02 November 2009

Servant of a Dark God (review)

Ok... Larry made an offer, and I accepted.

He offered a free copy of John Brown's book Servant of a Dark God to anyone willing to do a review. I got my copy a few days ago.

Those who know me, know I almost ALWAYS have my nose in a book: it's my One Great Weakness. My preferences are for fantasy and sci-fi: pure escapism.

I cut my teeth on Tolkien and Howard, and have since amassed a fairly eclectic library. Point of fact, most of the shelf space in our apartment is taken up with books.

So... how does Servant stack up?


First off, Brown manages to avoid what is (to me) one of the biggest problems with most fantasy today: "religion in the imaginary world". Most writers seem to just ignore the concept totally (which rings kinda hollow), or they pop accessories onto Jehovah. Neither idea really works. Brown crafted an entire religion for this story, and made it a central theme (without ever getting preachy). That alone is worth a bravo!

The meat of the story flows well. For those looking for typical sword & sorcery, check elsewhere: this isn't the standard "knight rides in, swings his sword around, and rescues the damsel". Instead, we have what feels like a retelling of the Crucible in a fantasy setting. But he does it without plodding, which makes the book fly by (three days is all it took me, cover to cover).

The character introductions are a bit confusing at first, but it doesn't take long to sort out who's who. Plot twists well (there were some "obvious" things that turned out differently than expected, which was refreshing). And what action is there, is handled fairly tightly

One thing that IS obvious at the end of the book: this is more of a prequel than anything else. Based on it, the rest of the series should be worthwhile!

Of course, now comes the biggest problem with new authors: the wait for "the rest of the story"!

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