first i should say: this is probably my favorite of the bas-lag books. i really liked iron council in the end arithmetic, & while i had some problems with perdido street station, it was at the very least interesting. this book was engaging, interesting, the whole nine (9) yards. i will say one very condemning thing about it, & be done with that: the main character is pretty unlikeable. i'd heard that from some people recommending the book to me, & it turns out to be...true! which reminds me of perdido street station a little, in that perdido... had two main characters for half the book, then midway through he sacrificed the interesting (female) character to add pathos to the dull (male) character. the main character of the scar splits the difference: uninteresting (female) character. still, the side characters, antagonists, all that rot? really gets you hook, line, & sinker. uther doul? that guy is a hilarious mess. the brucolac? & his moonship? how great is that. tanner sack? bravest guy in all the books, mister lets remake myself. fennec? fucker, what a great piece of a shit. great.
the plot keeps you moving. lofty, grand schemes, but with a perfect sense of scale. it can be hard, especially in fiction this fabulous, to lend a sense of importance & difficulty. how important is a train town utopia in the scheme of bas-lag? or some bad dreams & a few eaten brains? in the scar, you get a sense of just what is at stake, with each of the clarifications. settings? man, from armada to the remnants of the malarial queendom, the settings are vivid & pleasing. i guess i liked this book a lot, huh? another thing i will say: what the eff is up with londoners? with the brits in particular. new crobuzon is dripping with that cctv-big-brother paranoia of the british dystopians. it makes it tough: like, you have to give gotham something to make batman care about it, guy. i guess that falls into the category of "what the fuck, protagonist?" mentioned above.