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Scar Night (Deepgate Codex, Book 1) Mass Market Paperback – November 27, 2007
The Amazon Book Review
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“Campbell’s debut may appeal most to those who like novels in the manner of Dickens ... whose highly evocative ... memorable style Campbell’s recalls.”—Booklist
“[A] stunning debut…. Campbell has Neil Gaiman's gift for lushly dark stories and compelling antiheroes.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
"A chain-wrapped industrial city so real you can feel the iron and smell the fumes—and a violent tale told in murderously beautiful prose."—Sharon Shinn, author of Archangel
"Vividly imagined, visceral and intensely involving...a stunning debut. I can’t wait to see what follows in the next volume."—Sarah Ash, author of the Tears of Artamon series
“With undead armies, psychotic angels and exploding airships, Scar Night is a gripping, ripping yarn which rattles along at a great pace. Tether all that to the knock-out image at the heart of the novel—Deepgate, a Gothic city built on a network of chains over a great abyss—and you have urban fantasy at its best.”—Hal Duncan, author of Vellum
From the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Alan Campbell was a designer and programmer for the internationally bestselling video game series Grand Theft Auto. Scar Night is his first novel.
From the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
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Protagonists DO something in a book. The antagonist lays a "problem" down, and the protagonist fixes the problem. So in the most basic of terms, you need three things in a story: a protagonist, an antagonist, and a problem.
And that's the problem.
Rachel (the assassin) is the protagonist. She makes stuff happen.
Who's the antagonist? Devon. But he's just a pre-protagonist, there's another, larger one, out there. Which is confusing too, since there are ostensible two antagonists in this story, and they have NOTHING to do with each other!!
What's the "problem"?
A-ha! What is the problem that our protagonist needs to solve?
I'm not really sure, and Campbell never really tells you until late, late in the book. And even then, we're not sure what the problem is.
I read the entire book, but about halfway through it, I looked around at my room and said, "What's the point? What's the problem they are trying to solve?"
And I couldn't come up with one. Campbell was just giving us a "day in the life" account of some folks, but never really telling us what the main problem was.
So you have a bunch of characters running around doing stuff, but you don't know why.
Here's a tip: Let us know what the problem is early. That way we know the stakes. Oh, and pick a protagonist. I have started reading the 2nd book (Shame on me, right?) and Dill's even less involved in the story so far than he was in book one. So by that, I have to think Rachel is the protagonist.
Who's with me!!
(Oh and what are the chains attached to? Seriously!)
The concept is an interesting concept. Fallen angels living in a chain city. The promise behind such a premise was enough to make me continue on and read to find out. But this is where the story begins to falter because of where the angels live. Two of them, a young angel and an immensely old angel, live in a city held together by chains above the abyss. This could be good as an intermediary to hell down below. The problem is that the city is held by chains, but it is connected to land. People live in squalor and fear, when all they have to do is walk away from the city and build their own community on land with deserts, trees, seas you name it. So what is the point of having a city suspended above the abyss? It makes no sense at all. Presumably because the city was put there to guard the abyss and as some sort of religious pretext for why their god chose that spot and built that city. But this is hard to get over, especially with an angry tribe marching to destroy the city.
Two other parts that ruin the book. A poisoner is somehow privy to exactly how Deepgate's military will fight and knows exactly how and what they will do militarily and politically. The logic behind this is just not there, leaving you with a flimsy reason to further the story. Finally the book culminates with a mad group of decaying angels (which, by the way, did have promise and it would have been much better if we would have seen more of them and what they could have done) flying after the two other angels out of the abyss. Yup, flying to the surface with no restrictions. So what is the point of staying in the abyss with no light, food or anything else except decaying flesh and dead bodies? None apparently, but it helped to facilitate the story so it was added to it.
I really can't say that I enjoyed Scar Night, although I won't necessarily go so far as to say it was horrible. It is a decent first book with a ton of room for improvement. I may read the next in the series if only to see if his writing improves and to see if the decaying angels make another appearance. Not a recommend.