Review: The Scar (New Crobuzon Book 2 of 3)

The Scar - China MiƩville

I had mixed feelings about this book but, overall, I liked it. The Scar is the second book in the New Crobuzon series, but it stands alone perfectly well. It has a connection to the first book, but it’s not one you have to understand in order to appreciate the story in the second book.


There are a few different characters whose points of view we read from, but the vast majority of the story is told from the perspective of a woman named Bellis. In the beginning we learn that Bellis believed she was in danger in her home city so she took passage on a ship headed for a new colony that was being built far away. Her plan was to live and work at the new colony until it was safe to go back home. Things did not go as planned. In fact, “things did not go as planned” pretty much serves as a summary for this book.


When I read the previous book, the setting intrigued me but I didn’t really get into the story until I had read about 25% of it. With this book, it was different. I was quite interested in the story at the very beginning, and I liked the new and interesting places that we encountered. Somewhere along the way, though, my interest in the story completely dropped off and I started feeling a little bored. Half way through, things picked up again and I was interested in the story again. I liked the story in the first book better, but this one did grow on me and by the end I didn’t want to put it down.


The end… geez. All I’ll say is that it leaves the reader with a lot of possible answers to a lot of open questions. At first, when I realized that the book was almost over and that I was headed for a very open-ended finish, I was pretty annoyed. But by the time I got to the very end, the author had kind of convinced me that the end was very fitting. So I have mixed feelings about it. I can appreciate what the author did, but I’ve never liked being left with open questions I’m not likely to ever get the answers to. There’s one more book in this series, but I don’t have any expectations that I’ll get any answers there. The first book was a little open-ended also, although nowhere near the same scale as this one, and this book didn’t tell us anything about what happened with the characters from the first book. I expect the same from the next book.


I plan to read the next book, but a library hold I’ve been waiting on for months finally came through so I’m going to take a break and read that first before coming back to finish up this series. (Random soapbox sidebar for Overdrive users: If you happen to finish a borrowed e-book before its due date, please be kind to your fellow library patrons and check it back in instead of letting it sit there on your account for several more days until it expires!)