The Scar is as good as it gets for steampunk reading or reading in any other genre for that matter. The story is a weird steampunkish fantasy that twists and turns but above all keeps the reader interested. Mieville writes The Scar as a traditional action adventure with characters and settings that are bizarre and imaginative.
The Scar incorporates complex characters and setting while at the same time not taking itself to seriously. The reader won’t beat over the head with anything too philosophical. However it does incorporate ambitious extrapolations of possibility and probably i.e. (a possibility sword) in an interesting way that doesn’t feel natural.
Even though Story is a sequel to Perdido Street station it can be read as a stand alone novel. It might even be the best place to start for a reader new to the Bas Lag trilogy since the Scar only hints at the events of Perdido street and is generally considered the best of the Bas Lag Series. The following quote from a reader posted on a message board sums up whats makes The Scar great without summing it up at all.
“… 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.”
What The Scar is About
The Scar takes place shortly after the events of Perdido Street Station and follows the journey of linguist Bellis Coldwin as she attempts flee from New Crobuzon Militia across the oceans of Bas Lag. The New Crobuzon Militia is hunting down and “interrogating” anyone who has even the slightest of connections to the people involved in the event’s of Perdido Street State known as the “Midsummer’s Nightmare”. While Bellis Coldwin was not directly involved in the event’s of Perdido Street Station she is the former girlfriend of the main Isac Dan Der Grimbulin. This makes her a target for interrogation by The New Crobuzon Militia.
Thus Bellis flee from New Crobuzon on a colony ship full of “re-made” headed for Nova Esperium. She uses her given profession as linguist to partly bluff her way aboard. Her fate, Nova Esperium is a harsh land of scoundrels and refugees where remade are brought to live and work as slaves. However, the ship is hijacked in transit and Bellis and the rest of the passengers and crew are made prisoneer/citizen of the floating pirate city of Armada.
Armada is a city built on top of thousands of ships of all shapes sizes and national origins. The floating city takes center stage story as the mysterious ambitions of it’s leaders known only as The Lovers are gradually revealed.
The author China Mieville has the unparalleled ability to write a story as series of interesting episodes. From deadly Bonefish attacks to Islands filled with Deadly Mosquito Women the reader is forced to live in the world of Bas Lag.
Mieville’s entire Bas Lag series is unapologetic for throwing the reader into a strange world and not feeling the need to explain every strange word or concept.
The Scar is a must read for any Steampunk Fan. What separates The The Scar and the rest of the Bas Lag series so wonderful is that how well they lend themselves to multi readings. The reader will find joy in reading it just once but will discover more and more as they read 2,3 and 4 times. The Scar is not neccisarily and easy read but if one is willing to take on the challenge as such the will find great rewards.