This is my favorite of Mieville's work. The story is enchanting, yet topical, and beautifully written. One of the few books my DH and I agree on. Can be read alone, but reading Perdido Street Station helps to define the races of characters, locations, etc.
Lot's of people recommended the book but I couldn't get through it.
I had eagerly anticipated reading Mieville's latest - but while I certainly enjoyed returning to the world of New Crobuzon, I have to admit that I did not like this book nearly as much as either 'The Scar' or 'Perdido Street Station.' Of course, I love both of those books, so my expectations for this one were very high. Still, I felt that the concepts in this book overwhelmed the story - the characters and events were secondary to Mieville's thoughts about repressive societies, social economics, the motivations of revolutionaries and seditionists, crime and punishment, the destructive cost of 'progress' etc. Not that these are not interesting topics - and admittedly, his other novels may also be more about milieu than about character.... but I just didn't get into this one as much.
The setting of this story is conceptually interesting - a train, which is taken over in a workers' revolt, and which becomes an itinerant legend, laying tracks before itself and taking them up afterward... Meanwhile, seditionists in New Crobuzon ready for revolt...
This would be a good candidate for a book club discussion - there are a lot of political parallels, a lot of comments on human nature... a lot of ideas.
I'd definitely recommend it - but only to those who have already read The Scar' or 'Perdido Street Station.'