A colossal fantasy of incredible diversity and spellbinding imagination. Damian Lynch narrates China Mieville's British Fantasy Award-winning novel of human cargo bound for servitude in exile.
A pirate city hauled across the oceans.... A hidden miracle about be revealed.... These are the ingredients of an astonishing story. It is the story of a prisoner's journey. Of the search for the island of a forgotten people, for the most astonishing beast in the seas, and ultimately for a fabled place - a massive wound in reality, a source of unthinkable power and danger.
©2002 China Mieville (P)2011 Audible Ltd
"The Scar demonstrates enough invention and brutal energy, firmly ruled by a calm architectonic intelligence, to show that Miéville is one of the most imaginative young writers around in any kind of fiction." (The Guardian)
"The Scar is a feat of the imagination, a rich reclamation of the pleasures of every genre. It's also a caution against imagination, a sobering look at the chaos left in the wake of every mad visionary." (Kim Newman, The Independent)
"Mieville's creatures end up none the wiser, but there is nothing uncertain about his confidence in his own inventions. And it is wonderfully infectious; Armada, like New Crobuzon, has the feel and complexity of a living place - it's just that you wouldn't want to live there." (Andrew McKie, Sunday Telegraph)
Damian Lynch couldn't ruin one of my favourite books for me, but he gave it a real go. He stumbles and brachiates through the sentences as if each one were a tongue-twister (although, to be fair, it IS Miéville), reading nouns as verbs and verbs as nouns and not really betraying any understanding of what he's reading. Perhaps the most troubling part is that a disturbing number of these errors, even when picked up on and re-read by Mr Lynch, have not been edited out (I counted five untouched gaffes in one unhappy half-hour), possibly due to the soporific monotone in which the story is read. China Miéville is one of my very favourite authors, and I'm quite sad to see Mr Lynch has been further involved in the presentation of his works, not least of all because, of those books, The Scar would seem to be the MOST hospitable to Mr Lynch's tendency to give every character with an accent a Caribbean lilt. Susan Duerden's performance of Embassytown was vastly superior, and I'd hoped I'd get to hear her as Bellis Coldwine. No such luck. Boo.
"A Stunning, Thought Provoking Read"
China Mieville has got to be one of the hardest working authors I've ever read. He puts stunning little side plots and nuggets into his fiction that would be a whole novel to a lesser writer! Anyway...
The Scar is a fascinating story that develops around a lady running away from her home city and finding a city like she never dreamed. Full of danger, intrigue, the strange and familiar it calls to our heroine (Bellis) and she is torn between love and fear of her lost home.
When the chance comes to betray her new, floating, home in Armada she does but ultimately is a pawn in a larger game. The small cog in a larger wheel is a recurring theme in CM's work and is appealing as a starting point for character development. On the subject of characters, the diversity, depth and sheer imagination of CM's vision is amazing.
My only criticism of CM's stories is, and please bear in mind I'm a fan of Perdido Street Station, Iron Council and The Scar, that I never like the way the stories end. It's my personal opinion only.
This is a great, sweeping, imaginative story that will take you from the familiar ie politics (Mr Mieville like the theme) to philosophy to religion and beyond, all in an easily accessible 'steampunk' past-present.
Give it a try, you'll enjoy!
"Good overall, but....."
Good overall, but there is some very careless editing where several passages are read twice (presumably due to the reader making an error such as using an incorrect inflection the first time which has subsequently not been edited out)....only a sentence or so each time, but detracts from an otherwise enjoyable listen.....
"not too bad"
I wasn't sure about carrying on with this series because I had mixed feelings about Perdido St Station (long, exhausting but ultimately quite satisfying). I should say that The Scar is not at all a sequel to the previous book, it's simply set in the same world with the occurrences from Perdido only peripheral comments to this story. In The Scar, I liked some of the concepts, and many of the characters had potential but they never really followed through. For all that the story should have been epic, it actually all felt a bit pointless by the end. The narrator was ok but I much preferred the chap who did the previous novel. I think his grandiose style better suited the story. In summary, it was ok, some good bits, some tension but, to be honest, I was a bit indifferent about the fate of the characters by the end. I'd say it's worth a credit if you enjoyed the Bas Lag setting but I wouldn't put it at the top of your wishlist.
"Compelling story, poor narration"
The story is great but Lynch seems to struggle to handle what sounds like a clumsy sight reading of the text.
As usual Mieville's work crackles with great ideas, weird landscapes and a rich, deep world building
The contrast between the dialogue, which pops with personality, and the narrative which stumbles under a stilted delivery of two to three sentence chunks really grates after a while.
Sadly, it inspired me to stop listening
"as imaginative as the first"
great narrator brings Mielville's strange mind to life. brisker than Perdido Street, just as good.
"A great series of books let down by the narration"
I love China Mieville but I can't recommend the audiobooks.
There seems to have been a lot of odd choices when it comes to the narrators and I feel Damian Lynch's reading style, even voice, doesn't really suit the theme.
I've read a lot of similar sentiments about this and his other audiobooks in the series and that is what spurned me to write this short comment and confirm what others have said.
"Sorry to say ..."
This is just not read well: I've thought about this a lot, and I think the problem is that he doesn't sound as though he believes what he's reading (always tricky, of course, with Mieville's amazing worlds). It sounds as though he's reading a children's story..Harry Potter maybe, where the grown-ups know it's not real ...
I love Mielville's writing and the battle scenes are excellently written.
disappointment, I think
"A scar that leaves no mark"
Without a doubt a fantastic premise to a story, adventure and piracy, mystery and intrigue like great fishing hooks plunged in to my ear holes; gripping but led by a painful protagonist.
Damian Lynch is at times evocative and at others bland.
I would consider this a spoiler but ultimately the only real thing to be said about the whole novel:
An adventure to the unknown that results in almost arriving then turning back. Maybe in some possibility this book ends without the numb sensation of apathy that it left in me.
"Enjoyable, but fell a little flat"
I was impressed by some of the descriptive passages, the pacing of the book was good and the characters were very well developed. The protagonist was particularly well done, I felt I wouldn't have liked her in real life, yet she was interesting enough for that not to spoil my enjoyment of her story. The scope of the world and the city the majority of the story was set in was very interesting and I think it's a combination of all these good things that made me a little disappointed that more wasn't done with them.
There is some discussion of the different interactions between people and the nature of betrayal which was done in a dispassionate and interesting manner, but I was left feeling that the majority of the book was setup for something that didn't quite materialise.
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