What a ride! Mieville's style could be called obtuse, but I delight in his clever revision of syntax and colloquialisms: the pastiche of common usage and shorthand slang is intoxicating. The story will be familiar to many: Moby Dick, albeit in a dystopian future where the world has moved on from what the reader understands to..... Well, that is not answered until the conclusion. Sham ap Sorap is an engaging Ishmael on the rail-road sea, but with his own style and the same naiveté that made me wince in MD. The world Mieville creates is not easy to understand, the reader just has to go along for the ride--this particular fact might make the book a hard sell for my guys, but oh so worth it for the right kid. An example? Sham, our Ishmael, when kidnapped by rail pirates, dreams of a future for himself that eliminates the deprivations of imprisonment--the dreamy future he imagines for himself contains the entire plot of Robinson Crusoe! So read this book, love or hate it, but no chance of forgetting it.