In The Armchair

The Scar

Posted in Books and Literature by Armchair Guy on June 14, 2007

With The Scar and his other books (Perdido Street Station comes to mind), China Mieville has created a very rare thing: a new genre. It is fantasy, but quite unlike any fantasy ever written before. Mieville creates a dark, dystopic world filled with various monstrous races, each more horrible than the next. Despite obvious connections to steampunk, Mieville’s creations stand out.  Mieville’s story is well-paced, gripping and satisfying– all except the very ending, that is. It becomes clear right at the end that Mieville really had no plot all along.

Nevertheless, the story, the characters, the monsters and the world in general are richly detailed, well-developed, and interesting. Like most successful science fiction, The Scar asks a battery of philosophical and ethical questions. Like many good authors Mieville also has a talent for self-explanatory words and names and evocative metaphors.

The only real disappointment in this novel, then, is the ending. When the novel ends, it feels like a waste of material, a waste of all the wonderfully developed characters, the world. What is the purpose of such a rich creation, and such an interesting build-up, if the book simply ends in its middle? There is an entire parallel mystery storyline, about mysterious, horrifically powerful beings tailing Armada, the floating city on which much of the action happens, that really amounts to nothing and has no consequenses at all. Nothing really comes to anything. That is the problem.

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