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1 Burnside Science Fiction and Fantasy- A to Z

Servant of a Dark God

by

Servant of a Dark God Cover

ISBN13: 9780765322357
ISBN10: 0765322358
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The launch of a towering new fantasy series introduces an elaborate new world, a strange and dark system of magic, and a cast of compelling characters and monsters. Young Talen lives in a world where the days of a person's life can be harvested, bought, and stolen. Only the great Divines, who rule every land, and the human soul-eaters, dark ones who steal from man and beast and become twisted by their polluted draws, know the secrets of this power.

This land's Divine has gone missing and soul-eaters are found among Talen's people. The Clans muster a massive hunt, and Talen finds himself a target. Thinking his struggle is against both soul-eaters and their hunters, Talen actually has far larger problems. A being of awesome power has arisen, one whose diet consists of the days of man. Her Mothers once ranched human subjects like cattle. She has emerged to take back what is rightfully hers. Trapped in a web of lies and ancient secrets, Talen must struggle to identify his true enemy before the Mother finds the one whom she will transform into the lord of the human harvest.

Review:

"In Brown's engrossing debut, the first installment of the Dark Gods saga, one of the mysterious Divines, godlike rulers capable of harvesting a person's life force, has vanished. Young Talen's relatively idyllic life is turned upside down when his family is accused of being 'soul-eaters' who worship a twisted god. Pursued by fearful clansmen and a nightmarish earthen monstrosity known only as Hunger, Talen begins to investigate his latent world-changing abilities. Soon he learns of his family's extensive role in the enigmatic Order, whose mission is to 'break the yoke of the Divines,' and the nature of the dark power that hunts them. Brown's narrative takes a few hundred pages to get up to speed, but the latter parts are breakneck-paced and action-packed. Patient readers will be rewarded with a thoroughly enjoyable fantasy adventure." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Reminiscent of L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s 'Recluce' novels and David Drake's 'Lord of the Isles' series and David Farland's 'Runelords' books, this well-wrought tale of families in conflict against both politics and religion represents a welcome addition to large-scale fantasy." Library Journal (starred review)

Review:

"Brown's system of magic, fueled by the days of a person's life, is distinctly different; his expansive fictional world is built on the foundation of giving, stealing, or selling life for power. A provocative, suspenseful beginning of a new series." Booklist

Synopsis:

The launch of a towering new fantasy series introduces an elaborate new world, a strange and dark system of magic, and a cast of compelling characters and monsters.

Synopsis:

The launch of a towering new fantasy series introduces an elaborate new world, a strange and dark system of magic, and a cast of compelling characters and monsters. Young Talen lives in a world where the days of a persons life can be harvested, bought, and stolen. Only the great Divines, who rule every land, and the human soul-eaters, dark ones who steal from man and beast and become twisted by their polluted draws, know the secrets of this power. This lands Divine has gone missing and soul-eaters are found among Talens people.

 The Clans muster a massive hunt, and Talen finds himself a target. Thinking his struggle is against both soul-eaters and their hunters, Talen actually has far larger problems. A being of awesome power has arisen, one whose diet consists of the days of man. Her Mothers once ranched human subjects like cattle. She has emerged to take back what is rightfully hers. Trapped in a web of lies and ancient secrets, Talen must struggle to identify his true enemy before the Mother finds the one whom she will transform into the lord of the human harvest.

Synopsis:

The stunning epic fantasy debut!

Young Talen lives in a world where the days of a person's life can be harvested, bought, and stolen. Only the great Divines, who rule every land, and the human soul-eaters, dark ones who steal days from man and beast, know the secrets of this power.

Now a being of awesome power, whose Mothers once ranched human subjects like cattle, feeding on their souls, has arisen in secret. And her monstrous, murderous pawn, a soul-bound creature created of wood and grass and rock roams the land. A massive and mis-directed hunt for soul-eaters is launched and Talen finds himself a target.  Trapped in a web of lies and secrets, Talen must identify his true enemy before the new Mother takes back what is rightfully hers.

About the Author

John Brown currently lives with his wife and four daughters in the hinterlands of Utah, where one encounters much fresh air, many goodhearted ranchers, and an occasional wolf.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Jvstin, January 23, 2010 (view all comments by Jvstin)
Disclaimer: I received this book via the Library Thing Early Reviewers program.

John Brown's Servant of a Dark God is a debut fantasy novel that spoils some of its very good elements with some frankly clumsy mistakes and misccues.

The fantasy world Brown posits a hierarchy of magical beings of which mankind sits at the bottom (although there are Gnostic hints this was once not the case) Magical power and talent is tightly and strictly controlled, and those who dare to use such magic are accused of "Slethery", that is to say, witchcraft. And yet there are those who practice and cultivate such arts in secret, both human and inhuman.

Servant of a Dark God focuses on a family in a land recently conquered by overseas invaders, and the dynamics of the rights of the overlord conquerors versus the native population adds to the complexity and depth of the world Brown has created. Characters have confused, divided and conflicting loyalties that shows a depth that many writers with far more experience than Brown never learn or bother to give to their characters and worlds. The magic and arcane aspects of the universe are a bit of a "jump in the deep end", but Brown's ideas are fresh and relatively unique and I liked learning more and more about how it actually worked.

Also, unlike the usual epic fantasy, this novel stays within and provides detail for a relatively narrow geographic area. There was no 1000 mile walks across the countryside. This is a local story, which is a nice change of pace from the usual novels of this type.


I would have highly enjoyed this novel, with all of these interesting elements, except for two major missteps.

First of all, the main character, Talen, was not one drawn well enough to be engaging and interesting enough for my taste. Brown manages to characterize and develop the secondary characters in a much better fashion than Talen, but since this is Talen's story, he gets the lion's share of the action and story. Worse, his story takes far too long to develop. It was a rough slog in the first third of the book, when one of the major mysteries of the novel was who stole Talen's work pants. I stuck it out, and matters improved, but my taste for Talen as a character was permanently ruined by a very weak opening.

Second, Brown is a little too complex and clever for his own good. The obfuscation in the novel can be thick and heavy, and while any writer must balance infodump with telling the reader nothing, I think Brown withheld too much information at certain points, to the determent of the narrative. While puzzling out some of this was a positive to reading the novel, in some cases, it only served as a millstone to the reader.

This book very nearly failed the "100 page test." By contrast, the last 100 pages of the novel were very good.

Overall, though, like some of the best from Sanderson, or Drake, the fantasy here is not of the cookie-cutter epic fantasy type that is eptiomized in the Tough Guide to Fantasyland. I am unsure if I want to continue with subsequent novels in the series, due to not warming up to Talen as a character, but I think I would be inclined to read other novels by this author otherwise in the future.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780765322357
Author:
Brown, John
Publisher:
Tor Fantasy
Subject:
Fantasy - General
Subject:
Fantasy fiction
Subject:
Fantasy - Epic
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Mass market paperback
Publication Date:
20101102
Binding:
Electronic book text in proprietary or open standard format
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
624
Dimensions:
6.74 x 4.18 x 0.96 in 1 lb

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z

Servant of a Dark God Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.95 In Stock
Product details 624 pages Tor Books - English 9780765322357 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In Brown's engrossing debut, the first installment of the Dark Gods saga, one of the mysterious Divines, godlike rulers capable of harvesting a person's life force, has vanished. Young Talen's relatively idyllic life is turned upside down when his family is accused of being 'soul-eaters' who worship a twisted god. Pursued by fearful clansmen and a nightmarish earthen monstrosity known only as Hunger, Talen begins to investigate his latent world-changing abilities. Soon he learns of his family's extensive role in the enigmatic Order, whose mission is to 'break the yoke of the Divines,' and the nature of the dark power that hunts them. Brown's narrative takes a few hundred pages to get up to speed, but the latter parts are breakneck-paced and action-packed. Patient readers will be rewarded with a thoroughly enjoyable fantasy adventure." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Reminiscent of L.E. Modesitt Jr.'s 'Recluce' novels and David Drake's 'Lord of the Isles' series and David Farland's 'Runelords' books, this well-wrought tale of families in conflict against both politics and religion represents a welcome addition to large-scale fantasy."
"Review" by , "Brown's system of magic, fueled by the days of a person's life, is distinctly different; his expansive fictional world is built on the foundation of giving, stealing, or selling life for power. A provocative, suspenseful beginning of a new series."
"Synopsis" by , The launch of a towering new fantasy series introduces an elaborate new world, a strange and dark system of magic, and a cast of compelling characters and monsters.
"Synopsis" by ,

The launch of a towering new fantasy series introduces an elaborate new world, a strange and dark system of magic, and a cast of compelling characters and monsters. Young Talen lives in a world where the days of a persons life can be harvested, bought, and stolen. Only the great Divines, who rule every land, and the human soul-eaters, dark ones who steal from man and beast and become twisted by their polluted draws, know the secrets of this power. This lands Divine has gone missing and soul-eaters are found among Talens people.

 The Clans muster a massive hunt, and Talen finds himself a target. Thinking his struggle is against both soul-eaters and their hunters, Talen actually has far larger problems. A being of awesome power has arisen, one whose diet consists of the days of man. Her Mothers once ranched human subjects like cattle. She has emerged to take back what is rightfully hers. Trapped in a web of lies and ancient secrets, Talen must struggle to identify his true enemy before the Mother finds the one whom she will transform into the lord of the human harvest.

"Synopsis" by ,

The stunning epic fantasy debut!

Young Talen lives in a world where the days of a person's life can be harvested, bought, and stolen. Only the great Divines, who rule every land, and the human soul-eaters, dark ones who steal days from man and beast, know the secrets of this power.

Now a being of awesome power, whose Mothers once ranched human subjects like cattle, feeding on their souls, has arisen in secret. And her monstrous, murderous pawn, a soul-bound creature created of wood and grass and rock roams the land. A massive and mis-directed hunt for soul-eaters is launched and Talen finds himself a target.  Trapped in a web of lies and secrets, Talen must identify his true enemy before the new Mother takes back what is rightfully hers.

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