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The Scar by China Mieville
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The Scar (original 2002; edition 2004)

by China Mieville

Series: Bas-Lag (2)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,592831,468 (4.13)161
Member:firstfloor1
Title:The Scar
Authors:China Mieville
Info:Del Rey (2004), Mass Market Paperback, 608 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, science fiction paperback

Work details

The Scar by China Miéville (2002)

  1. 10
    City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (davisfamily)
    davisfamily: A mystery within a unique setting. Interesting mix of Religion and Politics.
  2. 12
    The Book on Fire by Keith Miller (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: For the depiction of the city.
  3. 03
    Scar Lover by Harry Crews (bertilak)
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» See also 161 mentions

English (81)  French (2)  All languages (83)
Showing 1-5 of 81 (next | show all)
The world-building in Perdido Street Station (the first book of this series) blew me away. I was even more impressed by the world-building in The Scar - Mieville builds on the world he has already created, and adds whole new cultures and dimensions to it. In many books where the world-building is outstanding, the plotline or the characters don't shine, but that's not the case here. The story is suspenseful and interesting, and the characters are very real and believable. It is truly a challenge to create characters that an earthly reader can identify with in such an other-worldly world, but Mieville succeeds with flying colors.

Here's where I would normally write a plot summary, but that's pretty complicated.... Bellis is fleeing her home city of New Crobuzon because she is tangentially involved in some of the events from Perdido Street Station and needs to go into hiding temporarily. She sets out on a ship, which is seized by pirates, who take the ship and its passengers to Armada, a massive floating city, where they are bound to stay for life. Bellis wants to go home to New Crobuzon, But that simple plot summary doesn't even begin to do justice to the intricacies of the plot or the world in which it takes place.

You could read this book without having read Perdido Street Station - the two build on each other, but the storylines are only tangentially related. I think The Scar might be better than Perdido Street Station, although it's a close call... The Scar feels more coherent, and isn't nearly as nightmare-inducing.

This is one of those books that I found myself reading for hours at a time (I was glad it was so long!), and thinking about obsessively when I wasn't reading it. Truly a fantastic achievement. ( )
  Gwendydd | Jul 20, 2014 |
The Scar is the second novel in the Bas-Lag series by China Miéville.

Plot:
Bellis Coldwine has to leave New Crobuzon, and quickly, too. That’s how she ends up on a ship on its way to the furthest off colonies that New Crobuzon has. The ship carries a ragtag mix of people – from scientist Johannes Tearfly to remade prisoners like Tanner Sack and even picks up a mysterious passenger on the way – Silas Fennec who orders the ship to turn back. But before they get very far, all of them are captured by pirates and have to restart their lives on the floating pirate city Armada.

I just wanted to start this review with the words that I liked this book even more than I liked the first one. But I don’t know if that’s true. I certainly liked Bellis more than Isaac, though I did like Isaac too. But both are absolutely brilliant books in very different ways.

Read more on my blog: http://kalafudra.com/2014/05/11/the-scar-china-mieville/ ( )
  kalafudra | Jul 18, 2014 |
China Mieville has a bit of an ego as an author. He writes extravagant plots, uses a 1 dollar word when there is a perfectly good 5 cent word available. But, luckily for China Mieville - he is a damn good author. Other authors could not get away with a book like this ... the extravagant plot is all needed ( I did a mental edit... and couldn't really come up with a part that wasn't necessary). The characters are cold but are humanely flawed. This world is strange- but doesn't need explaining.

This book is dark. Very very dark. There is not a spot of humour or light in it all, just various shades of gray, some parts a lighter gray than others. It is not happy book. But it is intriguing and interesting, and as a reader, I wanted to know more. Because of the darkness of this book - I found myself having to push myself to finish it - reading it in bits and pieces.

As for the book itself, the writing is poetic. Mieville has a way with words that I haven't found in a modern author. The characters are well written and are interesting. The plot is fantastic, but always grounded. This is a scary world.

The only true flaw... and I'm not sure its a flaw... is the ending. It takes an unexpected turn and leaves a reader with a "That's All?" sort of feeling.

So, read it, but know its an odd, difficult read. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Oct 8, 2013 |
Felt somehow a little flatter than [b:Perdido Street Station|68494|Perdido Street Station (New Crobuzon, #1)|China Miéville|http://photo.goodreads.com/books/1327891688s/68494.jpg|3221410], and I'm not completely sure why. Maybe just that it wasn't about a city, and therefore didn't resonate with me quite as strongly. I also didn't ever feel like I could really relate to Bellis; I disliked her for her coldness and self-absorption at the beginning, and while I warmed up to her a little over the course of the book, I can't really say I ever felt like I understood her.

What points Miéville loses for the weirdly ambiguous ending, he easily gains back with his incredible world-building, complex characters, and some seriously creepy monsters. Not to mention that everything about his writing is completely delicious... As with Perdido Street Station, I found myself reading pretty slowly, sometimes rereading passages several times, because they were so dense with meaning and rewarding to linger over. ( )
  wirehead | Jul 9, 2013 |
String theory and pirates. Steampunk dirigibles and mosquito women vampires...and fish men. Weird fer sure ... a beautifully written dystopian tale. Whales and magic... ( )
  Clueless | Jul 8, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 81 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Miéville, Chinaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mège, NathalieTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Miller, EdwardCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Villa, ElisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wood, AshleyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Has the (non-series) sequel

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Epigraph
Yet the memory would not set into the setting sun, that green and frozen glance to the wide blue sea where broken hearts are wrecked out of their wounds. A blind sky bleached white the intellect of human bone, skinning the emotions from the fracture to reveal the grief underneath. And the mirror reveals me, a naked and vulnerable fact. --Dambudzo Marechera, Black Sunlight
Dedication
To Claudia, my mother.
First words
A mile below the lowest cloud, rock breaches water and the sea begins.
Quotations
I am the Brucolac, and your sword won't save you. You think you can face me?
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Information from the Italian Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
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Book description
Haiku summary
New Weird pirate yarn:
Floating collectivist state/
Sea-beast chariot!
(Longshanks)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345460014, Mass Market Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:58:49 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

A group of prisoners and slaves, their bodies remade into grotesque biological oddities, find themselves on the Armada, a floating city whose bizarre leaders harbor a sinister agenda.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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