This sprawling novel is a mess–full of dark magic, horror and bits of beauty. It has a plot that is rather vague and hazy. The structure shifts and changes, like the city it describes. At its best, Gears Of The City mixes the high gothic style of Mervyn Peake with the fever dream surrealism of Lautremont’s Maldoror. There are times when Gilman’s invention overpowers his storytelling skill, and some of the characterization is weak. But the overheated, imagistic prose keeps the dark marvels coming.