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The Scar (New Crobuzon #2)

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  18,122 ratings  ·  1,103 reviews
The second Bas-Lag novel form the author of Perdido Street Station, an epic and breathtaking fantasy of extraordinary imagination.

A human cargo bound for servitude in exile.

A pirate city hauled across the ocean.

A hidden miracle about be revealed.

This is the story of a prisoner's journey. The search for the island of a forgotten people, for the most astonishing beast in the
Paperback, 795 pages
Published May 6th 2011 by Pan Books (first published 2000)
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Lisa Boone I read Perdido Street Station first and I don't think it is necessary to have done that to enjoy this book. It did give me a lot of background on some…moreI read Perdido Street Station first and I don't think it is necessary to have done that to enjoy this book. It did give me a lot of background on some of the locations and different "races" of folks in The Scar, but I think you would be fine reading The Scar on it's own!(less)
Thegabbleduck Bit of a late answer, I personally didn't like Bellis very much at the beginning of the book - and while I wouldn't say she gets more likeable as…moreBit of a late answer, I personally didn't like Bellis very much at the beginning of the book - and while I wouldn't say she gets more likeable as such, I found her to get more relatable as her relationships with other charectors develop.(less)
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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 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
Everyone has that one book that sets the bar for them. That made them read what they read. That redefined their taste in fiction. This was the book that finally managed to break fantasy for me.

Bellis Coldwine is on the run. Following the mysterious spate of illness that plagued New Crobuzon a few months ago, she’s noticed that colleagues of hers are slowly disappearing left and right compliments of the government, and it’s only a matter of time before she vanishes too. Hopping on board a ship to
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
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
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 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
Mona Temchin
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
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
⊱ 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
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
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
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
Jul 13, 2007 Walker rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
“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 amazi
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
Miéville writes beautiful descriptions. Everything else about this book was a slog to get through, from the monologues he has characters give in the midst of battles to the repetitious similes. Another annoying tick: characters had (incredibly obvious) realizations and then spent pages thinking about how much their mind was blown. Yes yes, we get it, your whole universe is rocked on its axis by the very idea that, say, a spy might have collected plans for an invasion. Let's get on with the story ...more
I'm glad I was already familiar with China Miéville's work before I read The Scar. I don't think I would have appreciated it as much if I hadn't known, to some extent, what to expect. The Scar is set in the same universe as Perdido Street Station, and has links with it, although it is not set in the same city. The prose is similar, very rich and dense, and the world-building is just as intense. It can be a little hard to get into: I remember with the first book that I found myself wondering what ...more
Maggie K
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
Lori (Hellian)
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
Lit Bug
I was very, very disappointed with this – I was looking forward to another dense, dizzy ride that I had enjoyed in his previous three novels I’d read. By now, I was sufficiently familiar with his method – there would be some amazing, ridiculous, wild, but immensely interesting world-building. Maybe, there would be good characterization. Maybe, a good plot. But there would surely be a lot of underlying themes, ideas and faint insinuations, all of them politically charged.

I’d learnt not to be exac
God I love China Miéville. The worlds he creates are so deep, so well described - I could lose myself for days in his books. Good thing I still have seven to read.

When I put down Perdido I was upset to leave the world I'd been existing in in my mind for the past 800~ pages. And whilst the Scar isn't set in New Crobuzon, it does take place in Bas-Lag. If anything my feeling at the end of this book was worse, in the Scar you are introduced to so many more locations and characters in that fantastic
Aug 08, 2011 Adam rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of Melville and Verne
The Scar is a wonderful evocation of the macabre adventure stories of Verne and Wells, philosophical treatise on dystopias/utopias, dark steampunk fantasia in the Moorcock vein, grisly spy story, mad quest worthy of Melville, and a language showcase. I think once the shock of the new wore off that caused people to fawn over Perdido Street Station(which for the most part deserved the praise) critics and readers dimissed the other two subsequent books of Mieville’s anti-trilogy. Well, they missed ...more
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Miévillians: * The Scar general spoiler-free discussion 30 40 Mar 21, 2015 10:59AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: The Scar by China Miéville 2 15 Jan 01, 2015 06:41AM  
Miévillians: * The Scar SPOILERS Chapter 1 to Interlude VI 21 27 Aug 31, 2013 02:07AM  
Miévillians: * The Scar SPOILERS Chapters 27 to 40 9 11 Aug 18, 2013 06:23AM  
The Scar: Unsatisfied with the ending !?! 19 250 Jul 21, 2013 10:18AM  
Do I need to read Perdido Street Station? 18 109 Jul 06, 2013 08:58AM  
Miévillians: * The Scar SPOILERS Chapter 41-END 6 23 Mar 14, 2013 01:17AM  
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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)
Perdido Street Station (Bas-Lag, #1) The City & the City Embassytown Kraken Un Lun Dun

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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.” 325 likes
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