I put off reading it for a long time, simply because I didn't really know anything about it, and there were other books to read. It was one of the ones I finally bought with a pile of book tokens at Christmas.
I very nearly gave up on it right at the start. It begins:
Veldt to scrub to fields to farm to these first tumbling houses that rise from the earth. It has been night for a long time. The hovels that encrust the river's edge have grown like mushrooms around me in the dark.
We rock. We pitch in a deep current.
Behind me the man tugs uneasily at his rudder and the barge corrects. Light lurches as the latern swings. The man is afraid of me. I lean out from the prow of the small vessel across the darkly moving water.
And so on. It continues in that vein for quite a while, and I was fighting to stay awake. It's the end of chapter three before anything remotely interesting happens. Or, at least, anything that makes me want to find out more.
In contrast, chapter six begins:
New Crobuzon was a city unconvinced by gravity.
Now that's an opening sentence.
As for the rest of the book, once it gets going, the characters are certainly engaging, and it is, no question, hugely inventive. I felt that only one of the plot strands had any actual resolution, hence the dissatisfaction at the end, though. I'm sorry; I just like neat endings - but ones where the author's clever enough to write characters who can resolve things, rather than everything being 'pat'.
Anyway. The bloody thing weighed a ton, and it has far too much Donaldson in the prose for my liking. It's done with now, and I can move onto something else.