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Blackdog Paperback – September 20, 2011
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Golden Age (The Shifting Tides)
With a seafaring region on the brink of war, dangerous alliances have to be made. Learn More
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"...intelligently written and allows the reader to become a sympathetic co-traveller ... I like large books when the story is well told. The better the story, the longer I want the book to be. Blackdog was almost 600 pages long. It was much too short."
- View from Valhalla, Nov. 2011
"This is a fantasy with a similar density to Steven Erikson's Malazan books, though with many fewer POVs ... It has that epic feel without bearing the cross of a million recycled tropes. Anyone who enjoyed the Malazan epic series will most likely enjoy this one as well ..."
-Bookspotcentral.com, Nov. 2011
"The book is so thoroughly developed, its mythology so complete, that it often gives the impression of being a single chapter of a much larger story, a window into an actual living breathing world. A must read book for those who love high fantasy." - Elizabeth Goss, Portland Book Review
"I’m hooked. The mix of magic, Tibetan-style religion, and Harold-Lamb-style adventure is pretty addicting."
JAMES ENGE, World Fantasy Award nominated author of Blood of Ambrose and The Wolf Age
"Interesting and absorbing; Blackdog takes as its heart, and its strength, a subject that most fantasy writers shy away from—the Gods themselves."
TOM LLOYD, Author of The Twilight Reign series
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Top Customer Reviews
How can it be both?
The book is 546 pages long (my edition, anyway) and there are precious few books over 350 pages that couldn't benefit from some cutting. At the same time, there are a lot of things going on - gods and goddesses manifest in natural features, various cultures and tribes, scattered priestesses, devils, wizards - and it's hard to keep it all straight.
That being said, the storyline is quite interesting and engaging. A too-human-yet-too-divine avatar of a goddess is torn from her land and forced to flee for her life from an evil wizard. While a fugitive, she both finds her humanity and her godhead, while her journey is criss-crossed by others divine and demonic beings.
Magic and divinity pervades the story but doens't overwhelm it. Spirits possess people ad become a hybrid of both, skinchangers walk with immortal assassins, wizards use their offspring for their own corrupt purposes.
It's all very interesting, but unless you can read in more or less one stretch (I've been trying to read it during NaNoWriMo and that doesn't really work), it would have a lot more emotional impact. If you break up your reading sessions, or if it takes too long to finish it, you'll lose some of the punch and have to be reminded of "who is this again?" and "what are they doing here?" time and time again. The wide cast isn't necessarily a problem, but there is no appendix or list of them, and many of them are largely interchangeable, especially when it comes to the caravaneers.
But, all in all I really liked the story and was pleased with the conclusion which felt natural and unforced.Read more ›
Holla was unaware that he recued the powerless Goddess Attalissa. As they flee the devastated town, Holla struggles with his sanity due to the Blackdog guardian spirit who was once a devil residing inside of him. Still he guides her onto the road heading to the Red Desert while mad Gods, traitors and necromancers pursue.
Blackdog is a fun fantasy due to the Johansen's fantasy realm coming across as real even with some powerful and other powerless Gods walking amongst the commoners. The story line is complex as treachery threatens the lands while the lead protagonists are fully developed with the Goddess being a child without power and the warrior being possessed. Readers will enjoy this strong tale.
May try it again at a later date.
This book may not be for all fantasy lovers. It is written in multiple viewpoints, which I happen to like. The prose is often lyrical, which I also like, but is occasionally hard to follow as a result. There's a large cast of characters (possibly too large) and a complicated social/mythological structure. But I found the story to be original and compelling, the characters to be sympathetic, and the writing generally strong. On the whole, a very satisfying read.
Although the story has closure, there is certainly room for more stories in this world. I hope the author is busy writing sequels.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is going right into the list of my ten favorite fantasy books.
First of all, the setting and mythology are GORGEOUS and AWESOME and INTERESTING. Read more
Without a doubt the worst book I've ever read. It commits nearly every sin a book could. Huge, drawling, repetitive paragraphs ramble and actually seem like a train-of-though... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Daniel Deisinger
K.V. Johansen has demonstrated that she can successfully write for readers all ages. Along with writers such as Patricia McKillip and C.J. Cherryh, Ms. Read morePublished 14 months ago by SnowJade
I loved this book. I had no trouble following the action, the characters, etc. I know a few reviewers said there were too many characters, but I made it through the Malazan saga,... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Kat D
Black Dog is a fantasy story that I was not sure about a few times. Parts of it were a bit tough to follow, as there was so much going on. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Corkasaurus
Good start, it did slow down when it came to supporting characters but overall a decent story.
The ending wasn't as great as it could've been. Read more
A battle of the gods and demons, with human as peons and saviors at the same time. None of them are in the end what they are meant to be or what they believe to be. Read morePublished on January 16, 2014 by Andreea Pausan
As much as I like a good long-running series, Blackdog makes the point for quality standalone stories, where world building for future books doesn't take as much space as series... Read morePublished on January 10, 2013 by JP