Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Servant of a Dark God - John Brown

This was one of the first Big Idea posts that sounded cool to me, I think it was mostly the way Brown told the story of being chased by a bull, I figured that if I'd enjoyed the brief piece so much, I would probably enjoy the longer story, also the idea of people being farmed like cows intrigued me. In theory we're smarter than cows, so convincing us that being farmed was ok should be a bit trickier.

The story was easy to fall into, Talen is the protagonist and the first chapter where he is trying to locate his missing pants was fabulous and did a lot to give me an idea of his character and how his family worked. The next few chapters where it became clear to the reader that all was not quite right with the world were a lot of fun. Talen is still pretty young and still believing that the people in charge are good and right and when they say someone is bad and dangerous that person should be turned in to the authorities, but it is clear that the rest of his family isn't nearly as naive and that shortly Talen will figure things out and wind up on the right side. It takes rather a long time for Talen to realize that the authorities are not on his side and that breaking the rules is the right thing to do. On the one hand that is awesome - it really makes the situation believable, that you have this civilization built on a pile of lies, the fact that it takes Talen a long time to overcome the indoctrination is very realistic. On the other hand...you spend more than half the book in a bit of a panic that Talen is going to do something absolutely disastrous, which makes it very difficult to just relax and enjoy the story, and I found it really broke the immersion. Once things did get going it was totally fabulous, and I really liked the way things came together in the end. I think that realizing this was the first book in a trilogy before I started reading it (which was clear from the Big Idea post, but not from the cover of the book) would have helped a bit, although I really did get a sense of closure at the end of the story - but things aren't done yet, they're only just getting going with saving the world! And this world really does need saving.

Definitely looking forward to reading the next two books, probably going to recommend this to a bunch of other people.

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