Apatt's Reviews > The Scar

The Scar by China Miéville
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Apr 01, 2016

it was amazing
bookshelves: top-20, fantasy-top20, favorites
Read from August 30 to September 05, 2011

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 and peculiar creatures (some of whom are pulling double duties as interesting characters also) full of magic (thaumaturgy, natch!). Miéville is a master of world building, plots, prose and characterization. The floating city of Armada is an amazing and vivid creation, a crazy yet believable place. The main protagonist Bellis Coldwine starts out being utterly unsympathetic and cold but she is gradually humanized as the story progresses. There are always surprises around the corner and the novel is never predictable.

Interestingly, with all this weirdness going on I am surprised that the most resonant part of the book for me is the brief scene where a young cabin boy (Shekel) learns to read and discover the joy of reading. Now that is something most of us Goodreads punters can identify with.

There are numerous wonders waiting to be discovered by the unsuspecting reader, and it all ends in a somewhat optimistic yet melancholy note. I find this book endlessly fascinating and I look forward to visit Bas-Lag again in the Iron Council.
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Reading Progress

08/30 page 152
25.0% "Loving it, China rocks!"
09/01 page 152
25.0% "Gods and Jabber and fudge! :D"
03/17 marked as: read
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Apatt Matt wrote: "Do you think I should read Perdido Street Station before this one?"

No need to. This one is pretty much self contained. There is a brief mention of one or two characters from Perdido, but not relevant to the plot. Miéville himself mentioned in interviews that this book is a good starting point for those unfamiliar with his work.

Apatt Matt wrote: "That's good to hear. It's the only Mieville at my local library and the "#2" was stopping me from getting it."

I think he said it in a Youtube interview among some others. If I can find the quote I'll send you the link :)

message 3: by Lyn (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lyn I'm reading it now, like it a lot

Apatt Lyn wrote: "I'm reading it now, like it a lot"

That's good news Lyn! Probably my favorite of his.

Cecily Aww, Shekel. I'd completely forgotten that delightful episode, though I remember enjoying it at the time.

For me, this is Mieville's wurst(!) book so far, but it was also the first (furst?). I should probably give it another chance, though I'm more likely to read ones I've not yet read before doing so. If he keeps churning them out, I may never get back to this. But Shekel is worth remembering.

Apatt I read your comment and had no idea what you were talking about. Shekel who? It's like somebody else wrote the review (from 2011).
I still prefer China to his cousin Herman ;)

Cecily Next time you're in London, you could try this place between Charring Cross and Embankment - and report back (I've never been inside):

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