Adult/High School-Even better than the author's Perdido Street Station (Del Rey, 2001), The Scar is also set in the alternate world of Bas-Lag, where linguist Bellis Coldwine is fleeing the city of New Crobuzon. On her journey, pirates capture her ship, and she and the slaves onboard are taken to the floating city of Armada, ruled by the twisted Lovers. The Lovers have a plan that will change the lives of more than the inhabitants of Armada forever, and the quest to find the mysterious reality-shifting place called the Scar begins. The world of Bas-Lag is dark and dangerous and its odd and macabre inhabitants are fully formed, however alien they seem. But even if the noir story and characters were merely ordinary, Mieville's writing would set this book apart. If poetry can have internal rhymes, the prose has an internal structure that uses sound and syllable repetitions, resulting in brilliant and biting word combinations that produce a style more analogous to music than to writing. The author's technique is something akin to Lewis Carroll's use of portmanteau. Sophisticated readers will be engrossed not only by the story but also by the very words used to detail the plot, and they will never think of the fantasy genre, or fantasy authors, in quite the same way again.-Jane Halsall, McHenry Public Library District, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Another beefy fantasy set in the same world as Mieville's landmark Perdido Street Station (2001), where recent upheavals in the city New Crobuzon have caused linguist Bellis Coldwine to fear for her life; she hopes to find sanctuary and anonymity in the colony Nova Esperium, a long ocean voyage distant. But before reaching the colony, her ship's intercepted by pirates from Armada, a huge floating city composed of the hulls of captured vessels. Armada's population, human and nonhuman, is governed by the Lovers, a sadomasochistic pair with momentous but arcane plans, and their assistant, Uther Doul, an unmatchable warrior with artifacts from the ancient, vanished, nonhuman Ghosthead Empire. Also aboard, and opposing the Lovers' plans, is the Brucolac, leader of a vampire cadre, and sinister New Crobuzon superspy Silas Fennec. In addition to the ships, Armada has captured a New Crobuzon drilling rig to extract oil and rockmilk, source of vast thaumaturgic power. The Lovers seek a book written in a language only Bellis can interpret: the book contains the knowledge they need to help them harness an avanc, a vast, half-unreal denizen of the abyssal oceans, strong enough to tow Armada across half the face of the world. But to what purpose? Uther Doul and the Brucolac know, but disagree. And amid the swirling plots, machinations, and secret agendas, Armada's being stalked by a group of shadowy, ocean-dwelling, utterly merciless beings. Again, panoramic and stunningly inventive, but awash with half-baked experimental passages, irritatingly manipulative, overstuffed, and hastily constructed: as frustrating as it is astonishing. Author tour