the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘John Brown’ Category

Servant of a Dark God by John Brown

published in 2009

Where I got it: Library

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In this traditional yet edgy fantasy world, Talen lives with his father and his brother and sister, and all they want is to live their lives in peace.  It’s an endearing opening scene in which we meet Talen’s family. They are kind people and interesting characters, it’s too bad they are Koramites.  Treated as second class citizens by the majority Mokaddians,  Talen and his family learn to keep their heads down and silently take the insults and beatings.  Although the racism gets pretty heavy handed, not every Mokaddian is an ignorant racist fool.

I wish Brown had explained the magic system a little better. There is a short glossary in the back, and I wish it had been longer, or that it had been in the beginning of the book. When it comes to priests and magical items, there is quite a bit of infodumping at the beginning of the book regarding who these people are and how these magical items work.  So many opportunities to show me, and instead, Brown just tells me in a almost technical writing type of way.

The most common magical items are something called weaves.  Often, but not always, woven of gold or silver or vines or even hair, weaves can only be bestowed by priests, known as Divines.  Weaves allow the wearer incredible strength, or the power to control elementals, sometimes even the power to multiply themselves. But it costs fire (the years of your life) and sometimes soul to use the magical weaves. To be caught with a weave that was not given to you by a Divine is to invite Death. The Divines know their hold on power over the people is tenuous, so they will do anything to keep that power. Including scapegoating an entire race. The monsters known as Sleth eat human souls, yet can pass for one of us.

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something old and something new,

something borrowed and something, umm, not blue.

Here are some recent goodies purchased, borrowed, and otherwise acquired:

oh wait, look! There is something blue!

All blurbs are yanked from Amazon. We’ve got:

The Fall of the Kings by Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman – a not quite sequel to Kushner’s Swordspoint (which I adored), The Fall of the Kings takes place in the same world but follows different characters. It promises sword fights, intrigue, strumpets, witty repartee, and probably some damn good drama.:

This stunning follow-up to Ellen Kushner’s cult-classic novel, Swordspoint, is set in the same world of labyrinthine intrigue, where sharp swords and even sharper wits rule. Against a rich tapestry of artists and aristocrats, students, strumpets, and spies, a gentleman and a scholar will find themselves playing out an ancient drama destined to explode their society’s smug view of itself–and reveal that sometimes the best price of uncovering history is being forced to repeat it….

Servant of a Dark God, by John Brown – It’s super shiny cuz it’s a library book.   I’m about half way through, and so far the plot feels like a traditional fantasy, but with some added complications of racism, religious propaganda and secret societies.  There’s some neat magic here, so I’m curious to see how the author wraps it all up:

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.

Cast in Shadow, by Michelle Sagara – After meeting Ms. Sagara at ConFusion in January,  I knew I needed to start her Elantra series, so when I saw this copy at the used bookstore, I grabbed it! Like, I didn’t want to let go of it long enough for the lady at the counter to ring it up!  It looks to be some nice and edgy urban fantasy thriller/mystery:

Seven years ago Kaylin fled the crime-riddled streets of Nightshade, knowingthat something was after her. Children were being murdered — and all had the same odd markings that mysteriously appeared on her own skin.…

Since then, she’s learned to read, she’s learned to fight and she’s become one of the vaunted Hawks who patrol and police the City of Elantra. Alongside the winged Aerians and the immortal Barrani, she’s made a place for herself, far from the mean streets of her birth.

But children are once again dying, and a dark and familiar pattern is emerging. Kaylin is ordered back into Nightshade with a partner she knows she can’t trust, a Dragon lord for a companion and a device to contain her powers — powers that no other human has. Her task is simple — find the killer, stop the murders…and survive the attentions of those who claim to be her allies!

Also:

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.