The novel focuses on the lives of a group of people who are on the side of “evil,” the Sleth, as labelled by the men and women who wield the “good” powers, the Divines. One of those is the young boy Talen, who grows from hating and fearing the “Sleth” power of this evil group, to embracing it. I’m not a big fan of spoilers, so I won’t get into the plot too much here, other than to say you won’t be disappointed.
I wanted to talk a bit about the unique magic system, which involves the use of “Fire” and “Soul” which come from human bodies, and “Earth,” which comes from the earth. There are also “weaves,” which are items imbued with magical properties, usually refilled with Fire. Humans have limited Fire in their lives, and when you run out, you die. Fire can be transferred between humans however, either willingly or unwillingly. If unwillingly, a piece of the soul usually is transferred with it, harming the giver. I found these magical concepts original and refreshing, and a far cry from some of the usual D&D-style magic that seem to be everywhere in epic fantasy of late.
The chapters are nice and short, like the chapters of a thriller novel. Indeed, the chapters end at those points where you’d most want to continue reading, and the effect is page-turning. You’ll probably read it in one session, and find yourself looking at your watch at 4 AM on a Friday night and wondering what you’re still doing at home, yet feeling strangely satisfied. I can understand why John Brown is working on a thriller as one of his next novels. He has that flair for the genre. I can see him putting together something along the lines of Lee Child’s mystery-thrillers.
With Servant of a Dark God, John Brown has set himself up for many sequels to come. I for one, can’t wait. If you’re looking to read an epic fantasy thriller, you won’t go wrong with this book. Highly recommended for all ages.