Perdido Street Station is a gem. Mr. Mieville is an author in the highest levels of the genre. Whatever science fiction used to be, with its over-reliance on plot and idea and under-reliance on character and style, it has now grown up into a full-fledged literary genre. Mieville is a stylistic wonderkind, a rich dessert heavy with the chocolate sauce, a Baz Luhrmann color bonanza.
In short, he's got it goin' on.
Perdido Street Station is a large book, a rich book, a dense book, but more than anything else it is a good book. Sometimes, those literary novels that everyone praises, like Madame Bovary or The Brothers Karamazov, are just not very good reads. Sure, they are masterpieces to be studied and appreciated and written about, but they are not very fun. Perdido Street Station is both a masterpiece and fun.
Flaws? Well, sure. You have to be a bit patient at the start: you've got to trust that the first, oh, 100 pages will amount to something. They do indeed. You've got to pay attention to vocabulary and imagery. This book will challenge you, but it will also entertain you.
The story is both simple and complex: the simple story involves a monster-hunt and a vaguely dungeons-and-dragons adventure (though not in that mileu) but the rich setting in which the story takes place almost steals the show. New Crobuzon is a world unlike any other and yet it is very much like a Victorian England seen through a glass, darkly, with some magic and invented mythology thrown in. It's indescribable, but Mieville gives it life.
Read this one. Read it for the worldbuilding, for the swooping style, for the richness. But also read it for the rollicking story.
Be seeing you!