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The Scar
China Miéville
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The Scar (New Crobuzon #2)

4.15  ·  Rating Details  ·  21,289 Ratings  ·  1,279 Reviews
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 v

Hardcover, 0 pages
Published June 25th 2002 by Del Rey (first published 2002)
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Murf I read The Scar first, before I knew it was part of a series (which I have since completed). It, and all the others, stands alone just fine.
Robert Carter See, its funny I actually really liked Bellis. She's cold, she doesn't really want to be bothered, she wants to go home- she's a classic introvert.…moreSee, its funny I actually really liked Bellis. She's cold, she doesn't really want to be bothered, she wants to go home- she's a classic introvert. But she has people who love and care about her (she's writing to them, with such care and devotion) but they are few and far between. It takes a lot to earn her trust. Then you see how she teaches Shekel to read. She's not a person who gives her trust casually, and you have to have qualities she respects (unlike the annoying Sister Meriope who may be kind or whatever- but Bellis is absolutely right- if she gave her any sympathy she would just be sucked into her drama).

Maybe I'm a bit like her. But I thought she was great and well drawn protagonist. (less)
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Community Reviews

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Say goodbye to the festering filth of New Crobuzon! Welcome to a floating pirate city chock-full of mysteries, lies, betrayals, photophobic haemophages, and merciless manipulation.

Now, where do I apply for its citizenship???

A pirate city is every child's dream. Including, apparently, my own inner child, desperately in need of inner babysitter.

Before I say anything else in my review, I want to confess - I absolutely, wholeheartedly loved Armada. I loved its tolerance, its camaraderie, its stub
Jun 05, 2008 Crystal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: weary genre fiction readers, people with big imaginations
Shelves: favorites
It took me two days to get through the last 50 pages of China Miéville's The Scar. Not because I was bored, or because the story was particularly impenetrable, but simply because I did not want the book to be over.

I did finish it, however. And for a good ten minutes after the last sentence I found myself staring into space, stunned and cut adrift and wishing for another 50 pages. When I eventually sat down to begin this review, I realized that I had no idea what made the book so amazing.

And tha
Mar 17, 2016 Brad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So. I have a question for you.

When's the last time you watched vampires go fishing?


Then where the f***ing hell have you been? Seriously!

Okay, so the effort involved is a bit more than even the undead can muster, and a fleet, or no, actually, a whole *nation* of boats has a hard time with this fish story.

Of course, Miéville finally gets to show us how he deals with an epic war scene, interesting treatments of betrayal, kidnapping, Stockholm Syndrome, and extended spycraft, but what's really
It's hard to avoid politics, and in particular, Mièville's politics when it comes to Bas-lag. In Mièville's Marxist oriented doctoral thesis, Between Equal Rights: A Marxist Theory of International Law, he argues that international law is fundamentally constituted by the violence of imperialism, which by implication, is driven to a large extent by capitalism.

It's not too hard to work out that New Crobuzon is the theoretical capitalist "bad guy" of Bas-lag with its secret police and under-handed
Dec 25, 2015 Lyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading Kraken, and The City and the City and after Perdido Street Station, it occurred to me that China Mieville was certainly one of our most imaginative and talented new writers and that he was on a short list of authors who were dramatically making new ground in new fantasy. But after reading each, I also decided, knew in fact, that he could do better, that his masterpiece was yet to be written, that as great a talent had been displayed, more, so much more could be expected.

The Scar ma
I bow my head in acknowledgement of Miéville's inventiveness. Who else but the Master of Weird would have thought up of anophelii, mosquito men and women? Or of crays, people with the head and torso of a man and the lower half of a crayfish? Or of Armada, a huge floating city made up of boats and ships all tied together? To me, however, it was all just a lot of flashy window dressing. This is all well and good. Clearly there are a lot of people who enjoy that and who find it interesting. I was n ...more
David Sven
Jul 25, 2014 David Sven rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, steampunk
The Scar is Mieville's second book set in his Bas-Lag universe. It's a completely different story to, and as standalone as, the first book, Perdido Street Station.

This book the setting moves from the dank and dirty industrial city state of New Crobuzon featured in the first book, to Armada - a floating pirate city, full of...pirates. A city comprised of a conglomerate of derelict ships chained and roped together and re-purposed into a city both like and unlike any other.

We see some of the same
Scars are funny things. They are traumas long past. They are reminders of people we’ve known and places we’ve been. They are healing; they are memory; they are history. Scars can change us into something brand new; scars can show the world that we’ve been irreparably broken. Scars are full of Possibility.

And so, The Armada: a place where new scars are made and old ones fall away. A massive floating city, cobbled together with stolen and salvaged boats, stolen and salvaged people. Slaves, servant
6.0 stars. On my list of "All Time Favorite" Novels. This is the second China Miéville novel I have read (the other being Perdido Street Station) and both that book and this one are on my all time favorite novel list. This should tell you a lot about how much I think of the authors writing and story-telling ability. In short, he is as good as it gets. The world of "Bas-lag" created by Mieville, of which New Crobuzon is its most famous city, is in my opinion as imaginative and richly detailed a w ...more
Jan 18, 2016 Darwin8u rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
“For every action, there's an infinity of outcomes."


"Countless trillions are possible, many milliards are likely, millions might be considered probable, several occur as possibilities to us as observers - and one comes true.”

- China Miéville, 'The Scar'

At some point there was an infinite number of possibilitites with this novel, the funky follow-up to Perdido Street Station and book 2 in the Bas-Lag/New Crobuzon trilogy. There are chapters and lines and threads of this novel that contained ama
Apr 01, 2016 Apatt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
By gods and Jabber! This is one pugnacious thaumaturgical book! (sorry, bad in-joke).

China Miéville an interesting and awe-inspiring author, he writes like an angel but looks like a football hooligan! This is the second of the New Crobuzon series. Why it is not called The Bas-Lag series I have no idea, all of the Scar is set outside the great sprawling city of New Crobuzon, though it is frequently referred to.

As with the amazing Perdido Street Station this book is full of interesting characters
I restarted The Scar last night because I needed a dose of Mieville's prose, and was blown away, as I always am, by Mieville's description of place. This time he is describing Bas-Lag's oceans. He captures flavours and temperatures and underwater sounds and the danger inherent in the waters that have no boundaries in a way that is poetry for me. I have heard from other readers that these disconnected, deep descriptions are difficult beginnings for them, that they make it tough to connect early w ...more
Ian Vinogradus
May 20, 2016 Ian Vinogradus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers who seek more than Vollmann's vollhumorless paraphrased research notes
Comparative Empathy

All through this work of fantasy, I couldn't help comparing it to William T Vollmann's "The Royal Family" and Angela Carter's "The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman" .

The more you read the work of William T Vollmann, the more you find things lacking. Fortunately, as if by way of compensation, most of these same things are present in the fiction of China Mieville.

Vollmann is touted as the master of empathy, even though his characters rarely show any empathy for each
Mar 30, 2015 Mona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Brilliant Sequel to "Perdido Street Station". Mieville at His Best

This is a brilliant and amazing novel, one of the best I've read in 2015.

If you like China Miéville (and admittedly, he's not to everyone's taste) and you enjoyed Perdido Street Station and like New Weird science fiction/fantasy, you will love this book.

China Mieville clearly borrows from the long and honorable tradition of British and American novels and plays about strange sea voyages (Robinson Crusoe, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale,
** Update: Since reading this, I have read "The City and The City", which I thought was MUCH better ( and then "Embassytown", which was fantastic ( This review stands as my reaction to reading it, though I now think it probably does Mieville an injustice. **

A very hard book to rate because it is so inconsistent in plot, pace, language and even genre. It could possibly be turned into a good book, but it needs a lot
Oct 26, 2012 Andrea rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi, my-collection
This is not an easy book to read, and this is also not a “nice” book to read. The ending doesn’t make you feel warm fuzzies that despite hardships and adventure, everyone sails off into the sunset singing gaily. You don’t feel all bubbly and relaxed and entertained. The Princess Bride this is not.

You feel disturbed. You feel upset. You feel compassion. You feel anger. You feel distaste. You feel confused. You feel overwhelmed. And at the conclusion, you feel …... scarred.

Nataliya and Catie hav
Sarah Anne
This is quite a strange book and it really didn't head in any of the many directions I could have imagined. Mieville's extraordinary world-building is in evidence again, with legions of creatures, aliens, and countries in play.

This one takes place entirely on the ocean, from one ship to a connected flotilla-landmass thing... Okay, clearly I don't have Mieville's way with words. The point is that there is a focus to the things that are under the water, beyond the water, across the water, at the e
Ruby  Tombstone [With A Vengeance]
When I started this book, I didn't expect to love it in the way that I loved Perdido Street Station. I was right. They are two very different books. Where Perdido.. was one fantastic, magical surprise after another, The Scar has more subtle depths. And for that, I think I love The Scar even more.
Scars are not injuries, Tanner Sack. A scar is a healing. After an injury, a scar is what makes you whole.
In The Scar, Miéville takes the idea of the scar and mines it for every possible metaphor and m
Jun 01, 2016 Jonfaith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This violent, pointless voyage has been sopping with blood. I feel thick and sick with it. And that is all: contingent and brutal without meaning. There is nothing to be learnt here. No ecstatic forgetting. There is no redemption in the sea.

Miéville is certainly more focused here than in Perdido Street Station, a streamlined set of characters wrestle with duplicity, inefficient energy policy and the ambiguity of exile. Guile finds a quaint representation, which is always of interest. I loved all
⊱ Irena ⊰
These might not be the most coherent thoughts I've written.
I am exhausted. I wasn't allowed to choose one side and stick to it. I kept switching. And I loved it.

The Scar is more adventure than Perdido Street Station and not just because most of it happens on a floating pirate city. There are mysteries, lies and betrayals, spies, monsters, magic, naval battles and so on. It's not even a spoiler; after you read the description of the book, you expect nothing less.

Bellis Coldwine, one of the protag
Ben Babcock
I'm not sure how I feel about China Miéville.

On one hand, Miéville is a competent writer and, even better, a superb storyteller. The three books of his that I've read (including this one) are good. People tend to gush about his worldbuilding, often at the expense, I think, of talking about everything else that's great about his stories, but they do it because of his obvious skill in this area. Many great fantasy authors create wonderful stories by taking the traditional elements of fantasy and e
So far my favorite Miéville's book.

Again main star is one very fascinating city but very different one. New crobuzone is filthy, dream shattering capitalist metropolis, pirate city Armada tries to be opposite. While in Perdido street station he criticizes capitalism in The scar he takes shots at communism and socialism, which I did find bit surprising as Miéville is left wing political activist.
Other than fascinating city this book features multilayered story, well developed characters and crea
Jul 13, 2007 Walker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: roleplayers
Salubrious. Pugnacious. Ossified. Juddering.

These are not words that I am using to describe China Mieville's writing, but words that China Mieville uses to describe, well, everything. The most irritating part of his otherwise excellent Perdido Street Station is still very much in play in The Scar - that is, Mieville is still kinda unsure of himself, he still feels the need to prove himself, and his method of choice is Big Long Vocabulary Words.

The problem is that he latches onto one, and then us
Jan 30, 2015 Phrynne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love China Miéville. His imagination has no bounds and each book he writes is original. As usual his world building in this book is phenomenal. Who else could have created mosquito people whose men are harmless herbivores while the women (six foot tall but flying just like mosquitoes) crave blood and can suck a human dry in minutes. And then there is the creation called Armada, a floating city formed by attaching hundreds of boats together. I loved his descriptions of how the parks and librari ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I think this book falls into the category of just not really my thing. There are some books of China Miéville that I have really loved - Embassytown being my favorite so far. I think there was less going on in that world, and because of that, characters were free to tell more of a story. In this novel, there are so many creatures and places and intrigue to describe, it was hard to settle in to any of it in an enjoyable way. I think I would have really liked the reluctant librarian hostage as unl ...more
Maggie K
Oct 15, 2014 Maggie K rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I truly devoured this book.

I read Perdido and liked it, but thought it over-descriptive. Here I got caught up in the flow of words and never had a bad moment. Mieville's description of Bas-LAg and its' oceans is nothing but brilliant, and I was right there aboard each ship as the story progressed.

and a floating armada as a city? It really becomes its own character. There is just a whole pirate feel about it.

The characters were awesome, not because I liked them so much, but because I didn't! They
Sabía que no le había hecho justicia a este libro. La primera vez que lo leí me pasó lo que suele suceder de vez en cuando con ciertos libros, que no llegan a gustarte del todo por diversos motivos, porque o bien te has forzado a empezarlos aunque no te apetecía realmente leerlos en ese momento, con lo que ya empiezas mal, a disgusto y poco predispuesto, o bien no era el momento adecuado por razones de tipo personal, por no estar pasando por una etapa especialmente buena para ciertas lecturas. M ...more
Evan Leach
”There is no redemption in the sea.”
- The Scar.

The Scar is the second of China Miéville’s Bas-Lag novels. It isn’t exactly a sequel to Perdido Street Station, although the book begins right where Perdido left off. The aftermath of Perdido’s events, and the totalitarian government’s brutal search for answers, force Bellis Coldwine to flee New Crobuzon for her own safety. She sets sail for one of the city’s colonies, but her ship is attacked by pirates en route. Bellis and the other survivors fin
Jul 27, 2011 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
And my marathon of Mielville continues! Again so different than PSS and Embassytown, I'm impressed.

Finito. Actually a few days ago. While reading Mielville I have so many thoughts, I even plan some sentences in my head for my GR review. But usually these thoughts are nowhere in sight when I sit and write! Especially with this book, because I'm still deliberating over the end. It's one of those ambivalent endings, what REALLY happened, there are various other possibilities.

Which is really the po
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Miévillians: * The Scar SPOILERS Chapters 27 to 40 9 24 Aug 18, 2013 06:23AM  
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A British "fantastic fiction" writer. He is fond of describing his work as "weird fiction" (after early 20th century pulp and horror writers such as H. P. Lovecraft), and belongs to a loose group of writers sometimes called New Weird who consciously attempt to move fantasy away from commercial, genre clichés of Tolkien epigons. He is also active in left-wing politics as a member of the Socialist W ...more
More about China Miéville...

Other Books in the Series

New Crobuzon (3 books)
  • Perdido Street Station (Bas-Lag, #1)
  • Iron Council (Bas-Lag, #3)

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“In time, in time they tell me, I'll not feel so bad. I don't want time to heal me. There's a reason I'm like this.
I want time to set me ugly and knotted with loss of you, marking me. I won't smooth you away.
I can't say goodbye.”
“Scars are not injuries, Tanner Sack. A scar is a healing. After injury, a scar is what makes you whole.” 367 likes
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