Perdido Street Sation by China Mieville
Perdido means lost, which is kind of fun to think about in a city mired with as much new/old/rich/poor/hate/love/corruption as New Crobuzon is. Mieville goes to great length to entrench the reader in all the details of the city so you can get a feeling of the whole. There are a myriad of races, cultures, religions, all trying to co-exist in this straddling metropolis. You get glimpses of the lives of several characters in different areas and slowly it all coaleses into a giant domino effect as seemingly unrelated events start a chain reaction of incredible proportions.
A garuda looking to fly again. An artist about to create her greatest work. A scientist on the cusp of his greatest discovery. And an escape which is going to put the entire city in the deepests grips of fear--for not even in sleep can you hide from what's coming.
Once the events start to roll, you'll be hooked on this rollercoaster ride all the way to the end.
So if your patient with the buildup, the payoff will be well worth it! ****