China Mieville is a hard guy to pin down. Each of his novels probes a different cranny of genre writing. The only commonality is his use of the word "chitinous" as early and often as possible. Each of his novels that I've read layers idea upon idea, novelty upon novelty. A couple have defeated me, the ugliness of his descriptive passages outweighing the brilliance. I can't remember him depicting any place or creature that wasn't in some way grotesque. Some of those hallmarks are still in place here, but they are muted. The descriptions in Embassytown are of creatures and landscape that is utterly, brilliantly foreign. There are dozens of terms that need to be internalized and twisted until they give up their intent. The aliens are truly alien. It's a scorcher of an answer to anyone who has ever complained about Star Trek aliens that look like humans with headbumps.