Review: The Pariah by Anthony Ryan

The Pariah by Anthony Ryan

Liis reviews The Pariah by Anthony Ryan, the first book in the Covenant of Steel trilogy.

This review is posted as part of the Wyrd & Wonder Month hosted by some amazing ladies. Check out all content on Twitter, Instagram, and BlueSky!

Wyrd & Wonder 2024
Artwork by Ehtisham Sajid
About the Book
Series:Covenant of Steel #1
Genre:Fantasy
Publisher:Orbit
Date of Publishing:August 24th, 2021
Trigger Warnings:death, violence
Page count:592

Possible fit for The Sound of Madness Reading Challenge 2024 prompts:

Joker prompt that goes with anything: Now We Are Free

Anywhere Away From HereKiss My Ass
HandwrittenYou Are My Home
PsychoSummer Jam
AddictedNew Song
The MysticSay It
Queen of KingsThe Legend of Mother Swan
Accidentally in LoveThrough Glass
White FlagRoad to Joy
Sob StoryGive That Wolf a Banana
Always HalloweenKill Your Conscience
TherapyGhosts & Monsters
Low LifeChasing Stars
Book Blurb
The Pariah by Anthony Ryan

Born into the troubled kingdom of Albermaine, Alwyn Scribe is raised as an outlaw. Quick of wit and deft with a blade, Alwyn is content with the freedom of the woods and the comradeship of his fellow thieves. But an act of betrayal sets him on a new path – one of blood and vengeance, which eventually leads him to a soldier’s life in the king’s army.

Fighting under the command of Lady Evadine Courlain, a noblewoman beset by visions of a demonic apocalypse, Alwyn must survive war and the deadly intrigues of the nobility if he hopes to claim his vengeance. But as dark forces, both human and arcane, gather to oppose Evadine’s rise, Alwyn faces a choice: can he be a warrior, or will he always be an outlaw?

Quote of the Book
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“I have learned much more than I care to about revenge and its myriad complexities, but perhaps the principal lesson to heed is that it begins as a small thing, a seed destined to sprout monstrous branches.”

Review

I do have to commend myself for having clearly very good taste in books because this, around 600 pages baby, was time incredibly well spent.

Anthony Ryan has it. The ’it’ in storytelling skills that effortlessly delivers a chonk of a story in SO MANY words and all of it SO GOOD.

As is my wont, I rarely revisit the blurb once I have acquired a book. I know I own a title because something about it caught my eye, and it may be months, in some cases years, before I actually read the story. This is the case with The Pariah – I got the book a couple of years ago and before I finally sat down to read it a few days ago, I didn’t bother with the blurb. Boy, was I not prepared for the full blown adventures I was thrown into.

Main theme? I guess, I could say that it is heavily surrounded by faith. Every character in this book is in one way or another impacted by the religious aspect. Some sort of god(s) and their Earthly Martyrs, and something else otherworldly besides. At this point I have to say that The Pariah has a very good tease with a certain book in the story and a Sack Witch; and Ryan knows full well that he has captured the attention of all who have entered into this trilogy. We all want the details, we will continue reading.

But on to our main character, Alwyn Scribe. This book is Alwyn’s recollection of events. It’s a history book, sort of. A journal of his, containing all of the events he found himself in the midst of, and all of the people his paths crossed with. But, before Alwyn was a scribe, he was an outlaw… an outcast… an unwanted… a pariah. But interestingly, what Alwyn also is, is an optimistic and curious mind. I found it so refreshing to follow his thought trails – he almost approached all of the obstacles with finding some new avenue to pursue. And the outlaw wisdom this story holds is incredible… Ryan has created a character that will subtly show you his ways and demonstrate just how well he reads other people without outright saying so.

The Pariah is both a plot and character-driven story. It is vast! It will take you to forests, to new lands and towns as well as on multiple journeys to danger. It will take you to imprisonment and freedom, all at once. There is undoubtedly a strong character development arc for our main character Alwyn, who through unimaginable and yet genius plot twists, goes from a simple, albeit very observant, outlaw to a standing as high as a knight. It is the adversity that Alwyn faces at all times and how he deals with it, that will easily make him a favourite character. He is no anti-hero, he’s probably not a hero either, but he is just and he is brave. It’s a character you will follow without losing momentum, wanting to know „What happened next?“

The Pariah is an adventurous fantasy which yields new revelations on every page. There are small scuffles, 1:1 fights, and all-encompassing wars. I wouldn’t say the book is fast-paced, but I would absolutely say that THIS is how medium to slow-paced books are written. The details and dialogues and interactions with people and places are skillfully done. This book will surely quench the thirst of any fantasy reader looking to be blown away, and I will certainly continue with Alwyn’s story, as well as anything else Ryan has or will be publishing.

Our Judgement
They Shall Be Remembered - 4.5 Crowns

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