Literature: King Rat

For the James Clavell novel, see Asian Saga.

King Rat is a novel by China MiévilleAnansi Boys on more crack and a lot of downers,

King Rat is about Saul, an average guy who has had a bad few days. First his dad dies. Then he's arrested for killing him. And then he's broken out of a holding cell by a ratlike man who can climb up walls and squeeze between the cell bars, and things get a little strange . . .

Features the Pied Piper of Hamelin from a rat's perspective and plenty of Blue and Orange Morality.

Includes Examples Of:

  • Black and Grey Morality: The Piper is a lunatic who thinks people and animals exist only to dance to his tune. King Rat is, well, a rat—with all the Blue and Orange Morality you would expect from an actual rat.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Saul and Anansi have a conversation about it, in fact, where Anansi admits that he will never understand basic human concepts and visa versa.
  • Bittersweet Ending and/or Downer Ending: Most of the main characters are alive and (sort of) okay, but Anansi is killed or at least discorporated, Loplop is deaf and mad, Saul won't give King Rat's throne back and the Piper may return at some point.
  • Building Swing: Anansi travels across the city this way, which is absolutely terrifying for saul when he's Bound and Gagged and hauled along for the journey.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Tied in the middle of a train tunnel and left there . . .
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: The Pier Piper is fucking scary for a rat. As if it wasn't bad enough already!
  • Magic Music: The main type of magic, aside from the animals' magic—which is just being what they really are.
  • Past Victim Showcase: A variation; the victims showcase themselves.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: Played with. Saul thinks so, and it's why he won't give King Rat his throne back. King Rat, being essentially a smart rat in human shape, is bewildered and enraged by this.