K.V. Johansen fantasy author of the epic fantasy Blackdog and The Leopard: Marakand

Contact K.V. Johansen
marakand: the leopard - the lady

About K.V. Johansen
Other books by K.V. Johansen
news and reviews


The Lady was reviewed on SFSignal, and an interview, review, and guest blog post appeared on Book Plank.
An interview and review of Blackdog appeared on MyShelf.

The Lady was reviewed in Publisher's Weekly:
"The action continues unabated in this dashing, magic-filled sequel to The Leopard...
Deities, demons, devils, and wizards stalk the pages alongside human heroes and others not so easily defined. Some of the magic is as quick as thought, while other magic requires lengthy rituals that border on poetry. Johansen has found a winning combination: the modern epic fantasy penchant for a cast of thousands and the golden age feeling of a tale of Conan or Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser dueling with gods gone mad." - Publisher's Weekly

The Leopard was included on io9's Most Astounding Must-Read Science Fiction And Fantasy Books In June list and Kirkus Review's Best Speculative Fiction Reads for June.


“An involving and deftly written novel of escape and capture, love and loss, and battles both mental and physical…. Johansen's writing style is assured and elegant, subtle and powerful..." -ForeWord Reviews

The Leopard (published June 2014) has been reviewed in Publishers Weekly: “…the work highlights Johansen’s strengths. A surprising number of characters and plot threads are deftly interwoven…”


Johansen attended Ad Astra, April 4-6, in Toronto, as a panelist in discussions on social media for writers, book covers, non-European fantasy worlds, and the role of research in world building.
Blog posts: | part one | part two | part three |

Blog guest-post
Johansen discussed wonder & magic on the Fantasist Enterprises blog.

was reviewed at io9:
"Blackdog is an absorbing story of a man and a goddess on the run, struggling to survive against impossible odds — all in one can't-put-it-down volume."

was reviewed at Eclectic Ruckus.
There’s a good reason the jury put Blackdog on the Sunburst shortlist: it’s a fine, complex high fantasy set in a fully realized secondary world.... Blackdog is a terrific entertainment, but it’s also a thoughtful exploration of various kinds of power & the responsibilities that accrue to it. Johansen has created a world large in both space & time, &, indeed, because its geography is so thick with history (of both gods & their peoples), the singular tales Blackdog tells have a richness & depth lacking in so many more conventional fantasies.

Blackdog is short-listed for the 2012 Sunburst Award.

Arts East interviewed Johansen.

was reviewed in Portland Book Review:
"Populated by a huge number of dynamic characters, Blackdog slowly weaves a number of individual stories into a single epic fantasy. A complex tale of loyalty and honor, warriors and wizards, gods and demons and devils, the story demands the reader’s complete attention. Subtle details and seemingly insignificant events often transform into major plot points as the story progresses. 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."

Johansen participated in Suitably Strange: A Round-Table Discussion of World-Building in the April 2012 Clarkesworld Magazine.

Johansen guest-posted on Madison Woods' blog.

was reviewed at NJ.COM:
"...a mix of various Asian influences and K.V. Johansen’s own invention, populated by well-drawn characters, with interesting, competent women making a good showing. “Blackdog” takes two thick handfuls of age-old ideas and tropes — and molds them into a fresh-feeling adventure, an impressive feat."

Blackdog was reviewed at sffworld.com: "Johansen's first novel for the adult market is a powerhouse of mythic proportions."

Johansen was interviewed for the Functional Nerds podcast.

There's a podcast online of an interview with Johansen at Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing.

Johansen has a guest post on the Adventures in Sci Fi Publishing blog: Five Things You Should Never Do in Epic Fantasy.

An e-book edition of Blackdog is now available for Kindle at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Johansen guest-posted on SF Signal on the subject of her interest in shapeshifters in fiction.

The Star Wars Sundays blog is having a double feature this week (Aug 14): Terry Brooks and K.V. Johansen.

Johansen took part in a discussion of epic fantasy at Clarkesworld magazine. Part two is here.

A sample of Blackdog is now available online. Click here for the PDF.

"The author... creates a larger-than-life story of gods and demons at play in the world of humans. Despite their divinity, or lack thereof, Johansen’s characters project believability, and her world is full of rich and vivid detail... High fantasy for lovers of mythology and of powerful beings in human form, this adult fantasy debut should appeal to fans of Robert Jordan’s “Wheel of Time” series."
- Library Journal, August 2011

"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

"I'm hooked. The mix of magic, Tibetan-style religion, and Harold Lamb-style adventures is pretty addicting."
- James Enge, World Fantasy Award-nominated author of Blood of Ambrose and The Wolf Age

Text from Blackdog and the Marakand Series © K.V. Johansen · Covers © Raymond Swanland