China Mieville's The Scar is a magnificent and gripping story.
A colossal fantasy of incredible diversity and spellbinding imagination. A human cargo bound for servitude in exile... A pirate city hauled across the oceans... A hidden miracle about be revealed... These are the ingredients of an astonishing story. It is the story of a prisoner's journey. Of the search for the island of a forgotten people, for the most astonishing beast in the seas, and ultimately for a fabled place - a massive wound in reality, a source of unthinkable power and danger.
My first thought after finishing The Scar was, “Wow, just WOW!”.
China Miéville's The Scar is a magnificent and gripping story. After reading Ryan Lawler's review of Perdido Street Station I immediately went out and bought both it and The Scar, and both books exceeded my already high expectations. The Bas-Lag universe that Miéville has created is highly imaginative, and his way of telling a story really allows your imagination to go wild!
The Scar is the second book that takes places in the universe of Bas-Lag, following on after the events in Perdido Street Station. But The Scar is considered a stand-alone novel although there are some references to Perdido Street Station. The Protagonist is Bellis Coldwine who fled New Crobuzon after what happened in Perdido Street Station. It was nice to read that the majority of the inhabitants of New Crobuzon had no clue and were awestruck by what happened in Perdido Street Station. In the beginning of the book Bellis is on a ship fleeing New Crobuzon when it is taken captive by pirates. The captain and officers are executed with only the passengers and Remade of the ship being taken to Armada, the floating “pirate” city. The leaders of Armada, the Lovers, want to bring Armada to the Scar but for this to happen they need to capture a mythical creature knows as the avanc, which they plan to chain and use as an ox. But even in the city of Armada there are people for and against this and it leads to an interesting chains of events.
The world that Miéville creates in the Scar really spoke to my imagination, the floating city of Armada gave a dark feeling, floating above oceans with deep sea monsters lurking. His use of magic, thaumaturgy, is vividly described and really fits into the setting and the use of magic in this steampunk-themed novel is just brilliant. Miéville used both slight alterations of the words chemical -> chymical and electrical -> elyctrical, and this made the story even more mysterious.
In the Scar the same races are found as in Perdido Street Station but there is less elaboration on them. There is however a new “race” the vampir, no not vampire but vampir! This again makes it for me more interesting and the way Miéville describes the vampir is just magnificent it certainly is not your Edward Cullen variety! The Scar also features the Remade, people who are sentenced to undergo body alterations as a punishment for crimes they have committed.
Here is just a small excerpt from The Scar, just to show that Miéville writes a gripping story!
“The crackling star of lightning shone cold and intense and blue-white, trembling, glowing brighter, taut as if pregnant as if full as if ready to explode and then burst and a swarm of shrieking presences coalesced out of its shreds and were about the ship, crackling apparitions outlined in energy, in elyctricity, leaving trails of burned air as they raced with intent through the sky, informed and capricious and purposeful. Fulmen. Lightning elementals.”
The Scar was a total delight to read and really had me enthralled from page 1 to 578! The Bas-Lag universe that is just magnificent, and this, combined with his engrossing way of story-telling, really makes The Scar a must read. His genre “weird fiction” is just wonderful.
Review by Jasper de Joode
1 positive reader review(s) for The Scar
7 positive reader review(s) in total for the New Crobuzon series
Raphael from France
Tasty and exotic, the maritime excursion of China Miéville is a delicate tableau of divergent destinies ; a bit slow (more than Perdido Street Station) but full of beautiful weirdness and impressive scenes. A truly original story and a unique style that offset some tiny flaws, like some lengthy passages or some weak characters. Assuredly, Miéville does a great job avoiding deja-vu and digging into the unknown and the unexpected.
8.6/10 from 2 reviews