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Servant of a Dark God

(The Dark God #1 - original version)

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  604 ratings  ·  97 reviews
This is an obsolete edition. The author completely revised and updated the book. The new version is titled Servant and was released November, 2013.

A spirited blacksmith's daughter accused of using the dark and terrifying sleth magic.

The young man who hunts her.

And the ferocious monster who only wants to be free.

Trapped in a web of lies and ancient secrets, of right bec
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by Tor Books
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3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  604 ratings  ·  97 reviews

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Mar 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Okay. Let's face it. You pick up a fantasy book these days and think two things: 1. I wonder how many decades it's gonna take for the series to actually be completed, and 2. how soon will they be on the road?

Imagine my complete shock and delight to realize that THIS IS A STANDALONE NOVEL! Not part of a series! AND, AND, AND, at page 100 I literally said out loud, "Holy frak, I don't think they're going to go on a quest! They're actually going to stay home and solve their problems!"

Peter E.  Frangel
Jul 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I remember the first fantasy novel I fell in love with. Magician: Apprentice, by Raymond E. Feist. If you’ve never read the Riftwar Saga, than you’re missing out. Needless is it for me to say that after finishing all four books of that series, I went on a search…a hunt of sorts. I needed to find a novel or a series of novels that would quench my cravings for the type of world and mastery of the language that R.E. Feist had shown me. Throughout the years, I’ve found some that were lacking to acco ...more
Dale Cooper
Oct 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, series
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
John Brown’s debut, and the first in a new series, is a blend of both classic fantasy tropes and more modern themes. With its unassuming boy hero it might be easy to write this off as a return to the farm hands and kitchen help of fantasy’s yesteryear but Brown, through delicate crafting of his world manages to avoid this potential pitfall creating something that, while it hearkens back the roots of classic fantasy, manages to become something slightly different.

The world of Servant of a Dark on
Paul Weimer
Jan 23, 2010 rated it liked it
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
Chris Hawks
Nov 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Hum. Hrm. Where to start? I enjoyed Servant of a Dark God, for the most part. In general, books I enjoy get 3 stars as a baseline rating, to be modified in full- or half-star increments depending on my feelings toward the book. Overall, John Brown's debut novel did enough right to avoid a 2.5-star rating, but not enough to earn 3.5 stars.

What did it do right? First off, there's an interesting magic system. Essentially, the consumption of life-force as a kind of magical power source. Not a brand
May 04, 2010 rated it it was ok

I purposely left three books, Servant of a Dark God, Warbreaker, and The Undaunted, until the end of my reading for the Whitney Awards, and not because I wanted to reward myself with good books at the end. These were all big, huge books, and two of them, Servant of a Dark God and Warbreaker, are science fiction (and not just science fiction, but the Tolkien-esque "secondary creation" kind of science fiction that I avoid with all costs). So as I write this review, keep in mind that I was stepping
May 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
I never read fantasy. This is the first Tor published book I've ever read. I've picked up a few recommended by fantasy loving friends but was never able to get through them. After hearing author John Brown speak and visiting with him at the signing table, I purchased his book determined to get through it if it killed me.

Well, I wondered at times about the strange names and references to odd things completely foreign to reality. However, I carried on and by the time I finished it, I was thinking
Feb 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
I probably would have gone with 3 1/2 stars if I could have. The premise is great, and the world was interesting. Some parts were beautifully written, others a big ragged and needed polishing. I felt like a lot of the magic and world building was hastily thrown in, with the reader having to figure out more than we should--but then other parts dragged, especially the end. (It's odd when you find yourself skimming what's supposed to be a climactic battle scene.) Overall, it's a pretty good book, b ...more
Matt Heppe
Sep 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Review: Servant of a Dark God

The novel’s events take place in a world where the use of magic is strictly controlled by powerful magic wielders know as Divines. A rebel group, the Order, is secretly growing their organization in the hope they will one day overthrow the Divines. When one of the rebels is exposed, Talen, a young farm boy, finds himself caught in the middle of the ensuing conflict.


The novel does not have a single protagonist, nor does it have a single point of view. The ma
Carrie Hinkel-Gill
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone liking a good adventure!
I really enjoyed this book! In fact, I felt sad putting it down, and I really didn't want to give it back to the library. Thank you to the library I go to for putting this book on a display by the checkout counter where you come in - I never would have discovered it otherwise!

It had a slow beginning. In fact, I felt that the story really didn't begin until Chapter 3. That's where I got sucked in! Plus, while Talen, Nettle and some of the other characters appear well defined and developed, I fel
Dec 28, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
This is a first novel and to some extent you can tell that. It is overly ambitious or complex in the delving of fantasy that it portends. David Drake has been quoted and he too says it is complex. Perhaps that is where I get lost. In the beginning we see the world through the eyes of a young man not quite a full man (college age perhaps) and he has a view of the world that is slightly different from the view we have of the world by the end of the story.

That it changes as we read the book is detr
Russell Anderson
Jun 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
The story is set in a somewhat prototypical feudal society, complete with ethnic friction and the typical forward-thinking (read human-rights minded) individuals and the seemingly ever-prejudiced, narrow-minded aristocracy. As per usual, the story is told from the point of view of a seemingly normal youth from a farm far enough out of town that nobody notices that his father is a little odd, and, as they always do, circumstances combine to force this hapless youth to contend with powers seemingl ...more
Brian Maicke
Oct 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, epic
The beginnings of a new epic fantasy series by John Brown. I've wanted to read this for some time after seeing favorable reviews and just now have finally gotten around to it.

First with the good:

There was an interesting magic system that follows a very specific set of rules. Think Brandon Sanderson style. I much prefer this type of system to the more traditional hand-waving as it reinforces that actions have consequences and some interesting decisions usually arise as a result.

The action is con
Suzanne Vincent
Sep 26, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly engaging and fascinating book, with some fresh, original takes on the fantasy genre--especially if you're NOT Mormon. Brown, being LDS, has infused a great deal of LDS doctrine into the book's world, which makes for some pretty fascinating reading for those not familiar with it, and some comfortable reading for those who are. As a Mormon, I enjoyed how he used those points of doctrine and incorporated them into the story.

I gave the book four stars instead of five for three reasons:

Dec 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
Servant of a Dark God is John Brown's debut novel. At the end of the novel, I felt very similar to when I read Sanderson's first Mistborn novel. I think this series could go somewhere awesome- but it's going to depend on Brown.
First thing first, I got into it pretty easily. As a moody reader, my interest has to be grabbed pretty much right away. And I had a hard time putting it down at the end, so thumbs up to Mr. Brown for that. There are also some creative and unique elements to the story.
Joby Walker
Apr 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy

The Good
Unique: The nature of the world is quite different from standard epic fantasy with a very dark history. Discovering a new and unique world is part of the fun of this genre.

Secondary Good Guys: Many of these characters are well defined and interesting -- it always helps a novel when the secondary cast improves the color of the world and aren't just placeholders

The Bad
Another Superman Farmer: Can't the sav
Mar 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: sf-f, via-deadtree
After a slow start and somewhat initially repellent characters this story found its legs. It was rendered in somewhat unsophisticated (but at least unobtrusive) prosody but the dialogue left much to be desired. It veered between the cliched faux-archaisms that plague the genre and too contemporaneous modes of speech (which ironically will soon be literally anachronistic making the unfortunate faux-archaic stand out even more). Most disruptive of all was the grab-bag appropriation of Mormonism's ...more
Sep 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, read-in-2009
I thought this was an alright start to a series. It appeared at times that Brown was a little over eager as a writer and made the story almost too complex for the casual reader to enjoy.

I had a lot of trouble following the story after I would put the book down because it was just too complex. I didn't understand the magic or what was going on.

Sometimes the writing did seem a bit choppy and short but other then those two problems it was a good first book.

But I did enjoy some of the characters
Feb 16, 2010 rated it liked it
The best thing about this book was the characters, especially River, Ke & Horse, though I was a bit frustrated and confused by Talen, especially near the end. I am curious to see where the author takes Talen. I really, really liked how the author wrote the creature and its internal struggle. As for the rest, I spent most of the time a bit confused trying to remember all the lore and magic around the weaves and history of the "world." I do enjoy sci-fi/fantasy, though I don't read stories qui ...more
Randall Rupper
Oct 12, 2010 rated it really liked it
Very decent fantasy book. At first I thought I was going to get the standard farm boy goes on a quest, discovers he has magical powers and/or prophetic destiny, but I was quite surprised by it. While many things were par for the course of fantasy, there was quite a lot of tension in the book and surprises that made it good. The changes in viewpoint character fleshed out the story nicely and didn't lose the reader at all. No objectionable material that I can recall. While the title might put off ...more
Kevin Strutt
May 11, 2010 rated it it was ok
I won this book in a goodreads giveaway, i was looking forward to it, but when i started reading it i found the characters hard to follow, the plot line was excelent but it took me a few times to fully understant what was going on, most of the characters ar named after everyday things, so i kept getting confused, and disoriented, if you like a good story you should by this book i rated it low because it is a hard book to read
Sep 27, 2009 rated it really liked it
A great first book. I think the world this author created is very unique. I loved the slow build of plot. I was not told what was happening, I discovered it. The story was told from many different characters, but it was obvious that Talen would be the hero of this story. I loved the viewpoint of the monster, Hunger, and his inner struggle with who he had been and what he is now. I was satisfied with the conclusion and look forward to a continuation of this story if there is one.
Dec 04, 2009 rated it liked it
This book took a while to get into, but it has an interesting story. While the book deals with magic, which is very popular these days, it does so in a unique way unlike any book I have read so far. Magic protects the people, but is also considered evil if people other than those in charge possess it. The story is about the development of a boy who must battle between what he told was right and wrong and what he truely believes is right and wrong.
Nov 10, 2010 rated it liked it
I feel like I ought to have liked this book more than I actually did. Relatively original take on religion-vs-magic in a fantasy setting. Hints at a larger world beyond the scope of the book. I just don't think I read any more books with naive farmhand manboys with secret power as main characters...blah.
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Really well done and quite imaginative, took me a couple of chapters to get the names and allegiances down, but after that it was gripping to the point that I really didn't want to put it down. Talen's constant anger was pretty annoying, but that is how a teenage boy would likely act too, so well done.
Excellent first novel. Incredibly intense. Brown writes action scenes very well -- in fact, better than even some of the top tier fantasy authors.

He needs to work a bit on characterization and sleekness, but on the whole a very enjoyable, compelling classic fantasy novel (but with enough unique twists to the plot and world building as to not seem derivative).
Amanda mead
Dec 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
It is very descriptive and the story is moving along easily. But did they have to kill the dogs? john brown is definitely and author to look out for he has such a vivid imagination and his story telling ability is pitch perfect. I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone.
Dec 02, 2010 rated it liked it
Interesting world, characters, and story, though I've seen some better. It's a great read considering it's only a debut novel. Magic system was teased out throughout the whole book and even at the end we're still in the dark about most of it. The upcoming books will be things to look out for.
Oct 21, 2009 rated it liked it
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JOHN D. BROWN IS an award-winning short story writer and novelist. He lives with his wife and four daughters in the hinterlands of Utah where one encounters much fresh air, many good-hearted ranchers, and the occasional wolf. If you want to be notified when John releases his next book, sign up at his website

Other books in the series

The Dark God (3 books)
  • Servant (The Dark God, #1)
  • Curse (The Dark God, #2)
  • Raveler (The Dark God, #3)