My mini-review of Curse and Raveler by John D. Brown

Long ago, John D. Brown wrote a book titled Servant of a Dark God for TOR, but due to some snafus with the publication of book 2, and the interminable delay of its release, John regained the rights to his series and decided to self-publish (I know this because of John’s blog, which I regularly read since he offers great advice on writing and now, self-publishing).

The result are books 2 and 3, Curse and Raveler, in the series now titled Dark God (the first book is Servant).

These two books are a strong continuation of the story begun in Servant. It is large scale epic fantasy with a large cast of characters, but the focus is really on just 3 individuals: Talen, a young man with a hidden and disturbing past; Sugar, a young woman with a hidden and disturbing past; and Argoth, a forty-something soldier and sorta noble, with a hidden and disturbing past. Ok, that’s not meant to be snarky, just a little amusing. And the characters and their pasts are really much more interesting than my snark laid out. That’s one of the things I enjoyed about this book so much: while the tropes of young boy with hidden greatness etc are there, the tropes aren’t the characters. The characters are real and feel real and there’s a twist to how all of their truths. It’s not straightforward and cut-and-dry.

I enjoyed both books (all three actually). In the two sequels (Curse and Raveler), the dialogue remains smooth and even witty at times. What I found particularly appealing was the hidden dystopian nature of the world, which I thought was well done as well as the questions John raises about the choices we make when it comes to safety, or even the nature of slavery. Also of note, the two books are really just two parts of a larger whole. Not a crit, but while the narrative flow is crisp, I would have preferred more Talen in book 2 rather than so much of his viewpoint left for book 3. However, none of that detracted from the IMMENSE action sequences at the end. Non stop but it wasn’t like a Hollywood film where the action simply serves to show off the special effects. This was action with purpose. Loved that. Additionally, John spent the money on a good editor because the typos in both books are few.

I am really enjoying this story, and I look forward to reading the next one as much as anything on my To-Read-List.

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