Scar Night

Scar Night coverScar Night by Alan Campbell

550 pages long.



I started reading this almost begrudgingly, a good friend insisted I did. The slightly large print and apparent short chapters made me decide to have a go, and how glad I was when I finished the book. From a computer game developer to very good writer is a bit of a step. But he made it easily it seems.

Pollution; an ancient, crumbling civilisation, steeped in religion; great machines; the lower people scrounging to survive while loftier, governing people have easier lives, and a supernatural menace, all feel very Warhammer 40K. Alan takes this one step sideways and makes it his own however. This is a book about relationships, power, revenge or justice, and upholding one's ancestry. It tackles many character's aims for power or respect, and shows how they can often be found, or lost, in strange and unexpected ways.

I particularly liked how brave Alan was in some of his decisions concerning characters. His ability to sidestep should never be underestimated. Alan can make you doubt just which direction you think a chapter, character, or even the whole book will go. There are some areas that are predictable, but it is the little details that surprised me, and how that got to the point I was expecting it to.

It does have short chapters, and the print was a little on the medium to large side, so this, along with a good, flowing writing style makes it easy to read. But it is not repetition of similar works. This has its own individuality.

As book one of the Deepgate Codex, it is hard to imagine just how far this could stretch. A trilogy, easy, more than that, I'm not so sure. If I had one quibble, it is the vagueness of how the rest of the world fits into Deepgate's world. I still have some problem imagining exactly how the foundation chains and the Abyss work in tandem. Does the Abyss continue forever? Just how long is it? Why build the city above it? Perhaps this will become more clear to me in the other books? Perhaps I just missed the point? Please let me know how if you think I have.

As to characterisation, the main characters are well done and real enough in their colourful and vibrant ways. The Heshette felt a little underdone. I never quite got the feeling for them. They seemed a little too easily led.

I recommend this book for those who like a different slant on fantasy, especially those who like the dirty, cheating, lying, but occasional noble and determined fantasy. Its biggest strength lies in it ability to make me frown at having to wait for the next book. This should be a good thing, lets wait and see..

Enjoyment: 7, Depth: 7, Readability: 8, Layout: 6, Value: 7.

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Last updated: 11th August 2007