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Scar Night by Alan Campbell
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Scar Night

by Alan Campbell

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Deepgate Codex (1)

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9362014,491 (3.51)36
For nine hundred generations, the city of Deepgate has hung suspended by giant chains over a seemingly bottomless abyss. In the unfathomable darkness below is said to reside the dread god Ulcis, "hoarder of souls", with his army of ghosts. Outside the city extend the barren wastes of Deadsands, inhabited by the enemy Heshette, so that safe access is guaranteed only by a fleet of airships. At the hub of the city itself rises the Temple, in one of whose many crumbling spires resides a youthful angel, Dill, the last of his line. Descendant of heroic battle-archons, yet barely able to wield the great sword he has inherited from his forebears, he lives a sheltered existence under the watchful eye of Presbyter Sypes, who rules the Temple. For despite his sense of purposelessness, Dill has a destiny about to unfold - one that will take him down into terrifying depths of the pit in a desperate quest to save the teeming but precarious city from total annihilation at the hands of a cunning and resourceful traitor. This magnificent and colourful epic of urban fantasy, the first in a trilogy, opens up an intricate new world of unforgettable characters and thrilling events, in the best tradition of Gormenghast.… (more)
  1. 10
    Thunderer by Felix Gilman (Sakerfalcon)
    Sakerfalcon: Strange goings-on in mysterious, labyrinthine cities. Both books share similar strengths and weaknesses.
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» See also 36 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
To quote the blurb: "Suspended by chains over a seemingly bottomless abyss, the ancient city of Deepgate is home to a young angel, an assassin, and a psychotic murderer hungry for revenge—or redemption. But soon a shocking betrayal will unite all three in a desperate quest...."

There is so much more to this book. I felt that it had a great premise and intriguing characters. I thought it was tightly plotted and I was never bored while reading it.

I won't say that IT WAS THE BEST BOOK EVAR!!!1!!! or anything, bu ti really did like it and would recommend it to people who like this genre. ( )
  Sarah_Buckley | Sep 17, 2016 |
I've read this book twice. Unlike a couple of other reviewers, I found enough to interest me that I bought the rest of the series.

Scar Night has a lot of possibility. Campbell has built an intriguing, steampunk-ish, 'is it F or SF?' world around the city of Deepgate, suspended above a truly deep and dark abyss. He's put interesting people in the world, and the story itself was strong enough to leave me wanting answers to some of the mysteries.

Unfortunately, Campbell also skimps on some of the scene setting. Even after the second read-through, I'm still not entirely clear on how the city is suspended. Campbell spends quite a lot of time talking about chains, ropes, and rings, but it's only very late in the book that we get much in the way of helpful description. So I spent much of the first reading trying to figure out what was where, what all the chains connected to, and why.

[not really a spoiler, but ...] As far as I could tell, there are 99 chains made out of a meteorite alloy, and hooked at one end to various points along the sides of the chasm (which may be circular and really more of a pit). At the other end, the 'foundation' chains are supporting one or more huge rings of the same metal. These rings form the support for the Deepgate cathedral. The chains are cross-linked, and these links support the various neighbourhoods of the city.

The story is similarly opaque on a number of other fronts. The uncertainty only works in the story's favor on the F or SF angle; the rest of the time it's more frustrating than intriguing. (An exception is the deliberate mystery about the base of the abyss. The reveal is a bit of a letdown, but a few pages into the sequel, [b:Iron Angel|2598001|Iron Angel (Deepgate Codex #2)|Alan Campbell|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1266953288s/2598001.jpg|2895252], that may improve.)

Deepgate exudes a very Gormenghastian feel, but it's not clear to what end. The writing is not as polished as one might hope. Still, I'm happy to say that it does improve on a second reading. There's quite a lot of detail - if not quite world-building, at least world-ornamenting.

I can recommend this for fans of Mervyn Peake and steampunk. For readers who have trouble working out the engineering, as I did, I recommend looking at the above spoiler, and letting it go at that. ( )
  BMorrisAllen | May 14, 2013 |
I probably wouldn't have purchased this book, but it was a selection of my sci-fi book group for August 2011. It was darker than I would select for beach read, but it was an easy read that held my interest. The story is old, a fight between good and evil. It also addresses superstitions and blindly following faith due to fear. The descriptions are vivid and lead you through Scar Night, a night feared by most of the inhabitants. ( )
  LeHack | Aug 7, 2011 |
Meh. ( )
  annesadleir | Apr 26, 2011 |
Alan Cambell’s Deepgate Codex is a dark, grimy, Gothic fantasy with elements of dark humor and horror. This thrilling saga is consistently anything but predictable or mundane. It is a madcap tumble through bizarre, lunatic landscapes. Just when you think you know what is coming, guess again!

Scar Night drew me in with descriptions of a city suspended by chains – all crumbling walls and leering gargoyles. The stunning imagery quickly brings the city and characters to life. The story was gripping, with brilliantly developed characters, great concepts, and a spectacular cliffhanger ending. Each character is likable in their own way, and, if not likable, then certainly intriguing.

I highly recommend this trilogy for fans of Scott Lynch, Patrick Rothfuss and George R.R. Martin. Like Martin and Lynch, Campbell is not afraid to kill off main characters… although they do not always stay dead… ( )
  bookgirlokc | Jul 13, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Campbell, Alanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Youll, StephenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my Dad, who might occasionally have scratched his head at my dreams and ambitions, but has never failed to do everything he could to help me achieve them.
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Chains snarled the courtyard beneat the derelict cannon foundry in Applecross: spears of chain radiating at every angle, secured into walls with rusted hooks and pins, and knitted together like a madwoman's puzzle.
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Average: (3.51)
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