CScott Morris's Reviews > Scar Night

Scar Night by Alan Campbell
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's review
Aug 31, 2010

it was amazing
Recommended for: Fans of Steampunk, Horror, Dark Fantasy
I own a copy , read count: 2

lan Campbell is a designer and programmer for Grand Theft Auto, not exactly the type of person you would expect to write a Dark Fantasy/Steampunk novel like this.

But man, this guy is multi-talented.

Scar Night takes place in a wonderfully dark world, where blood is the currency of both heaven, and hell. Long ago, God closed the gates of hell, in a fit of anger at the evilness of mankind. Her sons rose up with an army of angels, but lost, and were cast down to earth and imprisoned. On such son was Ulcis, god of chains, bound in a deep abyss. Humans have built the city of Deepgate, above their god's prison, suspended above the abyss by chains. Ulcis collects the souls of the faithful, lest they be consumed by the Maze of Hell, and once he has enough, plans on ascending once again to wage war upon his mother. Deep Gate, once no more than a shrine and source of pilgrimages, is now a military might thanks to their Airships and Poisons.

Thousands of years later, the city sags in it's tired chains, decadent and corrupt. Dill, last of the Angels descended from Ulcis' herald, is about to reach the age of manhood. He is kept locked in a tower by priests, where he can do no harm, and he is forbidden from flying.

There is one other angel in Deepgate, Carnival. Thousands of years old and entirely mad, Carnival hunts the city of Deepgate one night a month, Scar Night, when the moon is no more than a thin scar in the night sky. She kills, then consumes the blood of her victims. And the Spine(the tempered assassins of the Church) have hunted her for a millennia.

This book is lushly dark and a terrific read. Campbell's imaginative world is full of devious characters that you cannot help but love to hate(or hate to love), like the charismatic yet creepy Master Poisoner Devon, the determined Mr Nettle, the foppish priest Fogwill Crumb, the ancient Presbyter Sypes and even the earnest yet young Dill.

I highly recommend this book, if you enjoy horror or dark fantasy or steampunk. The sequel, Iron Angel, was not nearly so enjoyable for me. Iron Angel took place in Hell, which was incredibly detailed and I loved Campbell's twists, but it simply did not hold nearly as much interest to me as Scar Night did. Most of the characters in Iron Angel were gods, the brothers of Ulcis, or powerful beings in the Maze of Hell, or even men trained to fight deamons. They were all to powerful, in my opinion. Part of what made Scar Night so good, were the nobody characters, Dill and Nettle and Sypes even Devon, who turned out to be a right bastard(but at least you understood his motivations, and even cant help rooting for him).

Five of Five stars, four stars for sequel.
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