book review: the scar

It’s been months since I read China Mieville’s first New Crobuzon book, Perdido Street Station, but I was ready to read another when I found The Scar at a used bookstore. I also got the third in the series at the same time, but I’m going to give it a few weeks to let the awesome sink in.

I really liked The Scar. Perdido Street Station built up a great city in a weird mechanical-scientific-thaumaturgical world, but the story kind of staggered around. This one has fewer viewpoint characters and they’re out of New Crobuzon, out on the high seas. There’s piracy and naval diplomacy and mosquito vampires and regular vampires and a gigantic sea creature and gill-people and it’s pretty awesome. While the goalposts for the story do shift quite a few times it’s integral to the tale and doesn’t feel arbitrary. The titular Scar could have different explanations depending on how far into the story you are. Much like the protagonists you don’t really know where things are going to end up, but it feels almost inevitable when you arrive. Very good work.

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