One can always count on China Miéville for a fascinating, mind-bending journey through the written word. Miéville’s newest book, This Census-Taker, is set in a fantastical world a few sidesteps from our reality and concerns a young boy who lives on a hill with his parents until a traumatic day upends the boy’s life—past and future alike. Miéville lets the compelling nature of his world and its singular characters drive the story, giving the unraveling of the boy’s life a natural feel that quickly enraptures readers. A thoroughly enjoyable read, the tale will leave bits and pieces—some beautiful, some haunting—festering on your mind. Describing a discarded doll (“Years of decay had eroded its rudimentary features and drawn it an intricate new mildew face, from which I ran.”), Miéville packs a lifetime of nightmares into a single paragraph.