China Mieville – The Scar

 Author: China Mieville
Title: The Scar
Date read: 4 January to 12 January
Published: 2002
Publisher: Del Rey
Length: 638 pages
Genre: Steampunk/pirate
Why I picked it up: Liked the ‘first’ book
Rating: 4 stars
Buy:  IndieBound Chapters | Check your local bookstore!

This is the second novel written by Mievill set in the world of Bas-Leg, though it is not a sequel (though are minor references to the events of Perdido Street Station, which I read previously.) Despite the disconnect between the two novels, I have lots of thoughts in connection to Perdido. Just little things I can’t help but compare naturally… I wonder if the Ribs that I adored so much in that novel might be ribs from an avanc? I like to imagine so (although i suspect those ribs are smaller!). Again I noticed the word pusillanimous‘ Really, how many people just throw that word out in every day conversation? This time I also noticed weird and in-bred (re: animals of Armada) used quite a few times. Probably the main difference between the reading experience of Perdido Street Station and The Scar was that I didn’t have any emotional reaction to The Scar. I wasn’t expecting to, so…okay. That being said!…

There were some really fantastic scenes where I felt that drop in my stomach, I gripped the book a little tighter, and I chewed my lip in anxious anticipation. I was absolutely taken with the idea of an avanc. Mieville gives you just enough a taste of the creature to be totally fascinated. The two scenes that really got to me were when they raised the avanc and when they went down to it + what happened after.

Just noticed I’ve been writing this post backwards from how I normally would…here are some general thoughts on the book. The beginning was primarily slow build, the story doesn’t really get going until about 200 pages in. This early segment contains a lot of setting up characters and setting for the story that’s about to come, you really get this sense of ‘Okay, that’s who this person is…how they are going to mess with things later on?’. There are a good number of characters, probably slightly more than I’m used to (says the Tolkien fan…..). I wasn’t paying as much attention as I should have when they were all being introduced so I had a little trouble later on keeping track but Mieville individualizes them well. that being said, I feel that the strongest character (as was the case with Perdido) is the city. I don’t want to say too much about Armada, because that’s the best part of reading the book (in my humble opinion). Suffice to say Mieville knows how to craft a setting.