Twenty-Fifteen: I have been doing something that I had been putting off for far too long. I’ve gotten serious about reading, again. I’ve dusted off my paperbacks and charged up my Kindle. It has been a year to take the time to feed my poor television-adled brain with a selection of healthy, nourishing fiction. So, read on, little brain. Read on. We’ve been going Book to the Future!
I’m starting to feel the pressure of the year creeping up on me. November is shaping up to be a very busy month, and here I am, barely two weeks into my third-to-last novel, China Miéville’s The Scar, and I’m just past the half way mark.
I will say that the first few chapters were a slog.
A worthy slog, it turns out. A slog-worthier novel could probably be found, yes, but this slog has been mine and yet I don’t mind it.
The slog has come in the form a boatload of exposition… or should I say a hundred floating boatloads lashed together into a floating pirate fortress on the vast and unforgiving ocean, replete with a cast of deranged and curious characters. If nothing else, the setting is ripe with steampunk awesomeness and the world that Miéville has created is rich and layered, and of course populated with so many variety of cleverly nuanced characters, some background and some very much in the fore, that this read has been worth it for the feeling of the book alone.
The plot has been nudging me along, too. But I’m not going to presume to be so bold as to allude to the slightest possibility of a suggestion that I might give you the impression that I know where it’s going. Maybe that’s a good thing. I’ve been able to spot the ending coming a couple chapters in while reading a lot of the books this year. A clever writer will drop hints and create foreshadowing that you can pick up on and so when you get to the end you close the book and say: “yup… it all made sense in the end.” A more clever writer will do the same thing, but you won’t even see it coming. I’m hoping Miéville is the latter.
Until then, the floating world of this novel, it’s unique sentient monsters and its dark and devious characters, will need to hold my attention long enough to find out what they’re all up to, after all.