A series of steampunk-fantasy novels by Alan Campbell, previously a member of the team who created the Grand Theft Auto games.Taking place in a particularly Crapsack World, the series begins in the peculiar city of Deepgate, a town built on a series of chains that span a vast abyss. Over three thousand years ago, the goddess who reigns over Heaven sealed it against humankind, damning all souls to Hell. Seven of her sons rebelled against her, and after a long war, they were cast out of Heaven as well. The oldest of those gods, Ulcis, is said to reside in the abyss below Deepgate; its church worships him, and the dead of Deepgate are sent down to him to give him an army for his second rebellion. After all, if your choice is to be the minion of a fallen god or to go to Hell, the former probably sounds like a much better idea.Of course, not everyone is particularly supportive of this idea. The Heshette, desert tribes who live outside of Deepgate, still worship the goddess and consider the people of the city to be the worst of heretics; the tribes and the city have been warring off and on for the past several centuries. Deepgate has been able to stay independent because of the power of the Spine—emotionless assassins specializing in poison—and Ulcis' archons, battle angels who have lived in the city since its creation.At the outset of the series, though, the archons have been dwindling in number, and Deepgate has come to rely on airship technology for their wars instead. Only two angels remain: One is sixteen-year-old Dill, who has lived a cloistered life in Deepgate's church, forbidden even from learning how to fly. He's pretty frustrated with the times having shunted him aside, and would love his own chance for adventure. His wish is granted when the church higher-ups assign Rachel, a scapegoat Spine, to teach him about combat—just when strange happenings have started to occur across the city.Oh, and have we mentioned yet that the only other angel is an Ax-Crazy serial murderer who's been the scourge of Deepgate for the past three thousand years?The Deepgate Codex series has four installments upon its conclusion this year: the three main books Scar Night, Iron Angel, and God of Clocks, as well as the novella Lye Street, which explores a bit of Carnival's past and introduces the Greene family. Interviews with the author can be found here and here.
The Deepgate Codex utilizes these tropes:
Abusive Parents: Rachel's dad neglected her, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not. Poor Carnival got holy shit levels of abuse from her father.
Alternate Universe: The time schisms are responsible for several of these. We see glimpses of a few of them. [[spoiler:The main timeline of the series seems to be the canon one, but there are several other happy worlds that will probably last as Alternate Continuity fragments.
Berserker Tears: Carnival, in the tower fight at the end of Lye Street/beginning of Scar Night.
Blood Magic: Angelwine is made from the blood of 13 people. (Blood is commonly referred to as 'soul' in the book; bodies drained of blood do not get to join Ulcis's army. This is what drives the B plot in Scar Night.) An injection of it is sufficient to bring Dillback to life. Though granted it does seem to work a bit differently for angels and humans. Humans it makes functionally immortal. Poor Carnival needs it, but has to get her fix by draining someone's blood once a month. Her body is covered in scars gouged into her body as repentance after each kill.
Breaking Speech: Ulcis gives Carnival a very ugly one towards the end of Scar Night, vicious enough to reduce her to tears and put her in a Heroic BSOD. Her Shut Up, Hannibal!, while somewhat delayed, is made all the sweeter because of it.
Bullying a Dragon: Carnival just can't catch a break. Granted, the people of Deepgate have a reason to hate her, but they go out of their way to blame every little thing on her and exaggerate the bad things she actually does.
Chained Heat: Towards the end of Scar Night, Rachel and Carnival are chained together by the ankle. Half of the time, the vitriolic situation gives Character Development to them both and their relationship. The other half, this leads to Back-to-Back Badasses. But whenever their priorities diverge, things get a little messy.
Cluster F-Bomb: Most of the cast, although Carnival is particularly notorious for it.
Common Eye Colors: At first appearing to subvert characters' natures, but actually hinting at hidden traits—Rachel is jaded and world-weary but shows a whimsical side when affectionately teasing Dill, and Mina is a flighty schemer but also very dependable, for instance.
Completely Different Title: the Italian editions of the three books are title "Il Raccoglitore d'Anime" ("The Harvester of Souls"), "Il Dio delle Nebbie" ("The God of Mists") and "Il Dio delle Anime" ("The God of Souls"); and while the first two ones are at least somewhat related to their plots, the last one... is not.
Deal with the Devil: In Lye Street, Sal Greene makes one to try to escape Carnival's vengeance on his family. After realizing just how demonic Basilis really is, Sal decides to go back on said deal. Crowning Moment of Awesome ensues.
Alice Harper, and need we mention just about every one of the Mesmerists?
Death by Childbirth: The mothers of all angels, since it seems that they pass their souls to their children then—angels do not have their own souls.
Heroic BSOD: Dill starts off Iron Angel in a state of deep trauma. Well, he did just get yanked out of Hell...
Carnival winds up in a rather nasty one towards the end of Scar Night. Thank God for Rachel.
Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Rachel is a little on the short side, and Carnival is only about average height, which makes them seem very small next to the giant bruisers of the cast (Mr. Nettle, John Anchor, Hasp)—even Dill, who's just plain lanky, is almost a foot taller than Rachel.
Laser-Guided Amnesia: Carnival. And it's progressive amnesia, too. At the end of the first book, it's implied that Ulcis was the one who prevented her from fully remembering her childhood (and much of anything else traumatic).
Not a Morning Person: In a macabre variant, right after Carnival refreshes her life by draining someone's blood, she can usually be found staggering around in a daze, not really comprehending what's going on around her and unable to remember very much. She's very much Not A Rebirth Person.
The Worf Effect: Suffered by Carnival, of all people a third of the way through Iron Angel.
Justified,however, because it's said straight in the prologue of Iron Angel that Anchor has absorbed as many souls as those in the Labyrinth ( i.e. Hell). Carnival has drunk many souls but not that many.
Viewers Are Geniuses: Most of the plot can be understood at face value, but a lot of important worldbuilding details are subtextual, especially all angels having their mothers' souls. Of course, the main plot sometimes gets so convoluted that the characters themselves complain that they don't get what's going on anymore.
Villain Decay: Devon in God of Clocks. Granted, he's making a return as a minor antagonist...