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!
As I rolled through the last few dozen pages of China Miéville’s The Scar on my way home from work, not only do I make good on my threat-promise to bombard you with yet another book post before you probably got a chance to read the last one, but I realized what this novel reminded me of:
A young woman, who is swept away to a strange land filled with dark magic and strange characters. Because of who she is and what she knows she becomes a tool for opposing forces to wage a battle that she doesn’t entirely understand, while she acts to protect her fragile friendships and guard the helpless beings she seemingly dragged into the odd world with her. She is used and manipulated by powerful figures, helps to uncover a convoluted plot to control the populous, and leans for help on a strong but morally blurry figure who is simultaneously using her yet caring for her. And all she really wants to is to go home.
So, the allusions to the Wizard of Oz may not be so parallel, but I like both books so perhaps I’m just seeing overlap where none exists.
As promised in my previous post, written earlier today when I needed to get a hundred and fifty pages of this novel off my chest but wasn’t sure when I was actually going to finish –so I wrote a short note about it to hold me over even though now I’m done reading and I’m writing another post about it not twelve hours later– I’m giving this novel a four out of five.
It’s not perfect. But it’s good.
In times it is far too dense and far too tongue twisting, and even I –who has deep affection for world creation and magical universes– gets bogged down in made up jargon for made up things influencing made up ideas. I love it, but it was very thick-like-syrup in spots, and you really need to be in the mood for that. Often, sitting on the train before that first cup of coffee on a random Tuesday morning… that’s not the right mood. Thus, I struggled with getting through this for a couple weeks, particularly when we were in the middle of an angsty election and too while dealing with other weighty life-type things.
As I near the end of this little reading project for the year –only TWO MORE to go in 2015– I am now curious. As I’ve set my goal for 2016 to RE-READ twenty-five books, I think –maybe as the summer rolls in– that I’ll be adding the not-a-prequel Perdido Street Station into that list for a second go. I’m not one hundred percent back on the steampunk wagon –or dirigible, whatever– but I think China Miéville has piqued my interest with The Scar, both in the genre and in his fiction.
So, I read on.