Mark Lawrence's Reviews > Scar Night

Scar Night by Alan Campbell
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Apr 17, 14

Read from August 24 to October 26, 2011

I've been reading Scar Night for 8 whole weeks! I don't get a lot of time to read but the 8 weeks is only partly a reflection of that.

For whatever reason, the first half of Scar Night didn't grip me. On the other hand I've given up on a fair number of best selling fantasy books between page 50 & 100 when they've not worked for me - and I didn't give up on Scar Night. What kept me in the game were the facts that Scar Night has excellent prose, good description, good dialogue, and tremendous imagination. I think it was simply the characters that for the longest time didn't win me over.

Eventually though the story sunk its hooks in me and I started to care a bit about the characters (and considerably more about what was going to happen).

Possibly because I'm not the widest read fantasy fan (I'm wide read, but have a narrow window on fantasy), I found Scar Night to be unlike any other tale I've read. It felt in no way derivative, and that freshness is a big plus. The city of Deepgate, hung on chains above a seemingly bottomless pit, is a fantastic work of imagination, brought to life at each turn. And the characters, whilst the least gripping part of the ensemble for me, were certainly not cliched and certainly were interesting. It was on an emotional level they failed to engage me.

So, with 90% of the required raw ingredients for an excellent fantasy Campbell sets to work and does a great job. By the end I was fully sold on the story and as the tempo picked up and we bounced from cliff-hanging thread to cliff-hanging thread I was thoroughly enjoying it all.

At the end the 'bottom of the bottomless pit' stuff was somewhat anti-climactic, but when something is built up for so long it's near impossible to fulful expectations & the mystery of it was used to great effect for a long time - so that's ok.

I can certainly recommend the read and I'll be trying another Campbell book one of these days.

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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Jeffrey Keeten I was really pleasantly surprised by this book. I have steadily picked up his new books as they have released and need to dig into the rest of the series. If you haven't read Steph Swainston her Castle books also gripped me the same way this book did.


Anthony Snow I was shocked to find how much I enjoyed this whole series...mainly because the author of this also works on Grand Theft Auto, which means I should have found a book full of sex jokes and guns, and not an enjoyable fantasy. I recommend you read the other 2 books (I haven't read the prequel myself). It stays good.


Mark This was a random pickup at Borders years ago and the whole series is up near the top of my lists. Iron Angel and God of Clocks were both really good as well.


Mark Lawrence I have book 2, just not the time to read it...


Mark John Anchor. An all-time favorite.


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