I will start by saying that I love the way Mieville writes his books. He has an excellent command of the English language, in my opinion. And this is shown in some parts of this book, where, while his sentences are syntactically correct, those phrases do not make sense but make sense in the context of the book. Even if I tried to explain this with an excerpt, unless you have read the book, it is difficult to see.
China Mieville is one of the writers of the so-called "New Weird". In this book he literally catapults the reader into a never-seen London, called Heresiopolis, because of the various cults that live there, because of the magic and magic knacks, because of the creatures, like familiars that live there. A London, unnoticed by most people, a London, that "normal" people do not even know exists; but a very real, weird, different, and inhabited by all sorts of people and creatures, London. All sorts of cults and churches live in this London, in Heresiopolis. Cults that worship animal gods or unseen gods; cults as diverse as Cthulhu cults and Krakenists, or Chaos Nazis, and various Christian sects.
But also individuals live in Heresiopolis. Some that are evil, like Goss and Subby, or some that say they are neutral, like the Londonmancers. Some that have criminal empires like the Tattoo...
Goss and fucking Subby! What a pair of wonderfully weird and evil characters. Those two are probably one of the highlights of the book. I was not as impressed with Dane or the Londonmancers as I was with Billy Harrow and Goss and fucking Subby! Collingswood and the FSRC did not feature as much as I would like to, but I don't think there was room for stories from the FSRC. Maybe Mieville will write a few short stories about them in the future.
And I have to mention Wati and his union of familiars. Wati is one of the most likeable characters of the book, and the idea of a union of familiars is one of those weirdly humourous ideas that Mieville has. The picketing by cats and dogs, the birds doing picket lines in the sky, and all the familiars on strike was really entertaining in the book, and it was beautifully made into a part of the story.
I loved the whole story and its progression, and how it all went down, up until the end. The ending was not what I expected, and it was a bit anticlimatic, after Billy Harrow goes back to the Darwin Centre, and confronts Vardy. That part was the one that I thought was anti-climatic. Or maybe it's because I dislike creationists, and what they stand for.
All in all, this is a book I immensely enjoyed, and would recommend.