First of all, I want to applaud the fact that Blackdog
is a standalone fantasy novel. It's a refreshing change from having to hunt down sequels and threequels just to get the whole story. Granted, something tells me this isn't the last of K.V. Johansens' novels set in this world, but the story of Attalissa and the Blackdog is over. And that's just as it should be.
Attalissa is a lake Goddess who lives on earth through various incarnated human forms. She is protected over the centuries by the spirit of the Blackdog, who takes possession of human males to watch over her. When a wizard who is much more than a wizard arrives in force to capture the human Attalissa in a move that would threaten the very existence of the world itself, she and the Blackdog are forced to flee and hide as caravan bodyguards in the desert.
Thus is the stage set for a story of invasions, rebellions, wizardry, uprisings, god resurrections and battles, and the odd romantic entanglement or two. There's a rich mythology of seven devils and seven wizards that I would have been interested to hear more about (and in clearer detail -- it gets difficult sometimes to remember names and who does what), but I suspect that it would be covered in the next book, should the mysterious Moth and Mikki figure in it (fingers crossed! Mikki is an excellent character).
The story is convoluted and admittedly difficult to continue with sometimes (there's just too much going on, and so many characters to keep track of, it gets tiring), but there is no shortage of badass women who take no shit whatsoever and ultimately it makes for a rousing finish.