''Kraken'' is a novel arising from the twisted brainpan of ChinaMieville, author of PerdidoStreetStation and [[Literature/TheScar its]] [[Literature/IronCouncil sequels]]. It tells the story of Billy Harrow, a curator for the Natural History Museum whose work touring guests around one day is rudely interrupted by the inexplicable disappearance of the museum's preserved giant squid. From there, Billy's day only gets worse as he is drawn into a shadowy London underworld of competing doomsday cults, living tattoos, socialist familiars, and [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Chaos Nazis]].

Oh, and the squid? Turns out that half the city is thinking of using it to [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt end the world]]. Too bad they [[GambitPileup can't agree on]] ''[[ApocalypseHow how]]''...

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!!Tropes:

* AllMythsAreTrue: Takes a slightly postmodern or popcultural approach to this idea, but it's definitely there in the work.
* AnimatedTattoo: The Tattoo is just that--a tattoo. He's also a mob boss.
* OurAngelsAreDifferent: The 'angels of memory', guardians and embodiments of museums and other places of knowledge.
* AuthorAppeal: Mieville is back to writing in London, and it's clear that he's loving every minute of it.
** Also, given Mieville's [[{{UsefulNotes/Socialism}} political sympathies]], it's unsurprising that one of his characters is the leader of a union for familiars
* BadAss: Whilst a good number of characters [[TookALevelInBadass have]] [[LetsGetDangerous their]] [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome moments]], Dane is probably the most consistent example.
* BagOfHolding: a bit of knacking that lets a couple of full-grown men be smuggled in a package that could fit through a letterbox.
* BarrierWarrior: [[spoiler:Billy, once he realises exactly what sort of 'saint' he is.]]
* BlackAndGreyMorality: ''None'' of the factions in this are exactly saintly, but the bad guys... [[AxCrazy are]] [[PsychoForHire pretty bad]].
* BodyHorror: Another Mieville specialty. The Tattoo in particular seems to inflict it on his (mostly-willing) employees as a hobby.
* ChekhovMIA: [[spoiler:Grisamentum.]]
** Also [[spoiler: Vardy]]
* ClapYourHandsIfYouBelieve: Belief has a very significant impact on the world. The ''Architeuthis'' has power because it represents the kraken-gods. [[spoiler: When Grisamentum is trying to use its ink to rewrite the world, Billy manages to redefine the ''Architeuthis'' as being just a specimen, devoid of any link to a higher power.]]
* ClusterFBomb: Collingswood can't open her mouth without uttering half a dozen profanities.
* CoolAndUnusualPunishment: Billy tortured a little thimble of sentient ink [[spoiler: which really is a part of Grisamentum]] by using ''bleach''. Then Paul pissed on it.
* CreepyChild: Subby.
* DarkIsNotEvil: The apocalyptic, Lovecraftian cult of kraken-worshippers are actually pretty nice folks, by the standards of this book's BlackAndGreyMorality.
* TheDogBitesBack: [[spoiler:Paul.]] [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome And how]]!
* TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt: A recurrent theme. London's supernatural community runs betting pools and ''street parties'' in honour of various cults' prophesied apocalypses.
* EverythingsSquishierWithCephalopods
* FairCop: Officer Collingswood, the Metropolitan Police Department's resident witch.
* FakingTheDead: [[spoiler:Grisamentum, sort of.]]
* TheFundamentalist: Vardy used to be one. And apparently wishes he could be one again.
* GainaxEnding: And HOW.
* GambitPileup: ... Hoo boy.
* GreenLanternRing: Magic-users in the setting have 'knacks', fields of expertise like teleportation, surveillance, and so on that their powers are based around. More generalised knacks give you more versatile powers... and then there's Goss, with the knack of 'being an evil bastard'. Needless to say, he puts it to ''very'' good use.
* HalfHumanHybrid: the usual HumanMomNonhumanDad setup is averted (as might be expected of the author) when a photo of a pyromancer, his daughter and a large bonfire is recognised as a ''family photo''.
* HeartIsAnAwesomePower: [[spoiler:Billy is a saint of museum cabinets. This turns out to be [[BarrierWarrior very useful indeed]].]]
* HitmanWithAHeart: Despite being a self-admitted murderous fanatic seeking to bring about the apocalypse ([[ItMakesSenseInContext well, one of them]]), Dane Parnell is a remarkably decent chap, and one of the heroes' staunchest allies. [[BlackAndGreyMorality This should tell you everything you need to know about the story]].
* HumanoidAbomination: Goss. He can eat a fully dressed man, whole, in one bite, without distention or dislocating his jaw. Witnessess can't really describe what happens, only that the victim is just swallowed up.
* IAmAHumanitarian: Whether what Goss does to people really counts as eating or not is unclear... maybe he just vanishes them. He at least pretends to like the taste.
* ImplacableMan: Goss. [[spoiler:So long as [[SoulJar Subby's]] alive, anyway.]]
* ImpossiblyCompactFolding: a topologist with an interest in magic can fold up all sorts of things into tiny spaces, which can be unfolded later back into their complete form. [[spoiler: Goss demonstrates that the same trick can be used in an unpleasantly destructive fashion, horribly mangling the folded item]].
* JerkAss: Kath Collingswood is a rather...blunt woman, let us say.
* LovecraftianSuperpower: The kraken-bit, combining DarkIsNotEvil and HeroicSacrifice in the name of a better apocalypse.
* MeaningfulName: Grisamentum translates roughly into [[spoiler: "grey ink", with the same root words as 'atramentum', or black ink; he wrote his messages in grey-colored text after all]]
* NewWeird
* PsychoForHire: Goss is practically the AnthropomorphicPersonification of this trope (and is strongly implied to literally be that).
* RealityWarper: "Knacking" is a sort of reality warping that works based on symbolism, sympathetic linkages, and belief. A phaser prop that was used on ''Franchise/StarTrek'' can be knacked so that it actually fires, a key that was embedded in pavement can "unlock the street", and so forth.
* {{Retcon}}: [[spoiler:What the BigBad wants to do to ''the theory of evolution''. Happens to him (and a [[ItMakesSenseInContext zombie squid]]) [[HoistByHisOwnPetard instead]].]]
* RetGone: Katachronophlogiston, a fire that burns things so that they never existed. [[spoiler:Vardy and the ''Architeuthis'' get consumed by it. See above.]]
* RuleOfCool: In and out of universe. Readers are likely to agree with [[FanBoy Simon]] that the fully-functional {{Magitek}} [[Franchise/StarTrek phaser]] is very cool indeed.
* SanitySlippage: Not that Goss had much to begin with, but he goes from somewhat odd comments ("Didn't think of that, did you, you ferocious little whatnot") through hopefully-pure metaphor ("Sparklehorse and Starpink have managed to creep out of Apple Palace past all the monkeyfish, but if we're silent as tiny goblins we can surprise them and then all frolic off together in the Meadow of Happy Kites") to gobbledygook ("Numbers rumpus schampers grampus orca Belinda.")
* SaveTheWorldClimax: It starts with Billy Harrow investigating a minor mystery about a disappearing squid, and eventually escalates to doomsday cults and eldritch horrors trying to end the world.
* SealedEvilInACan[=/=]AndIMustScream: What Grisamentum tried to do to [[NoNameGiven an old enemy]] by turning him into the Tattoo. Didn't work out so well. [[spoiler:Paul irons out the kinks, [[AndThereWasMuchRejoicing much to everyone else's relief]], by having the Tattoo's mouth sewn shut.]]
* SoulJar: Wati has no corporeal form of his own, and instead freely moves his being in and out of any statue, doll, or figurine within reach, provided it's three dimensional and sculpted to look like something living.
** [[spoiler: Subby is nothing more than a convenient carrying case for Goss's heart.]]
* SupernaturalPhone: The novel has 'knacked' mobile phones that can do things like communicate with Wati, a disembodied spirit, or communicate over an unlimited range.
* TalkativeLoon: Goss, who is almost unintelligible most of the time. Only serves to make him creepier.
* TattooedCrook: A bizarre inversion. The crook ''is'' the tattoo.
* ThoseTwoBadGuys: Goss and Subby, even though Goss is the only one of them who speaks. [[spoiler:Subverted as we eventually learn Subby isn't much of a person to begin with.]]
* ThoseWackyNazis: As filtered through a [[TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} 40K]] sourcebook, [[TheHedonist ''The 120 Days of Sodom'']], and a ''whooole'' lot of [[ThisIsYourPremiseOnDrugs illegal substances]]. The Chaos Nazis are not nice people.
* TookALevelInBadass: At first a fairly clueless NonActionGuy, Billy grows into a resourceful character by the end of the story.
** Marge. Not that she does a whole lot, but she does it ''alone'' (without a Dane).
** Paul, once he decided to stop being just the guy with [[ItMakesSenseInContext the Tattoo]].
* {{Twinmaker}}: Simon's teleportation spell really goes into the FridgeHorror of ''Franchise/StarTrek'''s transporters. Suffice it to say that it's even worse in a world where ghosts exist.
* UnfazedEveryman: Billy starts off as one. Then he [[TookALevelInBadass levels up]]. Marge provides another example.
* {{Unperson}}[=/=]NoNameGiven: What [[ShroudedInMyth Grisamentum]] [[AndIMustScream did]] to the Tattoo ''erased his original name''.
* UnskilledButStrong: Collingswood. She can't commit to a particular type of knack, but she makes up for it with raw power.
* UrbanFantasy
* VisualPun: The [[BodyHorror knuckleheads]].
* WeirdTradeUnion: Wati's {{Familiar}} collective, the Union of Magicked Assistants.
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