Mieville keeps me reading because he's so ingenious, but that's all. Publishers Weekly (quoted on the inside back cover) says he writes "dark, eccentric characters worthy of...Charles Dickens" which only goes to show how little Publisher's Weekly knows. There's more to being Dickensian than calling people things like Tanner Sack. Dickens people buck us up- even- perhaps especially- when they're horrible. Mrs Gamp entertains and engages us; Mr Sack doesn't; he's just a chap with tentacles who suffers humiliation. The floating pirate city of Armada is a wonderfully elaborate creation but it's like I'm viewing it from behind glass. I marvel, but I'm not drawn in. I don't want to get too closely involved. Will our charmless heroine escape from charmless Armada and return to her charmless home city of New Crobuzon? Frankly, I couldn't care less.