So last night I went to the library to pick up a book I had placed on hold, one that Henry at Crooked Timber had described as "a brooding, post-Mievillian fantasy set in a decaying city of uncertain extent and boundaries, with a keen ear for politics, character and language." Sounds like just my type of thing, and since it was Crooked Timber (by way of Andrew) that introduced me to China Miéville in the first place, I took the recommendation to heart.
The point of his post was musing on how the "cover...suggest[ed] a generic quest fantasy of the more or less inept and badly plotted variety" and didn't do the book justice, but that in no way prepared me for what said cover would actually look like.
Bear in mind that I had to retrieve this from the hold shelf and then take it up and hand it to a real-life librarian to check it out. There were little kids there. I'm lucky they didn't call the police: