ARC provided by the publisher—Subterranean Press—in exchange for an honest review.
Anthony Ryan is back with a brand new novella in a completely new world.
It’s been two hundred years since the Kingdom of Alnachim was destroyed by The Mad God. Alnachim, now called the Execration, has become a wasteland full of monsters and terrors. For decades, pilgrimages to reach the center of the Execration were made by desperate people so they can meet the Mad God and have their wish granted; none ever returned. The story follows Pilgrim, a veteran warrior with an unknown past, and his six companions as they attempt a pilgrimage to have his wish for redemption granted.
“Is it a crime for a god to destroy what he made?”
“Perhaps not. But to destroy all those who lived under his protection certainly is.”
I don’t have a lot of things to say regarding A Pilgrimage of Swords because of its small size. This novella was great and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I, however, truly wish this was a full standalone novel; there’s so much room for incredible developments here. This is a quest-based story accompanied with a variety of unique characters in an intriguing post-apocalyptic world, I also found Ryan’s writing in this book to be one of the best he has done so far; in my opinion, adding more pages to this story would’ve benefited the book more rather than leaving it as a novella. Other than Pilgrim and one or two other characters, the rest of the characters didn’t receive enough—understandably—development because of the small pages count of the book. I found it a bit difficult for me to empathize with a lot of them because there’s no background exploration or what each of the character’s purpose in the pilgrimage was. I didn’t know this was a novella (and short stories/novella very rarely works for me) when I requested for it so the blame fully lies with me.
“Perfection is an impossibility,” Book said, a quotation from the Injunctions of the First Risen. “It is through our imperfections that we come to know ourselves.”
That being said, I do think that A Pilgrimage of Swords was a great quest-based fantasy novella and I would recommend it for those of you who are looking for a short read in the genre. Seeing Ryan’s continuous improvement in writing and storytelling makes me excited to read more of his future work.
Official release date: September 30th, 2019
You can pre-order the book from: Subterranean Press
The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.