Servant of a Dark God – Review & free book give away! :)

As many of my regular readers know, I’m going on a book tour this winter with a couple of other Utah writers, Dave Farland (well known for his Runelords series) and John Brown. John’s first novel, Servant of a Dark God officially releases tomorrow.

I’d only met John once before at a Con, but we’d corresponded via e-mail. He’s won awards for his short fiction, and the man really knows and loves the craft of writing.  I did a signing with John on Saturday, and was able to score a copy of his book a couple of days early. I sat down Saturday night, expecting to read a chapter or so to check it out, and ended up reading the first third. I finished it Monday morning. And since Monster Hunter Vendetta has been turned in to my publisher, you guys can’t even yell at me for not working!


I spoke with John a bit, and told him I was going to post a review. He said that he would score me a couple of copies to give away as prizes to my readers. So what I’m going to do is this: If you are interested in getting a free copy of SoaDG just post in the comments below.  On Friday I’ll randomly pick the winners. All that I want is that you post an honest review on Amazon (or your blog if you’ve got one) when you’re done.


Servant of a Dark God is an epic fantasy.  I grew up on epic fantasy, Feist, Eddings, and Brooks shaped my young life. I read LOTR once a year. Then when I was a teenager I wolfed down everything I could find. Even though I don’t write epic fantasy, I still love it. Now that I’m an author, I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of famous authors, and I’ll admit that the only one I totally geeked out like a fanboy for was Tracy Hickman. 

My issue with most epic fantasies is that they are not that original. Many tend to be tired rehashes of the epic quest, with elves, fight a monster, get the gobbit, save the princess, etc. Luckily over the last few years there have been some great authors really tweaking that formulaic approach and doing stuff differently.  I’m glad to say that John falls into this category.

SoaDG takes place in a world where humans are harvested like livestock, not for their meat, but for their souls. The human kingdoms only think that they’re governing themselves, and the overseers ruthlessly hunt down anyone that discovers the truth. The magic system is based on the use of human “Fire” and the secrets governing its use are only supposed to be used by the Divines, (the folks in charge).

When someone other than a Divine uses magic, they are hunted down as evil heretics. The book kicks off with one of the protagonist’s family being accused of using dark magic.

The world building was creative, and the setting was original.  Unlike some fantasy that suffers from the Horse = Motorcycle school of writing, John has actually done his research, and the people/culture/backdrop all feels like an authentic world. For the lower class people the book is about, it feels sufficiently gritty, and you can tell John has spent his time on a farm.  

This was deeper than a hack and slash adventure, but it was still really fun. It was surprisingly deep when it came to things like family, trust, and truth.  That said, I was still engrossed enough to pound through this novel in a couple of sittings.  He’s also got one of the better fantasy antagonists I’ve read in quite a while. Hunger isn’t human. He’s the bad guy, but you’re kind of rooting for him at the same time. That’s tough to pull off.

Overall, Servant of a Dark God is a winner. I’m now going to bug him into sending me the manuscript for #2 so I can see what happens next.

I'm on Writing Excuses
Fancy writer weekend.

49 thoughts on “Servant of a Dark God – Review & free book give away! :)”

  1. The first book that really got me reading as a kid was the Pawn of Prophecy by Eddings, it has been an expensive downhill ride ever since. In a good way

  2. First read LOTR in high school. Then had a roommate my freshman year of college in ’76 who turned me on to the Dune trilogy. That would be the same roommate who had the entire Tarzan collection, a bunch of Marvel comics, and numerous other violent book series, the likes of which I had never seen in my previously sheltered childhood. Picked up Ursula K. LeGuin’s Earthsea trilogy later that year. It’s a wonder I didn’t flunk out with all the extracurricular reading I was doing.

    For a series that really showed me another kind of hero, The Chronicals of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever had some really strange twists. Bought the first 5 when they came out in paperback, then finally read the sixth in hardback.. And in making sure I had the title correct, I just found out there is a third trilogy. Looks like another trip to the bookstore for me! (Okay, it’s been a while – it came out in 2004.) I’ve been away from the genre for a while, but I’d love to give SoaDG a read.

  3. Definitely interested in a copy; further, I’m blogging from Canada so I’ll gleefully taunt the FCC if I get one. 🙂

    I’m also an epic fantasy addict, although I haven’t scratched that itch with anything new in a while. (Lately I’ve been cycling through the Silmarillion, Lovecraft’s Dream Cycle, and the Kalevala. As ruts go, that’s not a bad one to get stuck in.)

  4. I would love to get a copy of this. I am looking for something to read as I type this. My collection of Lovecraft is keening to me to be re-read, but I am looking for something new I can sink my teeth into. I would be more than happy to post an honest review on Amazon if I am chosen. Thanks for doing this, Larry.

  5. would love to win a copy…

    I’ve always loved David Gemmel (R.I.P.)… tough flawed characters and none of that (as he put it) pixie S#&T.

  6. Love to give it a read.

    My first fantasy was of course The Hobbit, and then I got hooked on the Shannara series. Growing up in a small town on the northern plains gave me both a lot of time to read and a longing to imagine somewhere with mountains and adventurers.

  7. Sign me up for the drawing. I haven’t read much in the way of serious fantasy in a long time, so it could be a nice change of pace.

  8. Definitely interested, thought about buying a copy at the signing on Saturday, but alas, I spent all my money on copies of MHI 🙂

    Thanks Larry and John!

  9. A copy would be great. I read the first couple chapters from his website and thought ‘finally an author who had been on a farm before.’

  10. I’ve been through several epic fantasy tales of late. Recently went through Terry Goodkind’s series and plan on picking up LOTR again, now that you reminded me.

    Throw my hat into the ring for a chance at this book.



  11. I’d love to get a chance to read the book! Been reading fantasy as long as I can remember, and I’m always up for something new!

  12. Larry,
    Oh, Oh, pick me, pick me. But seriously, I really would like to read it and review it. In particular I’d like to see how the world system compares with C S Friedman’s Magister Trilogy. Looks like there are some interesting new trends rippling through the fantasy world.
    Thanks for this opportunity and the MHI world.

  13. Looking forward to reading it. Love it when the ‘conventions’ of the genre are ignored or reinterpreted to create something fresh.

  14. I would love to win a copy. I remember the first time I read Eddings and Feist (among many, many others). So many authors do fall into the cliche territories… Although those like C.S. Friedman and L. E. Modesitt Jr. give hope to those out there who still enjoy fantasy, but wish there was more variation. Count me in for a free copy! =)

  15. I love Fantasy. That being said I loathe most of it as it’s shameless knockoffs of Tolkein. Larry, I’ll give SoaDG an honest review, just know it’s coming from a heretic of the church of fantasy.

  16. The premise sounds fasinating. And I like the sound of the soul harvesting and humans being hunted if they use magic. Even if I dont snag a free copy I will probably pick it up in a bookstore. As one of those “Tolkien purists”, I love books of that genre and I also read LOTR once or so a year and I even own a first printing of the American version of the Red Book. I swear I am not sucking up *I swear, I really do* but if “Servant of a Dark God” is like “MHI” then its gonna be a great book and is MHI book 2 coming out anytime soon cause I am going crazy waiting to see whats gonna happen next.

  17. I’m always looking for books from an author I haven’t read yet! (Eventually, maybe I’ll have enough different authors to read from that there will always be a newly released book waiting for me to read as I finish reading any particular book.)

    As for the possibility of DragonCon, if that is the closest you’ll get to Philadelphia, I’ll make the drive!

  18. In a world plagued by SSDD it would be very interesting to read something with an entirely new plot line (I can’t think of anything that corresponds). Also, it would be nice to recommend something new to all of my customers that I see at my local book store where I work.

  19. Hey Larry, I am halfway thru your book, can’t wait for the next one by the way. This is one of those books where you stop breathing now and then and wonder what happened to the hours that went by, and why are you so stiff from sitting! That makes it a GREAT book for me. If your review of the Servant of a Dark God is anything to go by, I can’t wait to read this new book when it’s out! As they say above, pick me! pick me! (no reference to the Monty movies)

  20. Obviously I’m a little late for the giveaway, I just wanted to second your opinion of SoaDG. I think John Brown did a fantastic job and I can’t wait for the second installment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.