Embassytown by China Mieville

Embassytown: a city of contradictions on the outskirts of the universe.

Avice is an immerser, a traveller on the immer, the sea of space and time below the everyday, now returned to her birth planet. Here on Arieka, humans are not the only intelligent life, and Avice has a rare bond with the natives, the enigmatic Hosts – who cannot lie.

Only a tiny cadre of unique human Ambassadors can speak Language, and connect the two communities. But an unimaginable new arrival has come to Embassytown. And when this Ambassador speaks, everything changes.

Catastrophe looms. Avice knows the only hope is for her to speak directly to the alien Hosts.

Very sharp. I like the way the alphabet is raining down on the city, an obvious nod to the importance of language and communication in the novel. You can also never go wrong with red, black and white.

My biggest nitpick is that the city is clearly a manipulated photograph, and while the background buildings look suitably SF, the foreground (along with the use of the Roman alphabet) is too familiar. Would Embassytown, ‘a city of contradictions on the outskirts of the universe,’ really look like Shanghai?

Still, a nice cover in my books.