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10 thoughts on “The Scar

  1. says:

    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 stubbornness, its unbelievable spirit and tenacity I loved the harmony, the creation of a whole out of so many varying bits, pieces, cultures, races, nations I loved the respect for knowledge I loved the concept of creating a habitable place in the midst of unwelcoming ocean Basically, I embraced it with the same fierce loyalty that Tanner Sack did, and it pained me to see it threatened A scar is not an injury, Tanner Sack A scar is a healing After an injury, a scar is what makes you whole The titular Scar has many meanings, multilayered just like Mi ville s prose and storytelling We see the literal ones on the faces of the Lovers and on the backs of Tanner and Bellis We hear about the mythical one, a splitting wound in the fabric of reality Scars become the symbols of fight, survival, love, unity, pain, remembrance, and healing They can be seen in many ways, in the light of many endless possibilities Scars are memory Like sutures They stitch the past to me THE STORY ITSELF Don t be fooled by the designation of New Crobuzon 2 for The Scar The huge poisonous filthy city is a constant presence weighing on the minds of our ex Crobuzoner characters, but we are spared its suffocating bulk and do not meet any of the familiar characters from Perdido Street Station Our link to New Crobuzon is Bellis Coldwine, a reserved and disillusioned linguist sailing away in the self imposed exile to New Crobuzon colonies On her ship, below decks, destined to be a slave, is Tanner Sack, a Remade a victim of the cruel body altering Crobuzonian system of punishment Bellis is an exile hoping to return someday Tanner is little than worthless cargo No wonder they react in polarly opposite ways when their ship is taken over by pirates and they find themselves new press ganged citizens of a floating pirate city, a huge melting pot, which, like the Hotel California, you can never leave That, after all, was what Armada was a colony of the lost, the renegade, the absent without leave, the defeated For Tanner and other Remade it s a paradise to which you cannot help but be fiercely loyal For Bellis, it s a place that dared to take her choice away from her, and she s not happy And if it comes to weighing up your desire to return against the desires, for example, of the several hundred Terpsichoria Remade who are now allowed to live as something than animals, then I m afraid I find your need less than pressing. Suddenly the newcomers find themselves drawn into an ambitious conspiracy that can bring greatness to Armada that is, unless it brings its destruction first And, as one can expect, when existing powers in search of even power collide with the lives of regular people, it can bring little but brokenness, pain, and despair.Mi ville expands on the horror shown in Perdido Street Station the terrible punishment that the Remade have to endure For their crimes they are marked for life, horrifically modified, and permanently reduced to the miserable existence of freaks , nightmarish slaves left with nothing, no chances, no possibilities That s why I instantly loved Armada for dispensing away with the cruelty, for accepting them and admitting what New Crobuzon denies that they are who they are, with rights and possibilities, with chance for love and respect and life She was Remade she was Remade scum , he knew it, he saw it, and still he felt incessantly what was inside him, and he felt a great scab of habit and prejudice split from him, part from his skin where his homeland had inscribed him deep There was a caustic pain as he peeled off a clot of old life and exposed himself open and unsure to her, to new air His feelings welled out and bled together their festering ceased and they began to resolve, to heal in a new form, to scar Characterization is Mi ville s strong point in this book With just few words and sentences he creates memorable and vivid characters that feel alive and real, ready to step out of the page Our main viewpoint character Bellies Coldwine is amazingly written She is an unusual female character middle aged, chain smoking, cold and cynical, stubborn and strong willed, in full control of her emotions, with walls of reserve surrounding her and she is not waiting for anyone to take these walls down She is smart and resilient she is a survivor Beautifully written, she is fully realized, relatable without being always likable, making you root for her while being angry at her at the same time a lifelike love hate relationship, ultimately culminating in understanding and respect Likewise, the rest of the characters Tanner, Uther Doul, Brucolac, Shekel, Carrianne all have these lifelike multilayered personalities that cannot help but captivate the reader, which is a true testament to Mi ville s writing skills Everything has changed I cannot be used any Those days are over I know too much What I do now, I do for me Mi ville s imagination remains truly amazing and boundless I don t think there is anything that this man cannot conjure out of the depths of his prodigious mind He takes the existing concepts cities, piracy, monstrous sea creatures and turns them onto their heads, brings along new and unexpected angles, creates unbelievable depths, and in the process reveals so much about human nature that it can be unsettling Amazing, beautifully written, multilayered book with excellent characters and masterfully crafted setting 5 stars without any hesitation.Thank you, Mr Mi ville, for this amazing read that kept me engrossed in your fantastic world for so many days.And special thanks to Catie for embarking on this awesome Mi ville journey with me It was great 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

  2. says:

    It took me two days to get through the last 50 pages of China Mi ville 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 that s Mi ville s magic His prose is chaotic and distinctly purple His characters are often under drawn, brought into the story for a few brief moments before being sacrificed under the wheels of the frenetic plot And yet he rarely introduces anyone who isn t instantly fascinating, and all of the deaths seem to mean something Somehow, he always seems to make it work.I m getting ahead of myself The Scar isn t a sequel to Perdido Street Station, although it takes place in the same world and Mi ville includes enough winks to Perdido to keep us nerds happy The story follows a handful of New Crobuzon refugees and criminals who, after their ship is commandeered by pirates, find themselves press ganged into a new life in the strange city of Armada The story is primarily told by Tanner Sack, a criminal and slave who has been offered redemption in a new home and Bellis Coldwine, a fugitive translator who always seems to find herself near the center of Armada s varied and bloody intrigues Bellis is an interesting character She s presented from the beginning as cold and unemotional, an image she seems to put a lot of work into cultivating Of course, we find that she s not so cold as she seems, but we re still mostly spared from the angst and self deceit seen in so many heroes of fantasy We re also told almost nothing about her background, and certainly nothing that doesn t pertain directly to the story at hand She s nearly a cipher at first glance an impression helped by the book s emphasis on her profession as a translator but as the story moves she becomes incredibly compelling.And if Mi ville gives us so little on the protagonist, the supporting cast is even less detailed The characters are drawn in broad, impressionist strokes that do through implication and imagery than lesser writers do with chapters of backstory and description Every character serves a purpose, and you can generally count on anyone who is introduced by name having an important role to play somewhere down the line.The plot, for all its complications, is tight and quickly paced As the press ganged find themselves wrapped in layer upon layer of conspiracy and betrayal, the reader finds themselves handed threads of plot at almost dizzying speed But just as Mi ville only describes his monsters in bits and incomprehensible pieces, he keeps the reader just informed enough to be unable to see the big picture When he finally does sideswipe us with a revelation, it always makes perfect sense.The economy of plot and characterization give Mi ville room to do what really makes his stories special His world is a mishmash of genres often described as science fantasy or, in his own words, weird fiction Steampunk airships coexist with elemental magic and Lovecraftian monsters There are pirates and spies and scientists and wizards, and an impressive variety of original races and settings.Mi ville describes all of his creations with obvious glee, occasionally losing control of grammar in his enthusiasm He makes up for these missteps with his seemingly limitless imagination and energy the reader hardly has time to be upset about a misplaced comma when pivotal moments and incredible inventions are flying past them on every page.And yet, the world of Bas Lag is a hard one There doesn t seem to be any such thing as an innocent man, and ordinary citizens are constantly finding themselves caught up in the machinations of ruthless leaders and unfathomable powers Much like any good fantasy, The Scar is less about Mi ville s lunatic world and about the way people struggle and adapt and somehow survive His honesty about the human condition lends a very real edge to the story it would be hard to accuse him of shying away from difficult topics or showing his readers or his characters any undue kindness.All of the things that make The Scar interesting are things that could cause other books to fail entirely The fact that Mi ville has managed to put them together into such an incredibly good read makes him one of the most exciting writers I ve come across in a long time, and a refreshing addition to the genre Whichever genre it is.

  3. says:

    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, , so much could be expected.The Scar may very well be that masterpiece.Taking the setting, Bas Lag, of his earlier novel Perdido Street Station, building on that world that Mieville created, and moving in a different direction, but keeping the wildly fantastic tone and character of the narrative, The Scar is not really a sequel There are references to the earlier plot and many remembrances of New Crobuzon, but The Scar has its own story.This is the story of a pirate city There is a very interesting plot, and many memorable and colorful characters, some fun twists and a unique steam punk setting flowing from the world building of the earlier Perdido Street Station, some political and social metaphors and a socialist sub text, but make no mistake, what fills the sails of this very enjoyable book is Armada, a floating amalgam of pirated vessels Add some steampunk elements to Gore Verbinsky s vision of the Pirates of the Caribbean films and this provides a sustainable glimpse of the book s remarkable setting.Also noteworthy is Mieville s relationship, as a writer of the New Weird to that literary ancestry As a scholarly descendant and heir to H.P Lovecraft the nautical tale, with cryptic references to otherworldly denizens of the deep, is an atavistic link to Cthulu and to a storied past Mieville s Avanc, an extra dimensional monster from the deep lends a further mystery legend to fuel this fictional history.The Scar also demonstrates again China Mieville as an urban writer In every other book by Mieville, he takes the reader on a guided tour along the back alleys and cozy caf s of the city he has put together Armada, though afloat, still captures the author s ability to make us feel a citizen of this unique municipality Akin to his virtuosity as a writer of urban settings, is his adept ability to create and maintain complex characterizations and purposeful dynamic relationships As much as I am against series, I like what Mieville has done, this is a series about Bas Lag, the world he has built and within the context of which, any number of stories can be told.Finally, as a political activist, Mieville has left us with a sub text of political underpinnings Mieville is a proponent of left wing political ideology and Armada, a free floating, egalitarian libertarian pirate city full of press ganged but loyal citizens is a fitting palette for his dogmatic brush.

  4. says:

    So I have a question for you When s the last time you watched vampires go fishing No Then where the f ing hell have you been Seriously Okay, so the effort involved is a bit 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, Mi ville 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 interesting is how deep the details go.Don t read this if you re skimming or intend to skim There s just too many deep and awesome tidbits that fly by if you re not careful I mean, I ve been extremely curious about how all these different races came together in the first place, or at least how humans arrived or emerged on this world, and YES, there are a couple of fly by night anecdotes that tell us that this IS, Indeed, SF Damn awesome reality bending SF, too, with enough hints to stuff a goose or at least one of the interesting inhabitants of New Crobuzon And don t worry, at least ONE of the races will come along and clean up the mess I actually really loved all the sequences that filled out my slowly budding knowledge of the Bas Lag universe, like what s involved in being Remade or the esoteric races that cannibalize and twist the dominate technology of the world Having airships and submarines is just icing on the cake, of course, but I think I might have been most thrilled by the continuing focus on scholarship and study Who wants a real action hero, anyway If we re going to get into the New Weird, then let s at least have the right characters available to make the fractal flower bloom, right Best parts include the changing perception of the Armada, from unfortunate press gangers to a free and awesome society of truly epic minds and goals Just like the first book in the series, Perdido Street Station, the city is a deep and revolving character in it s own right, changing, at least in its inhabitant s perceptions, into something complex and multi layered and and not only flawed, but almost heroic Of course, when messing with a sea monster with all your might, it s not hard to be perceived as heroic, even if it is their own damn fault This is truly a classic and creative tale, and I can never do it real justice in a single stupid review The novel is as rich in detail as it is in awesome description, interesting characters, and great payoffs Just don t enter into a read with anything other than your full attention, or you ll be missing out on a ton of great easter eggs I know I had to start it again because I misapprehended the scope and creativity of the author Hell I should have known better I ve read a ton of his other novels BUT The Bas Lag series is truly serious in its creativity, so READER BEWARE.

  5. says:

    China Mi ville s The Scar is set on the vast floating pirate city of Armada , among mosquito people, walking cacti, criminals punished by being surgically Remade, and a fine cast of monsters, from the murderous Grindylow , to the incomprehensible Avanc The Scar is book 2 in the series known as New Crobuzon which is is a fictional city state created by Mr Mi ville and is located in his fictional world of Bas Lag It is prominently featured in both his Perdido Street Station book 1 , and Iron Council Book 3.The heroine in The Scar is Bellis Coldwine, a woman who is fleeing New Crobuzon aboard a ship bound for a distant colony Her ship is attacked by pirates and subsumed into a vast flotilla, a floating city named Armada It is governed by the Lovers, a couple who cut symmetrical patterns into each other s faces to show their devotion They have conceived a dangerous plan which is to find a crack in the world, the Scar of the novel s title, which is supposedly a source of unimaginable power.We are given an intriguing plot of espionage and deceit In her capacity as city librarian and then interpreter, Bellis is hard edged and self protective Her initially lack of self confidence in relationships with other characters become complicated by sex and betrayal.Panoramic and stunningly inventive, The Scar is astonishing in the vastness of outer space books to read While first published in 2002, I wonder why this book was not given a greater attention Perhaps due to its daunting size, at six hundred pages, perhaps some readers were put off by the challenge of the reading.

  6. says:

    It s hard to avoid politics, and in particular, Mi ville s politics when it comes to Bas lag In Mi ville 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 politics, its economic avarice and totalitarian leanings And yet, its antagonist in the plot of the novel, The Scar s floating city community of ships made into a city, Armada, are thieving, murderous pirates who forcefully take their future citizens by violence, and brainwash them into submission, or else simply kill them They re not good guys either by any measure in my book The reason why Armada is supposedly a good community, is because they set erstwhile prisoners free not really free if they re not allowed to leave, are they to become good non law abiding pirates who kill and pillage So once again, Mi ville presents us with a complex, politically grey, ambiguous scenario.I agree that totalitarianism as represented by New Crobuzon is undesirable, but I m not so sure that imperialism always is 100% bad The Chinese and Roman empires brought a lot of benefits to its citizens, for instance most of the time, that is, when the rulers weren t going crazy , and I m known to be pretty much anti anarchist, depending on what your definitions are In other words, I believe in having at least some universally agreed upon laws being in place which human societies need to follow and orient themselves by and it is important that whatever the law is, that it not be enforced on an arbitrary basis The Scar forces one to ponder on these aspects when you get acquainted with how Armada is run, and I reckon this is a good thing.In any case, I don t see New Crobuzon as being any the imperialist or less violent than Armada is in fact the latter seems so to me At least the citizens of New Crobuzon are free to leave the place if they don t want to live there any I think my dislike for these aspects of Armada, is part of the reason there are others such as a feeling of sloppiness in the plotting and general writing that puts The Scar lower down on my scale of favorite Mi ville novels Perhaps a certain coarseness in how the uncouth aspects of the world was presented, also played a role.Granted, Bellis Coldwine, the main character, seems to agree with my feelings regarding Armada so perhaps I should actually be giving Mi ville extra points for embracing ambiguity and avoiding a black and white scenario After all, life is as he describes it he makes no attempt to present any whitewashed utopias, as far as I can see.One thing that Mi ville and I probably can agree on, is that when naked greed gets to run its course unchecked, social injustices mount up and this is so whether there is a communist or a capitalist regime at the helm.PLOTBack to The Scar, I really enjoyed all the surprises and twisting towards the end, and that the actual solution was a lot political and pragmatic than one tended to believe earlier on in the novel The twists and surprises alone pushed me to give the book an additional star WORLD BUILDINGI think that Mi ville again tried to pack in too many weird creatures and small disconnected bits of world exposition, much as he did with Perdido Street Station, but it does make for a richer world than, for instance his much tightly controlled The City The City, which is a quite good novel by detective genre standards He did lose marks for the mosquito women s unnecessary bits of anatomy, which made even less sense than the cactus women s Maybe breasts are Mi ville s way to distinguish between the sexes and yet, he seems remarkably non sexist when it comes to most of his female characters, including Bellis Coldwine, the main character in The Scar.Oh There s so much going on in this novel, that I almost forgot about how Mieville plays around with quantum physics and metaphysics with his possibility leaks I really enjoyed that aspect.CHARACTER BUILDINGI liked it I thought Tanner and Bellis and Shekel and Johannes and Silas and Uther and The Lovers and Brucolac were all believably portrayed, and in spite of Bellis being portrayed as an emotionally cold person, one gets to see enough of why she is like this, and enough to gain empathy with her need to protect herself by endeavoring to remain as detached as possible.BOTTOM LINEIn spite of the fact that the novel lags and wanders about rather aimlessly in places around the middle, as with the first book in the series, Perdido Street Station, it is worth hanging on for the roller coaster ride towards the end, so I added a star here and subtracted a star there, and came up with three and a half stars for The Scar, a novel with distinct strengths and weaknesses For an extra bit of spice which might be appreciated by those who have read quite a bit of Mi ville, read on If you don t have a sense of humor, don t read on Ladies and gentlemen, there is a first time for everything, they say, even for writing erotica into a review Especially if it is sado masochistic erotica Well, see, China Mi ville put me up to it while I was reading his novel The Scar.I was reading this passage in The Scar, you see, of sado masochistic passion between two lovers, part of the exploration on the theme of scarring, btw and slowly an image began to form in my mind, of me somehow managing to find myself in a room, with a naked China Mi ville, who was clad only in a slave collar, the chain of which I was holding I had a whip in my other hand There was a pole in the middle of the room, and I bade China to face this pole, his back to me Look at the pole, China I said as I raised my whip I want you to understand something, China I snapped curtly, tickling his flank with the end of the whip And that is how I feel about the word puissant I flicked my whip with puissance, and then brought it home puissantly WHACK OW China jumped a little Good I see the message is getting through to you That one was for all the puissants And this one WHACK is for all the puissance China did not cry out this time, though he did flinch Two pink marks striped his muscled glutes You also deserve a smack for all the sloppiness, and for the flopping about between tenses I mean, really, where were you when the grammar class did tenses..but as usual, you re doing your own thing again, making up the rules as you go alongSince it should be your editor getting the whack for a lot of this, I ll just give you a little smack, with much less puissance than previously Smack I m not done yet, China, I happen to have read quite a few of your creations Remember palimpsest Though admittedly your love for the word is less obvious, though obvious enough, than for puissance Well, I m going to make a little pink palimpsest here on your beautiful behind I could see China s body tighten and I imagined him inwardly steeling himself Petty cruelty got the better of me and I smirked Do I sense a certain recognition, Dr Mi ville WHACK For PALLIIIMMMMPPPSSSESSST I yodelled and just to make the palimpsest complete, here is one for all the drooling in The Scar specifically whackety Now, have I left anything out I tapped my high heeled leather boot impatiently, masking my pleasure at finally getting my revenge in regard to the niggles and especially the puissance, wondering inadvertently if I myself was not perhaps drooling by this point.China turned to face me, a ghost of a smile on his sexy lips, a twinkle in his eye Wipe that smile off your gibbet I roared, whacking him one on the arm for good measure And, by the way, that last whack was because the mosquito women have breasts Mosquitoes lay eggs what the Jabber would mosquitoes need breasts for At that, he grabbed hold of the whip and twisted it easily out of my hand You know what you need he asked, grinning openly A good lesson in creative writing Of course, the rest of the fantasy is censored for the benefit of the large warrior woman, so we ll talk a bit about The Scar after the cold shower break Takes a cold shower Disclaimer The SM erotic scene in this review bears no implication whatsoever as to the orientations or inclinations of either the author of this review or of the author of the novel under review it is meant to be humorous, and has no bearing on reality whatsoever.

  7. says:

    Wow Clear an evening, take a day off, do whatever you need to do to carve out some serious reading time because the The Scar is good Very, very good This is the sort of book you put down for a second just to exclaim aloud how good it is, the sort you push on friends and family with evangelical fervor I stayed up late with this one, suffering in a fug of fatigue at work the next day, yet hanging out for when I could crack the covers and read into the wee hours all over again If you ve read any Mieville you know just how engrossing he can be I rate Embassytown as one of the most inventive SF works I ve read, and The Scar is on the same level a wild riot of amazing, completely engrossing ideas The Scar centers around Bellis Coldwine, a linguist who has been forced to flee the great city of New Crobuzon after the events described in Perdido Street Station Enroute to exile she finds herself abducted and effectively imprisoned in the floating city of Armada a collection of hundreds of ships, all lashed together and made into a mobile, piratical metropolis atop the ocean From here she is drawn into machinations that could make Armada a serious world power, and into the dangerous and supernatural factions that compete for power in the floating city.I don t want to give too much away so won t elaborate much about the plot, but suffice to say this book is an absolute frenzy of awesome ideas and I was continually gobsmacked at the breadth and depth of China Mieville s imagination Every element of the story, from the vast floating pirate city of Armada, to the unique creatures of Bas Lag lobster human hybrid crays for example , to the steampunk techno magick that drives Mieville s world is seamlessly slotted into a vast and detailed story that I did not want to leave As someone who has mild aspirations to write Mieville s talent is both awe inspiring and appalling how did he get so good What does the man have in his head to create beautiful, intricate worlds like Bas Lag and Embassytown Which daemonic entity did he bargain with in order to write like he does This is Fantasy of another level as far above your average swords and elves saga as the airship that flies above Mieville s floating city This is fantasy so good, that in all my hours with it I didn t once feel like I was reading fantasy.

  8. says:

    I bow my head in acknowledgement of Mi ville 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 not one of those it did not captivate me For me, it was a struggle to make it to the end of the novel Part of that was the hero s character The aptly named Beliss Coldwine is misanthropic, coldly contemptuous, and constantly angry, with a sneering judgement for everything and everyone It was not fun spending so much time in her company Part of it was the writing This is the first line of the first chapter It is only ten miles beyond the city that the river loses its momentum, drooling into the brackish estuary that feeds Iron Bay.That s pretty good drooling is unexpected and accurately evocative Then two chapters later, we get a huge minaret of girders soared and drooled fire Not so good And later One heads southwest for the shallow water, for Iron Bay and Tarmuth and the drooling dilute salt of the Gross Tar estuary Even less meaningful Here s all the metaphoric uses of drool I came across A constant drool of trash fouled the water and was swallowed by it She walked with him out between buildings in the drooling rain Water began to drool through the holes and over the opened up skin The cactus man came back, fifteen minutes later, carrying three fat leather waterskins full of brine, that Tanner drooled over himself, and sluiced through his gills skin drooling brine on the matting He locks the box, and then drools of the tallow all over its seam The mast was melting its substance oozing over itself as it spat and drooled downwards I remember every layer, like colours of sand drooled into a bottle WTF, dude You were so pleased with finding that metaphor that you decided you couldn t be bothered to think of others That s what the writing felt like to me Still, I will tip my hat to Mi ville for doing what I think he is doing here writing an anti epic view spoiler Here s why I think of it that way The big pay off at the end is all fizzle After all the effort spent in trying to reach the Scar, the Armada turns back before it gets there We never get to see it The report by Hedrigal or alter Hedrigal about the Scar could be real, or could be a story made up by Droul The other big pay off, Beliss s attempt to return to New Crobuzon, is achieved but we do not get to see it happen It remains an event that she believes will occur but which, at the end of the book, has not occurred yet More importantly for a sense of catharsis or achievement, none of her own efforts to bring this about succeed It occurs in spite of them, not because of them In fact, Beliss fails in all of her schemes The efforts to warn New Crobuzon about a grindylow attack The information about the attack turns out to have been a manipulative lie Beliss herself is unable to deliver the message she has to ask Tanner Sack to do it The attack on the Armada by New Crobuzon She realises as it s occurring that she has no assurance that the New Crobuzon navy will not kill her as an enemy of the state, and so makes no moves to be rescued In any event, the Armada defeats the New Crobuzon navy and even Silas Fennec is not rescued by them The attempt to get the grindylow to retreat by giving them the magus fin that she thinks they came for Turns out it was something else entirely that they were looking for, and they had already found it when she turns up Mi ville has created an entire work centred on a hero who tries to achieve something but consistently fails Not only that, but each time her efforts turn out to be entirely deluded Over and above that, there is no big pay off at the end no Big Bad, no Magic McGuffin For the Armada, after so laboriously raising the avanc, at the end of the book they are back or less where they started a floating pirate island moved around slowly by ships It s an epic that is entirely un epic hide spoiler

  9. says:

    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 ofpirates 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 races we were introduced to in PSS, like the Cactacae, and the Khepri, and of course we have the Remade We are also introduced to new races and creatures as Mieville s wonderful imagination continues to offer up delights of the weird and bizarre like the Cray, half human half lobster who live in underwater cities They like to employ hunting squid much like hunting falcons And the Scabmettlers fighters whose blood congeals instantly on contact with air to form a grissly type of armour And my personal favourite, the Anophelli mosquito people where the male population are vegetarian and the female population are insane with blood lust and will suck dry anything with blood in it that has the misfortune to cross their path Gazing hungrily, the mosquito woman stretches her mouth open, spewing slaver, lips peeled back from toothless gums She retches, and with a shocking motion a jag snaps from her mouth A spit wet proboscis, jutting a foot from her lips. And there are a lot monstrosities and curios in the offering.GrindylowThe story follow Bellis Coldwine, escaping New Crobuzon in the aftermath of the events in Perdido Street Station The militia have been hunting down anyone with any association to Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin and Bellis having some obscure connection to him decides it s time to run and embarks on a journey that sees her arrive at Armada a city engaged in a secret project attempting to harness transdimensional forces that are probably best left alone Bellis soon finds herself embroiled in intrigue and conspiracy.Arguably, the most interesting character for me would be Uther Doul, the mercenary enforcer of Armada with his puissant Possible Sword If the clockwork is running, my arm and the sword mine possibilities For every factual attack there are a thousand possibilities, nigh sword ghosts, and all of them strike down together I would probably have enjoyed this book if I had read it before Perdido Street Station which remains my Mieville favourite so far Most of the cool concepts of Bas Lag were introduced and explored in that first book and reading this book I felt like the novelty had worn off Mieville s writes slowly and ponderously, which worked last book as we are immersed in the steampunk world of New Crobuzon before the story evolves into a horror story where the suspense slowly builds This book, the writing style doesn t change, but as cool as Armada is, I felt it was a let down from New Crobuzon and the story had nowhere near the same sense of peril and suspense though it does have its moments It just lacked the same punch, as if Mieville put all his weight into the first swing which took me off guard and then follows through this book with the backswing where the element of surprise is well and truly over It meant that Mieville s writing felt tedious at times, relying on a plot which I felt moved along too slowly to be enjoyable on its own.Still, many reviewers think this is better than the first book so I guess it s a matter of taste Both books add real character to the cities they portray, fleshing out in detail the various suburbs with their individual personalities But for me, just like Bellis Coldwine, I wanted to go back to the dirty streets New Crobuzon Armada just couldn t compete.I m giving this.3.5 StarsPS I couldn t resist using puissant in my review seeing that it appears to be Mieville s favourite word this book I had to use the kindle dictionary every time it popped up.PSS For those too lazy to look up puissant it s French for piss ant My review of Perdido Street Station

  10. says:

    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, servants, the remade, the ab dead, all the oppressed lower castes of Bas Lag in The Armada they are reborn as citizens or even leaders The Armada is a blurred place, a place of change It s a place where a man like Tanner Sack, medically altered into something inhuman and imprisoned aboard a slave ship bound for a new world, can breathe free It s a place where a young sailor with too much experience and too many prejudices can let them all go and find love It s a place where a young maid and a boy from a misogynistic village can join and become the most charismatic leader The Armada has ever known.And then there s Bellis Coldwine, standing out in sharp definition against all the blur She s a woman who decided long ago who she was going to be and she doesn t want to change She s tightly contained within her fully realized self Reluctantly fleeing from the scrutiny of the ruthless New Crobuzon authorities, she wants nothing than to return home someday a goal which becomes impossible when she s captured and claimed by The Armada Bellis can see the opportunities that some of her less fortunate shipmates have been given, but still she is stubborn She holds onto her need to return home like it s armor No, she thought fiercely, uncompromisingly Whatever the truth, whatever the case, however hopeless the cause I do not give up on escape It had taken her quite some effort to reach this coldly burning pitch of anger, of desire for escape, and to relinquish it now would be unbearable. What happens next is a thrilling, mind blowingly imaginative high seas journey through nightmares and mysteries each jaw dropping and unique than the last This author just knocks my socks off with the sheer power of his imagination There are enough ideas, worlds, and species in this book alone to kindle a hundred others And yet, he just tosses them out there like peanuts This story could have so easily become garish b movie material, with its panoply of grotesqueries flesh melting neon green spit, anus mouths, insectoid people, cactus people seriously , and giant underwater behemoths But it NEVER does Everything he writes is so emotional and profound it never feels cheap How he managed to break my heart with slavering, murderous mosquito women I ll never know The writing here really shouldn t work and yet somehow it feels absolutely right and perfect The story shifts from past to present tense, from first person to third person, from one narrator to another It seems almost cobbled together And yet it never feels stilted or odd It flows Like The Armada itself, this motley assortment of prose somehow bridges together and reforms into a sweeping, effortless picture.And here s the thing I love the most about this book that picture, that story, with all of its suspense and catharsis and death, was just a beginning. And I feel, for all that has happened, as if it is now , only now in these days, that my journey is beginning I feel as if this even all this has been a prologue I have been a fan of China Mieville for a while, but this book is by far my favorite.Perfect Musical PairingBon Iver PerthI originally picked a song from this album for Perdido Street Station because I d been listening to it non stop for weeks and I was physically incapable of choosing anything else But now I m happy I did This artist, with his weird falsetto voice and combination of 80 s style synthesizers and brass instruments, really does sound different and sometimes odd But his music is also undeniably beautiful and affecting He wrote this song for a friend who had recently lost someone Heath Ledger , and I think it s about the marks that people leave on us I m tearing up, across your face I had a wonderful time reading this with Nataliya Check out her brilliant review Also seen on The Readventurer.

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The Scar summary pdf The Scar, summary chapter 2 The Scar, sparknotes The Scar, The Scar 80c020a Aboard A Vast Seafaring Vessel, A Band Of Prisoners And Slaves, Their Bodies Remade Into Grotesque Biological Oddities, Is Being Transported To The Fledgling Colony Of New Crobuzon But The Journey Is Not Theirs Alone They Are Joined By A Handful Of Travelers, Each With A Reason For Fleeing The City Among Them Is Bellis Coldwine, A Renowned Linguist Whose Services As An Interpreter Grant Her Passage And Escape From Horrific Punishment For She Is Linked To Isaac Dan Der Grimnebulin, The Brilliant Renegade Scientist Who Has Unwittingly Unleashed A Nightmare Upon New CrobuzonFor Bellis, The Plan Is Clear Live Among The New Frontiersmen Of The Colony Until It Is Safe To Return Home But When The Ship Is Besieged By Pirates On The Swollen Ocean, The Senior Officers Are Summarily Executed The Surviving Passengers Are Brought To Armada, A City Constructed From The Hulls Of Pirated Ships, A Floating, Landless Mass Ruled By The Bizarre Duality Called The Lovers On Armada, Everyone Is Given Work, And Even Remades Live As Equals To Humans, Cactae, And Cray Yet No One May Ever LeaveLonely And Embittered In Her Captivity, Bellis Knows That To Show Dissent Is A Death Sentence Instead, She Must Furtively Seek Information About Armada S Agenda The Answer Lies In The Dark, Amorphous Shapes That Float Undetected Miles Below The Waters Terrifying Entities With A Singular, Chilling Mission

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 578 pages
  • The Scar
  • China Miéville
  • English
  • 03 February 2017
  • 9780345460011