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The Scar [Mass Market Paperback]

China Mieville
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
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Mass Market Paperback CDN $9.40 Editors' 25 Best Books of the Year
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Book Description

June 29 2004
A mythmaker of the highest order, China Miéville has emblazoned the fantasy novel with fresh language, startling images, and stunning originality. Set in the same sprawling world of Miéville’s Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning novel, Perdido Street Station, this latest epic introduces a whole new cast of intriguing characters and dazzling creations.

Aboard a vast seafaring vessel, a band of prisoners and slaves, their bodies remade into grotesque biological oddities, is being transported to the fledgling colony of New Crobuzon. But the journey is not theirs alone. They are joined by a handful of travelers, each with a reason for fleeing the city. Among them is Bellis Coldwine, a renowned linguist whose services as an interpreter grant her passage—and escape from horrific punishment. For she is linked to Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin, the brilliant renegade scientist who has unwittingly unleashed a nightmare upon New Crobuzon.

For Bellis, the plan is clear: live among the new frontiersmen of the colony until it is safe to return home. But when the ship is besieged by pirates on the Swollen Ocean, the senior officers are summarily executed. The surviving passengers are brought to Armada, a city constructed from the hulls of pirated ships, a floating, landless mass ruled by the bizarre duality called the Lovers. On Armada, everyone is given work, and even Remades live as equals to humans, Cactae, and Cray. Yet no one may ever leave.

Lonely and embittered in her captivity, Bellis knows that to show dissent is a death sentence. Instead, she must furtively seek information about Armada’s agenda. The answer lies in the dark, amorphous shapes that float undetected miles below the waters—terrifying entities with a singular, chilling mission. . . .

China Miéville is a writer for a new era—and The Scar is a luminous, brilliantly imagined novel that is nothing short of spectacular.

Frequently Bought Together

The Scar + Perdido Street Station + The City & The City
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Product Description

From Amazon

In the third book in an astounding, genre-breaking run, China Miéville expands the horizon beyond the boundaries of New Crobuzon, setting sail on the high seas of his ever-growing world of Bas Lag.

The Scar begins with Miéville's frantic heroine, Bellis Coldwine, fleeing her beloved New Crobuzon in the peripheral wake of events relayed in Perdidio Street Station. But her voyage to the colony of Nova Esperium is cut short when she is shanghaied and stranded on Armada, a legendary floating pirate city. Bellis becomes the reader's unbelieving eyes as she reluctantly learns to live on the gargantuan flotilla of stolen ships populated by a rabble of pirates, mercenaries, and press-ganged refugees. Meanwhile, Armada and Bellis's future is skippered by the "Lovers," an enigmatic couple whose mirror-image scarring belies the twisted depth of their passion. To give up any more of Miéville’s masterful plot here would only ruin the voyage through dangerous straits, political uprisings, watery nightmares, mutinous revenge, monstrous power plays, and grand aspirations.

Miéville's skill in articulating brilliantly macabre and involving descriptions is paralleled only by his ability to set up world-moving plot twists that continually blow away the reader's expectations. Man-made mutations, amphibious aliens, transdimensional beings, human mosquitoes, and even vampires are merely neighbors, coworkers, friends, and enemies coexisting in the dizzying tapestry of diversity that is Armada. The Scar proves Miéville has the muscle and talent to become a defining force as he effortlessly transcends the usual clichés of the genre. --Jeremy Pugh --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

In this stand-alone novel set in the same monster-haunted universe as last year's much-praised Perdido Street Station, British author Mieville, one of the most talented new writers in the field, takes us on a gripping hunt to capture a magical sea-creature so large that it could snack on Moby Dick, and that's just for starters. Armada, a floating city made up of the hulls of thousands of captured vessels, travels slowly across the world of Bas-Lag, sending out its pirate ships to prey on the unwary, gradually assembling the supplies and captive personnel it needs to create a stupendous work of dark magic. Bellis Coldwine, an embittered, lonely woman, exiled from the great city of New Crobuzon, is merely one of a host of people accidentally trapped in Armada's far-flung net, but she soon finds herself playing a vital role in the byzantine plans of the city's half-mad rulers. The author creates a marvelously detailed floating civilization filled with dark, eccentric characters worthy of Mervyn Peake or Charles Dickens, including the aptly named Coldwine, a translator who has devoted much of her life to dead languages; Uther Doul, the superhuman soldier/scholar who refuses to do anything more than follow orders; and Silas Fennec, the secret agent whose perverse magic has made him something more and less than human. Together they sail through treacherous, magic-ridden seas, on a quest for the Scar, a place where reality mutates and all things become possible. This is state-of-the-art dark fantasy and a likely candidate for any number of award nominations. (July 2). Forecast: Perdido Street Station won the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Fantasy Award. A major publicity push including a six-city author tour should help win new readers in the U.S.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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It is only ten miles beyond the city that the river loses its momentum, drooling into the brackish estuary that feeds Iron Bay. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another fantastic Mieville novel. July 7 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
China Mieville, The Scar (Ballantine, 2002)
Comparing any fantasy novel to Mieville's mighty Perdido Street Station invites a bad review. But it can't be helped, in the case of The Scar. After all, it's the sequel to Perdido Street Station. It's not surprising that it doesn't measure up; what is surprising is how close it comes to doing so.
Not long after the events of Perdido Street Station, Grimnebulin's sometime-girlfriend, Bellis Coldwine, flees New Crobuzon when she feels the militia closing in. Boarding the Terpsichoria, she heads off for the colonies on the other side of the world, stopping at Salkrikaltor Cray on the way for some negotiations. Not long after they leave Cray, however, they are ambushed by pirates from a nation who are completely unconcerned with New Crobuzon's might, and taken prisoner. Things go, to put it mildly, downhill from there.
It seemed to me throughout that much of Mieville's impetus for writing The Scar was to explore and flesh out some of the places that were just mentioned in Perdido Street Station. All well and good, as much of what was praised about the former novel was Mieville's ability to build a world with an awe-inspiring amount of descriptive realism. So it's no surprise that the same happens here, as Mieville takes us thousands of miles north and west of New Crobuzon, jumping around the map and filling in pieces of it we didn't get to see before. Mieville's descriptive talents are as strong as ever.
The plot's got a good deal going for it, as well. The pirates are not your normal brand of pirate, and Bellis spends much of her time trying to figure out what's really going on as a possible means of somehow winning her freedom from her captors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unusual and imaginative (unlike this review) April 24 2004
Plot in a very small nutshell: Travellers, prisoners, and slaves (many of whom have been biologically modified against their wills) are on board a sea vessel bound for the New Crobuzon colony. Pirates seize the ship and take the survivors to their floating city Armada to become a part of that rather unorthodox society.
The characters and the society and culture of Armada are very detailed and well thought out. There are bizarre characters, monsters, magic, secrets, and intrigue. The language and descriptions are effective and beautiful. I have not yet read PERDIDO STREET STATION (though I plan to remedy that very soon), but that did not hamper my reading of THE SCAR in any way that I was aware of.
THE SCAR is one of the most unusual books that I have read in a long time and it is one I will read again.
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5.0 out of 5 stars GrindyGhostThaumaturtastic Oct. 27 2003
Perdido was an excellent book in its own right, yet I was impressed by how much better The Scar was. Mieville has an excellent ability to make you want more by throwing out snippets of descriptions of people and places and civilizations inhabitaing bas-Lag that invariably made me want to learn more. One of the creepiest and most striking images from the book was Doul's description of his home city of High Chromlech, with its quiet streets full of shuffling high-caste dead, with their lips sewn together. Only a fine writer could pack so much imagination and imagery into a few short pages, and The Scar is full of this, It's part Dickensian (though less so than Perdido), part Lovecraftian, part Moorock, but transcends all those sources. As others have mentioned, the main character is a bit of a dud (the supporting characters are far more interesting), and the ending fizzles just a little, but the ride getting there justifies the trip. You'll enjoy the characters and places you visit on the way.
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5.0 out of 5 stars more bizarre and engrossing fun Oct. 27 2003
By Woodge
After reading China Miéville's novel Perdido Street Station last June, The Scar was quickly added to my Must Read list. Like the former, The Scar takes place on Miéville's intriguing and bizarre world of Bas-Lag. It's a world of vast oceans, many strange races, and a smattering of magic (or "thaumaturgy" in Miéville's prose). The protagonist this time around is Bellis Coldwine, a woman on the run from the New Crobuzon authorities. She boards a ship leaving New Crobuzon which is heading for a new colony. The ship hasn't traveled too far before it is captured by pirates from the floating city of Armada. There are some fascinating characters living on Armada and Bellis becomes embroiled in the strange plans of Armada's hideously scarred rulers known only as The Lovers. Miéville kept me continually in awe of the weird happenings and travels of the Armadans. His world of Bas-Lag is dense with peculiar people, landscapes, and customs. He's quickly become my new favorite science fiction writer. I was pleased to discover that his next novel, Iron Council, will also be set in Bas-Lag and is due out in July 2004. His novels are just wildly entertaining.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mining the Possibilities Sept. 9 2003
This is another powerhouse of the imagination from China Mieville, who certainly deserves the praise he has gotten as one of SF/Fantasy's most important new writers. This book is not as gut-wrenching or action-packed as its stupendous predecessor "Perdido Street Station," but it still demonstrates the range of Mieville's raw talent, although his lack of focus is also evident. Sheer imagination is the key to Mieville's work, and the most imaginative feature here is the book's setting. The drama takes place on a floating city made up of thousands of ships tethered together, on which Mieville creates a highly unique society and cast of characters. Other outlandish feats of the imagination are a reverse fantastic voyage along the skin of a mile-wide monster, and a beach consisting of the rust of ancient forgotten machines. And don't miss at least two truly terrifying battle scenes. Mieville can also create intriguing characters. Winners here include the interpersonally bizarre Lovers and the supernaturally swashbuckling Uther Doul, although the action is hampered a bit by a pretty lackluster lead character in Bellis.
Sadly, this book also displays some of Mieville's inherent weaknesses, which are merely a function of having just too darn many ideas that should be reined in more effectively. The book can't quite justify its 600+ page length, and in the final third things start to unravel and run out of steam with just too many plot elements appearing and disappearing. The supernatural concepts that Mieville introduces are not explored fully (especially the intriguing possibility mining concept), while the conclusion really fizzles out after such an extensive build-up. However, this is still an immensely enjoyable work and China Mieville has a real future as one of the most talented new writers of the modern age. [~doomsdayer520~]
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Still amazing
I was afraid the second book of the bas-lag would not be as good as Perdido Street Station. Fortunately, The Scar is also an exciting, well written and original novel. Read more
Published on Oct. 16 2012 by Mr. S. Garcia Camargo
4.0 out of 5 stars Mieville leaves another mark
China Mieville: frustratingly creative, unfathomably skilful, thoroughly uncompromising. Such has been my experience with his other works, and now The Scar can be added to the... Read more
Published on June 7 2012 by OpenMind
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite China Mieville... so far...
When I finished Mieville's previous novel, "Perdido Street Station", I thought it couldn't get better. I was underestimating him. Read more
Published on July 6 2011 by G. Larouche
3.0 out of 5 stars not quite as advertised
The book was offered and sold at a very good price,was in near fine condition and arrived promptly,but was mis-advertised in that there was no signature. Read more
Published on Feb. 27 2011 by Wm
5.0 out of 5 stars My 100-word book review
A second novel to be set in China Mieville's fantasy world of Bas-Lag, The Scar once more displays the author's prodigious imagination and command of language. Read more
Published on March 7 2006 by A. J. Cull
3.0 out of 5 stars disappointed
Miéville is an unparallelled worldsmith, but 'the scar' is let down by flat characterisation and an ultimately pointless plot. Read more
Published on Jan. 13 2004 by milkycat
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet
Hmmmm...hmmmmm. I have been reading sci-fi and fantasy since I was 7 years old. Thats a long time. And I can honestly say do yourself a favor and get this one, its good. Read more
Published on Oct. 12 2003
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Nearly as Good as Perdido
Perdido Street Station was incredible, so I went into this book with high hopes. Unfortunately, they were to fall. Read more
Published on Sept. 19 2003 by Luke Johnson
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