The Scar is a weird fantasy novel by China Mieville, an author I've grown to trust. This was my second reading of this book.
from the book cover:
A mythmaker of the highest order, China Miéville has emblazoned the fantasy novel with fresh language, startling images, and stunning originality. Set in the same sprawling world of Miéville's Arthur C. Clarke Award-winning novel Perdido Street Station, this latest epic introduces a whole new cast of intriguing characters and dazzling creations.SF Reviews praises it saying,
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 Crobuzon.
For 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 leave.
Lonely 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....
China Miéville is a writer for a new era -and The Scar is a luminous, brilliantly imagined novel that is nothing short of spectacular.
There can now be no doubt that there's no one in contemporary fantasy writing quite like him, and we should all be delighted that a talent like his has come along at the turn of the century to inject life into a genre stuck for so long in a creative cul-de-sac.Fantasy Book Review calls it "a magnificent and gripping story". Strange Horizons has a glowing review.
Publishers Weekly concludes, "This is state-of-the-art dark fantasy and a likely candidate for any number of award nominations." Kirkus Reviews has a mixed review.