It’s this metamorphosis the novel is constantly undergoing that is a true joy to read. Bishop manages to mix the darkest dalliances with such flights of fantastical whimsy that it is impossible not to gasp at her prowess as a story teller.

She also hits you when you least expect it with her writing. You’ll be reading along at a steady clip thoroughly enjoying yourself and then from nowhere you’ve just read some of the most profound passages of your life. This occurs more than once as Bishop’s insights into the human psyche is inestimable.

So please do yourselves a favor and pick this book. It is a work worthy of more attention.



  1. Your review is laden with big words, but you convinced me to give this book a try nevertheless. Cheers! :)

    Have you read her Engineer trilogy or her latest "The Company"?

  2. Hey Thrin! I read through the review again and you're right on about the big words, there was a lot of them. Guess I was in a particularly verbose mood. :)

    Glad you're going to give it a try I really hope you like it, for me it just clicked.

    Also the Engineer Trilogy and "The Company" were done by K.J. Parker. I made the same mistake myself. Seems to be a lot of "K.J." running around the Speculative Fiction Realm these days.

    I did in fact read "The Company" which I did enjoy.

  3. Wow, I'll put his on my "to buy in three months" list :)

  4. Hahahaha,thanks for the chuckle.

    It's definitely one for your library.

  5. K.J.Bishop vs. K.J Parker...yeah,my misteyka to meyka.