Jared Millet's Reviews > Blackdog

Blackdog by K.V. Johansen
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Feb 15, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, gods, epic-fantasy, wizards, inner-worlds-book-club
Read from December 27, 2011 to February 14, 2012

I appreciate an author who isn't afraid to be cruel to her characters. Even more, I appreciate an author able to create a fresh, memorable fantasy setting without following the current fads of the market (urban/steampunk/etc). Most of all, the blessings of the Old Great Gods themselves on K.V. Johansen for telling her story in a single, complete volume as opposed to the standard 7-book epic we've come to expect.

The story is simple: bad guy drives good guys from home, good guys go on a journey of personal growth, then return to kick ass. It's the world and characters of Blackdog that make it shine. The author seems to take her cues not from European romance, but from the geography and peoples of central Asia. There are gods of the earth and goddesses of lakes and rivers, but unlike most fantasy there is no royalty. Instead, the book is populated by a plethora of well-drawn characters who actually work for a living, who have to overcome the struggle of surviving day-to-day on top of rising against a demonic overlord, and who have no great crowning glory to return to once all the battles are over.

My only complaints, and they're minor, would be that there are so many little characters that by the end they start to bleed into each other, that the book sprawls maybe a little more than it has to, and that some of the names are extremely hard to pronounce even in your head (Gods forbid you try to say them out loud). Nevertheless, I have a feeling that this book and its world will be sticking around in the back of my head for quite a while. Nicely done.
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