Mark Lawrence's Reviews > Scar Night

Scar Night by Alan Campbell
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's review
Aug 24, 2011

really liked it
Read from August 24 to October 26, 2011 , read count: 1

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 fulfil 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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Reading Progress

03/07/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-13)

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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.

message 11: by Mark (new) - rated it 5 stars

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.

message 10: by Mark (new) - rated it 4 stars

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

Mark John Anchor. An all-time favorite.

message 8: by Gabrielle (new)

Gabrielle makes me want to re read it, I put this down after reading the first 30 pages a long time ago

Craig Campbell's second (unfinished) trilogy, The Gravedigger Chronicles, is even better.

Janne This series was good, but like Craig said, The Gravedigger Chronicles is way better, sad it hasn´t gotten the recognition it deserves.

Brenda I agree that the first half wasn't as engaging, but yeah. What an imagination, eh? Such amazingly unique imagery and mythology. I thoroughly enjoyed the other two books in the series.

message 4: by Yami (new)

Yami cos of ur review i got me a copy...

Alan The first was better than sequel unfortunately

message 2: by Peter (new)

Peter I have had this one on my shelf for a while. Glad to hear it is decent!

Paul Russell This book had huge promise, so much so that it had me begging for more. Completely other worldly eye candy. Then, as the trilogy proceeded, it promptly transformed into the biggest drop-off-a-cliff POS I've ever read. He needs to rethink his plot completely and do me the honor of rewriting the series, for god's sake at least the second two books. His descriptions are so beautiful and darkly fascinating that I was enthralled by them. Descriptions of hellish realms of the likes that I have never imagined, and then: splat! Sorry, I ran out of inspiration. Have a completely unacceptable ending that shows complete lack of patience and writing skill whatsoever. I would suggest, MAYbe, reading the first book, and try being satisfied with that.

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