This review is long over due, sorry for the delay. My masters class on school law has taken up most of my time.
Though I hate to use the term, because of the often negative connotations, The Scar is a spin-off of Perdido Street Station. Reviewed here. Reading the original story isn't necessary to understand or enjoy this story; however, I highly recommend it.
Mieville opens not with the main character, but with a beautifully described scene depicting an underwater hunter and his trained hunting squid. This scene gives the audience a sneak peek as to what horrors of the deep await our cast of characters. His use of language, as usual, is magnificient.
Our central character is Bellis Coldwine. She is fleeing to a newly founded colony to avoid an unknown entanglement with the New Crobuzon government, with the intention of returning home once it is safe. Bellis lies about her ability to speak the language of a sea-faring people in order to get passage to the colony. Bellis is a complex character, but I admit there were times I found it hard to like her.
In addition to taking colonists to the new colony, the ship is transporting Remade prisoners. Remades are people that have been punished for crimes they committed by being altered physically, usually by having horrible mechanical parts added to their body or replacing a body part. In the course of the ship's travels to the colony they are abducted by a floating pirate city, Armada. It is run by the Lovers. Once you are a part of Armada, you are not allowed to leave. This results in much inner turmoil for Bellis.
There are many more interesting characters in the book, and you do find out how it links back to Perdido Street Station. The story is complex and well-written. There are dramatic sea battles and tender moments. I recommend this if you love language, pirate tales, fantasy stories, or steampunk. Enjoy.