The Scar Mass Market Paperback – Jun 29 2004
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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 Miévilles 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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
The second of his Bas-Lag trilogy (although not a sequel to Perdido Street Station--merely set in the same universe), this novel is bursting at the seams with an ensemble cast of well-developed characters (whose motives and behaviours are delightfully elaborated upon, from the ambitious and ruthless Uther Doul to the kind and loyal Remade man, Tanner Sack), unusual races (with their own attributes and desires, from the rapidly-clotting gladiator race of Scabmettlers to the terrifying, predatory Grindylow), and rich history. And as if the original characters and setting weren't enough, there's a hell of a story here, too. The highly secret, free-floating pirate city of Armada comprises several ridings--each ruled and inhabited by a diverse population--has one goal: to survive. At constant risk of discovery, and therefore annihilation, by the city-state of New Crobuzon, Armadans and their leaders are constantly in search of more people to enlist, ships to annex, and "puissance" to wield. When an ancient text within the library of Armada appears to yield information about an ancient, extra-dimensional source of motive power, the leaders of Armada go in search of this engine in the hope that it will allow them to cover more ground in a faster amount of time, opening up realms (and booty) previously thought out of reach.
Someone is working to undermine their efforts.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
I think its a better novel than Perdido Street, but for some strange reason I liked the earlier work better…Published 19 months ago by B. Johnston
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 morePublished on Oct. 16 2012 by Mr. S. Garcia Camargo
When I finished Mieville's previous novel, "Perdido Street Station", I thought it couldn't get better. I was underestimating him. Read morePublished on July 6 2011 by G. Larouche
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 morePublished on Feb. 27 2011 by Wm
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 morePublished on March 7 2006 by A. J. Cull
Miéville is an unparallelled worldsmith, but 'the scar' is let down by flat characterisation and an ultimately pointless plot. Read morePublished on Jan. 13 2004 by milkycat
Perdido was an excellent book in its own right, yet I was impressed by how much better The Scar was. Read morePublished on Oct. 27 2003 by Emperor Norton