Del Rey, Jul 2002, 18.95, 640 pp.
The Terpsichoria leaves New Crobuzon bound for a colony with convicts, slaves, and a few paying customers needing to leave the city by any means possible on board. Among the passengers is desolate Bellis Coldwine. The astringent woman has been exiled from the great city.
The seafaring voyage turns nasty when pirates board the ship. Most of those sailing on the Terpsichoria are worthless to the pirates and killed. However, some including Bellis are taken prisoner to the corsair's haven, the floating island of ships, Armada. There they will either die or help the evil leadership with magic that could destroy all humanity. However, Bellis finds allies and tries to develop a third option.
THE SCAR may be the fantasy tale of the year as the dark story line makes the reader feel as if he or she has entered Armada, so graphically described that the weird civilization seems real. The plot consists of plenty of action, but it is the leagues and depths of the water world and its strange yet authentic feeling populous that makes the novel so entertaining. Award winning China Mieville (see Perdido Street Station) is bound to more than just receive nominations; she is going to win many trophies for this strong story.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner