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From the international best-selling author of the Raven's Shadow and Draconis Memoria series comes the spectacular first novel in an all-new epic fantasy trilogy. 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 From the international best-selling author of the Raven's Shadow and Draconis Memoria series comes the spectacular first novel in an all-new epic fantasy trilogy. 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?


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From the international best-selling author of the Raven's Shadow and Draconis Memoria series comes the spectacular first novel in an all-new epic fantasy trilogy. 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 From the international best-selling author of the Raven's Shadow and Draconis Memoria series comes the spectacular first novel in an all-new epic fantasy trilogy. 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?

30 review for The Pariah

  1. 5 out of 5

    Petrik

    ARC provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review. I’ve read every novel by Anthony Ryan, and The Pariah just might have his best prose so far. "When the task is a killing, be quick and make sure of it. Torment is an indulgence. Save it for only the most deserving." There were three reasons why I was incredibly excited to read The Pariah. One, excluding novellas and short stories, I’ve read every novel by Anthony Ryan, and I plan to keep it that way. Second, the cover ARC provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review. I’ve read every novel by Anthony Ryan, and The Pariah just might have his best prose so far. "When the task is a killing, be quick and make sure of it. Torment is an indulgence. Save it for only the most deserving." There were three reasons why I was incredibly excited to read The Pariah. One, excluding novellas and short stories, I’ve read every novel by Anthony Ryan, and I plan to keep it that way. Second, the cover art is illustrated by Jaime Jones, one of my favorite cover artists. Lastly, I heard that Anthony Ryan is sticking with one POV for the narration of The Pariah, and this made me gleeful. “All ambition is folly when it fails to be matched by reason.” The story in The Pariah is told exclusively through the perspective of Alwyn Scribe. Raised as an outlaw and quick on his wit, Alwyn is content with life on the woods and the comradeship he has with his fellow thieves. At least, until a brutal event changes his life completely. That is pretty much all I can say regarding the premise of the novel. If you’re really averse to spoilers, I suggest you not check out the official synopsis of this novel; there’s plenty of spoilers in there, and frankly, quite a few inaccuracies. There’s close to zero magic in The Pariah, and Alwyn definitely wasn’t skillful with a blade. Seriously, do not start The Pariah expecting a lot of actions, magic, or fantastical creatures; The Pariah takes place in a medieval world, and at times—for now, anyway—it almost felt like I was reading historical fiction. Again, these aren’t negative things to me. I highly enjoyed reading The Pariah. It’s a compelling slow-burn narrative filled heavily with themes of religions, justice, and freedom. “We fought and we bickered, but we also suffered cold and hunger together, as families do, and family is to be cherished, as is life… And life should not be wasted on pointless feuds or hopeless endeavours. This much I’ve learned.” Whether you love The Pariah or not, I think, would depends a lot on whether you could click with Alwyn’s narration or not. As I said, Alwyn is the only POV character in this novel, and the novel is told in a diary format written by him, similar to The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell. Sometimes, Alwyn himself mentioned “dear reader” in his narration to remind us of this fact. I personally think that The Pariah exhibited Ryan’s prose at his best. I’ve mentioned it several times now, and this is obviously just my preference, but I feel like I always enjoy reading Ryan’s fantasy books the most when the story is told from the perspective of one or two POV characters. For example, just like Blood Song, The Raven’s Blade duology, and this. “Every man is a liar, but the worst lie is the one he tells himself.” However, this doesn’t mean that there weren’t any memorable side characters. Throughout the story in The Pariah, Alwyn encountered several individuals that ended up being crucial in influencing the path of his life. Deckin, Toria, Shirlah, and Evadine Courlaine being the most pivotal of them all. Plus, although I stated that there weren’t a lot of action scenes, the few battle scenes that exist in The Pariah hits immensely hard. Invigorating battle speeches, vivid chaotic battles, and each intense battle sequences were bloodsoaked. If there’s anything that I wanted more out of The Pariah, it would have to be for the series to exhibit more fantasy elements. The Pariah felt like the groundwork for the rest of the series on this aspect. There are hints of these to come; religions and faith are dominant in the narrative, and we’ve heard about the Scourge, Seraphile, and Malecite in this book. I hope the sequels will feature more of them. “Rage can make us feared and compel the obedience of the weak as a wolf compels its pack, but also it blinds us, as Deckin learned too late.” The Pariah is a superbly written beginning to The Covenant of Steel trilogy. The first-hand account of Alwyn Scribe is rich with personality and distinction. I definitely loved it, I have no idea where the story will go from here, and I’m excited to find out what’s next in Alwyn’s adventure. Official release date: 24th August 2021 (US) and 26th September 2021 (UK) You can pre-order the book from: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Blackwells (Free International shipping) | The Broken Binding (Use my code: NOVELNOTIONS121 for discount!) You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions | I also have a Booktube channel Special thanks to my Patrons on Patreon for giving me extra support towards my passion for reading and reviewing! My Patrons: Alfred, Annabeth, Ben, Blaise, Devin, Diana, Dylan, Edward, Element, Ellen, Gary, Hamad, Helen, Jimmy Nutts, Jennifer, Joie, Luis, Lufi, Melinda, Mike, Miracle, Nicholas, Samuel, Sarah, Sarah, Shaad, Summer, Wendy, Wick, Zoe.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael Fletcher

    No fucking around this is Anthony Ryans' best book yet. It's a good sized book and I smashed through it in (for me) record time. I NEED THE SEQUEL!!! No fucking around this is Anthony Ryans' best book yet. It's a good sized book and I smashed through it in (for me) record time. I NEED THE SEQUEL!!!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine

    I’m bumping this up to five stars because I still can’t stop thinking about this awesome book. 4.5 stars. At the beginning of this epic fantasy I wasn’t sure if this was the right book for me, but now that I’ve finished it, I can’t wait for the next one to come out! This one has it all: politics, religion, battle scenes, doomsayer, outlaws, and a main character who you will continuously root for. After being kicked out of the only home he knew, Alwyn Scribe was raised as an outlaw in the kingdom I’m bumping this up to five stars because I still can’t stop thinking about this awesome book. 4.5 stars. At the beginning of this epic fantasy I wasn’t sure if this was the right book for me, but now that I’ve finished it, I can’t wait for the next one to come out! This one has it all: politics, religion, battle scenes, doomsayer, outlaws, and a main character who you will continuously root for. After being kicked out of the only home he knew, Alwyn Scribe was raised as an outlaw in the kingdom of Albermaine. Now, as a young man, his life is upended again when someone betrays his group of outlaws, and he is forced to fight constantly for his freedom. From outlaw to soldier, Alwyn embarks on a fair amount of journeys with vengeance on his mind for those that harmed the people closest to him. This first novel, in what will eventually be a trilogy, is intricately plotted and full of characters to both love and hate. Next to Alwyn, my favourite character is Toria, she is a fierce and loyal friend to Alwyn and helps to keep him grounded. Alwyn is an interesting character himself; he is sharp and capable with a weapon, but not infallible. His experience as an outlaw serves him well in many other scenarios. It took me about 75 pages before I fully became invested in this story. The beginning is kind of dense with a whole host of characters introduced, so many that there is a character list preceding the story, as well as a lot of political intrigue that I found confusing at first. When things finally got rolling, I was totally immersed in the goings on of Alwyn Scribe’s life. Now, I will anxiously wait for the second novel. Thank you to Orbit Books for providing me with an arc via Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinions.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    I reviewed this book not long ago. I hated it! Matter of fact, I didn't finish it. There just wasn't a chance in hell that I'd give a care! But? I read one or two books during this time. And for the life of me, I couldn't stop thinking about Alwin Scribe! Even as he dug a hole deeper, and I wanted to quit because of all the "religious" nonsense. Still? What about Alwin? So, much as I hate it, I'm here for the long haul! I simply must know. I'd recommend this to anyone who has more patience than I! A I reviewed this book not long ago. I hated it! Matter of fact, I didn't finish it. There just wasn't a chance in hell that I'd give a care! But? I read one or two books during this time. And for the life of me, I couldn't stop thinking about Alwin Scribe! Even as he dug a hole deeper, and I wanted to quit because of all the "religious" nonsense. Still? What about Alwin? So, much as I hate it, I'm here for the long haul! I simply must know. I'd recommend this to anyone who has more patience than I! Also, for the idjits like me who must know how it all ends! Calling any idjits like me....finish the book, fool! So very good, and much as I hate to say it, I need more! Now anxiously awaiting book 2.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    The Pariah by Anthony Ryan is that fantasy sword and magic novel that you’ve been waiting for all year. Even at 600 pages, it is a book that you will open and not want to put down even if it takes all night. And, yes, it is the start of a brand new series — so there is more to come in the future. What succeeds so well is that the narrative voice is that of Alwyn Scribe, born into the troubled kingdom of Albermaine, but raised as an outlaw. For some reason, witches and martyrs place their faith in The Pariah by Anthony Ryan is that fantasy sword and magic novel that you’ve been waiting for all year. Even at 600 pages, it is a book that you will open and not want to put down even if it takes all night. And, yes, it is the start of a brand new series — so there is more to come in the future. What succeeds so well is that the narrative voice is that of Alwyn Scribe, born into the troubled kingdom of Albermaine, but raised as an outlaw. For some reason, witches and martyrs place their faith in Alwyn though he does not know why. This is a thick story, filled with a created fantasy world of swords and kingdoms that we only really get a glimpse of. Although there is a map in the beginning of the book and several pages filled with character names, they mean little before you start reading. Ryan does a terrific job of creating his fantasy world and leaving a lot of it shrouded in mystery. The story begins with Alwyn as a teenage youth, a member of an outlaw band of misfits and pickpockets and robbers, sort of like Robin Hood’s merry band, but a bit meaner and more bawdy and at each other’s throats. You find out that Alwyn was an orphan born to a whore who died soon thereafter and who knows who his father could be. His only loyalty now is to the leader of the band of outlaws that he rides with. The story takes us through Alwyn’s life as he suffers betrayals and backstabbers and vows his revenge. It is also rich with pageantry as major battles are fought. Ryan has furthermore filled his story with martyrs and Joan of Arc types leading their troops into battle because of their belief in scriptures. Interestingly, besides being a thief, an outlaw, and a warrior, Alwyn is a scribe and, when he glimpses the riches in a library, his eyes grow wide with amazement.

  6. 5 out of 5

    FanFiAddict

    Rating: 9.25/10 Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Pariah (The Covenant of Steel #1) for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions. The Pariah is a sharp, brutal tale and a brilliant introduction to the Covenant of Steel series. While the story itself is grim and bloody, Ryan’s prose and characterization are a beacon in the darkness. A remarkable story that I did not want to end. Before killing a man, I always found it calming to regard Rating: 9.25/10 Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Pariah (The Covenant of Steel #1) for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions. The Pariah is a sharp, brutal tale and a brilliant introduction to the Covenant of Steel series. While the story itself is grim and bloody, Ryan’s prose and characterization are a beacon in the darkness. A remarkable story that I did not want to end. Before killing a man, I always found it calming to regard the trees. First lines such as this sell me so quickly on a read. Takes me back to Sam Hawke’s City of Lies (The Poison Wars #1): I was seven years old the first time my uncle poisoned me. It is unfortunate that I don’t come across nearly enough of those gripping lines, but I freaking live for them if they are out there. So… Per Dictonary.com, the term pariah means ‘an outcast, or any person or animal that is generally despised or avoided. Well, our protagonist, Alwyn, certainly fits that bill. The odd thing is, even though his lifestyle conveys the ‘outcast’ persona, there is just something about him that is endearing to others. Endearing may be the wrong word, but there is just… I don’t know; something that keeps him alive and in the company of others. His cunningness seems to be the main hand he plays, but his ability to pick up new skills in a short amount of time (among other things) shows why he is continually “employed” as it were. It is rare that I come across a character that I am so intrigued by and want to know so much more about. All praise goes to Ryan’s unquestionable ability to write, especially when it comes to characterization and setting. Every turn of the page had me completely immersed, combing through all the details to ensure I didn’t miss a beat. I definitely liken his writing to that of, say, a Mark Lawrence. There is just something so poetic in the words put to the page that tug on your emotions at a more sensory level. The world-building is crisp and lends itself well as a backdrop to the storyline. Descriptive without being overshare, at least until you get into the thick of the battle scenes. I have come across some amazing fight scenes and battles over the few years since I started reading fantasy, ala Joe Abercrombie and John Gwynne as examples, but I have to say: Ryan definitely deserves to be in that same tier. I felt every draw, parry, riposte, you name it. When it came right down to the gritty, bloody thick of it, you felt like you were sitting in the front row of a Gallagher show (you know, except it was brains instead of watermelons) If you are a fan of Ryan’s, you have probably already preordered this title. For those who aren’t familiar with his writing, I’d definitely recommend checking this one out if you enjoy some of the usual fantasy recommendations: George R. R. Martin, Bernard Cornwell, Mark Lawrence, or Michael J. Sullivan to name a few.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    This is the first instalment in The Covenant of the Steel series. Alwyn is the son of a whore and was raised as an outlaw. His early teachings were in bloodshed and treachery and he became a product of his beloved surroundings. All that changed when betrayal severed apart his rule-breaking family and he swapped the forests for the pits, where a new education began. As Alwyn learnt new skills there he never forgot one of the first he was taught - to never forget those who had wronged you and to re This is the first instalment in The Covenant of the Steel series. Alwyn is the son of a whore and was raised as an outlaw. His early teachings were in bloodshed and treachery and he became a product of his beloved surroundings. All that changed when betrayal severed apart his rule-breaking family and he swapped the forests for the pits, where a new education began. As Alwyn learnt new skills there he never forgot one of the first he was taught - to never forget those who had wronged you and to repay them in kind for their treachery. At the point of reading this book, I owned six Anthony Ryan books and had not previously opened one of them. Despite the two complete series of his that adorn my shelves, I could not pass the opportunity to discover what his latest release contained. I am so pleased that it lived up to the captivating brilliance that I believed this author to possess. This contained all the trappings of a great fantasy story and definitely veered towards the 'classic fantasy' side of the genre. This isn't to say it is a simpler story or one I feel I have read before. It merely means that the bones that structured tit felt familiar and that this was a book, despite its hefty page length, that felt easy to navigate. Each quarter had its own distinct geographical setting and focus. As Alwyn aged and learned to navigate them all, more particulars about the world surrounding him were also revealed. The early sections revolved around solely Alwyn and those in his vicinity but they soon began to incorporate more political and far-reaching facets which has me excited for the sequel and the endless possibilities of the direction it could take. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the author, Anthony Ryan, and the publisher, Orbit, for this opportunity.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Arundeepak Jayaseelan

    4.75/5 The Pariah by Anthony Ryan is a beautiful and brutal tale with some of the finest written action/battle sequences I've ever read. Needless to say it was a brilliant first entry in The Covenant of Steel series First of all huge thanks to the author and publishers for accepting my request in Netgalley and it goes without saying that this review is my unbiased opinion. Quick Summary: The Pariah, first entry in the The Covenant of Steel series follows the story of Alwyn Scribe, an outlaw of sha 4.75/5 The Pariah by Anthony Ryan is a beautiful and brutal tale with some of the finest written action/battle sequences I've ever read. Needless to say it was a brilliant first entry in The Covenant of Steel series First of all huge thanks to the author and publishers for accepting my request in Netgalley and it goes without saying that this review is my unbiased opinion. Quick Summary: The Pariah, first entry in the The Covenant of Steel series follows the story of Alwyn Scribe, an outlaw of sharp wit and deadly skills as he suffers a devastating betrayal and sets on a journey of vengeance. WHAT WORKED FOR ME IN THIS BOOK: Action/Battle sequences: All of the action sequences and Battle sequences in this book are vividly detailed and brutally depicted. It was so AWESOME to read and made me wish the battle sequences never ended. It was on par with John Gwynne's works, which are my favourite by the way. It was by far, the strongest aspects of this book The writing: Anthony Ryan's prose were magnificent to say the least. Even some lengthy dialogues between the characters didn't felt boring because of his prose and it made a one fine reading experience. Alwyn Scribe: Alwyn is a very well writen character with depth and flaws. He's sharp and brilliant but also naive enough to get manipulated at times. His realistic thoughts and actions were intriguing to read and makes him one of the well rounded character. Mysteries, Reveals and Prophecies: Even though the author established the world fairly well, some of the aspects of this world were left to wonder. I believe it was the author's intention and it actually worked well for me as it gave a mysterious feel to it. Prophecies played huge part in this book especially in the later half. I'm a sucker for prophecies playing out so it was definitely fun time for me. And the twists, betrayals and reveals in this book are really well written, it gave the much needed impact for the story and I honestly didn't see those coming. WHAT DIDN'T WORKED FOR ME IN THIS BOOK: The Pariah had a really good start with a day in the life of Alwyn as an outlaw but after the first 100 pages or so I started to feel like the story is a bit dragging till The battle at Traitor's field which occurs at about 300 page mark. I understand that it is required of the story for character building but still it felt too long. I also found some conversation between characters and some monologues were bit too long for my taste. But it didn't affect the overall quality of the book. it's just a minor nitpick. FINAL WORD: The Pariah by Anthony Ryan did what 4 other books couldn't. It got me out of my reading slump. It was that good and It's quality is almost equal to that of Blood Song IMO.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Liviu

    One of the best (epic) fantasy novels I've read in a while and definitely the top fantasy of 2021 at least so far; first-person narration with hints about the future, the usual grimdark setting with gods, churches, revelations, prophecies, secrets etc; the ending is at a good stopping point and promises a lot to come. Highly recommended One of the best (epic) fantasy novels I've read in a while and definitely the top fantasy of 2021 at least so far; first-person narration with hints about the future, the usual grimdark setting with gods, churches, revelations, prophecies, secrets etc; the ending is at a good stopping point and promises a lot to come. Highly recommended

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jayadev

    The synopsis gives you a false sense of the book's pacing. Events take way longer to unfold than what you'd expect from reading the synopsis. This slower pacing has authorial intent written all over it, whether it succeeded or not will depend upon the reader, personally I found it mildly annoying. The Protagonist Alwyn Scribe does not seem to have any sort of end goal throughout the book (other than trying to save his own skin which he does poorly). The plot felt aimless for the most part and th The synopsis gives you a false sense of the book's pacing. Events take way longer to unfold than what you'd expect from reading the synopsis. This slower pacing has authorial intent written all over it, whether it succeeded or not will depend upon the reader, personally I found it mildly annoying. The Protagonist Alwyn Scribe does not seem to have any sort of end goal throughout the book (other than trying to save his own skin which he does poorly). The plot felt aimless for the most part and the pacing is all over the place. The only saving grace was the characters. Alwyn's first person POV was enjoyable enough for me to get through the book.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Colby

    Anthony did something special with this book. This book has some of the old fantasy swashbuckling feels to it: Outlaw boy with a mind as sharp as any knife that is able to use his wit to maintain a positive moral compass all while fighting how said compass gets him in trouble time and time again. Like Black Song this book was great to read. And like most good fantasy it was laden with wisdom as well. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Will

    5 / 5 ✪ https://arefugefromlife.wordpress.com... Born into a whorehouse of Albermaine, Alwyn Scribe was raised as an outlaw by the infamous Deckin Scarl. Always quick with a word or a knife, Alwyn was outlaw material at its finest—something that he’d never lose even after becoming a military man. But while fighting under the banner of Evadine Courlain, a noblewoman with apocalyptic visions and the heart of a warrior, he’s seemed to find his true calling. But that’s the thing about one’s calling: it 5 / 5 ✪ https://arefugefromlife.wordpress.com... Born into a whorehouse of Albermaine, Alwyn Scribe was raised as an outlaw by the infamous Deckin Scarl. Always quick with a word or a knife, Alwyn was outlaw material at its finest—something that he’d never lose even after becoming a military man. But while fighting under the banner of Evadine Courlain, a noblewoman with apocalyptic visions and the heart of a warrior, he’s seemed to find his true calling. But that’s the thing about one’s calling: it takes time and living to find. And while Alwyn might just be better at this than he was as a criminal, can any man, no matter how talented, truly overcome life as an outlaw to become a knight? Or will he be stuck in the gutter forever; just another failure with a blade, robbing peasants in a lonely forest? Bit of a quick recap for me, but I didn’t want to spoil too much. Thing is, despite what was spoiled by the brief—the bit about the King’s army in particular—Alwyn’s life was a mysterious delight to read about, never knowing where the former outlaw would turn next. From friends and companions, lovers and assets, rivals and foes, the people in Alwyn’s wake are what define him. The author’s ability to build deep, flawed, relatable characters pretty much paves Alwyn’s path for him. Anyone can start in the gutter. It’s not that hard. Raising one’s self up from there is the challenge. And staying alive long enough to do so. It’s quite the journey told here—something almost up to the breadth of Blood Song, be it without all the time spent as a student of the blade. Instead of a military society, Alwyn must rely on his wit, his reflexes, his allies, and his need for vengeance to keep him going. One of the main differences between Alwyn and Vaelin is that where al Sorna is a leader, Alwyn Scribe is not. Rebecca (from Powder & Page) pointed this out so well in her review. Of how it’s so different from someone rising to become a hero, a leader. How he plays the supporting role so well. She pretty much nailed it. So while it’s his life we live through this, the telling takes on so much of the echoes of whom he chooses to follow in it. Deckin Scarl, Ascendant Sihlda, Evadine Courlain. I mean, there’s time where he’s on his own too, but often it seems that Alwyn simply attaches himself to famous or ambitious folk. That it’s not about how he changes the world, it’s about how those around him will shape it. For a bit of the book Alwyn is alone. I mean, while he attaches himself to the infamous, he keeps only his own counsel. But for a good chunk of it he relies on the wisdom of his friends to keep him on track. In particular, of Toria and Brewer. You know how one of your friends is always the angel on your shoulder while the other plays the devil? Of course not. Because people aren’t like that. While some may be less honorable or savory than others, they’re all human. With their own faults and opinions. These two (as well as a few choice others) color the way Alwyn lives near as much as whatever mythical figure he’s following. It’s for the best then that neither one makes a very good angel—more entertaining that way. An excellent start to what I’m sure will be an excellent new series—provided there’s no Queen of Fire in it. I want the next one so badly now it hurts!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    The education of Alwyn Scribe Opening with a map and a Dramatis Personae, I was immediately grateful to the author, as I sometimes find myself overwhelmed with keeping track of characters and places. The story is a memoir of a whore's child abandoned to the forest , which begins a life of self preservation and unusual loyalties. As with Blood Song, it's all in the telling, and Anthony Ryan is one of the best at slowly weaving the threads of a character's life into a fascinating journey. Life as a The education of Alwyn Scribe Opening with a map and a Dramatis Personae, I was immediately grateful to the author, as I sometimes find myself overwhelmed with keeping track of characters and places. The story is a memoir of a whore's child abandoned to the forest , which begins a life of self preservation and unusual loyalties. As with Blood Song, it's all in the telling, and Anthony Ryan is one of the best at slowly weaving the threads of a character's life into a fascinating journey. Life as a thief teaches the realities of the world, with Alwyn learning many harsh lessons just from naivety. Betrayal seems to be a middle name along life's path, but so does the forging of strong relationships. However, with betrayal comes the obsession for revenge and Alwyn 's path takes many turns to get there. I received an ARC from Goodreads giveaway and couldn't have won a better prize.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    This author has never failed to make me not love any of his books. This is superbly written full of well written characters full of twist and turns. Also shows the good and bad sides of human nature in all its glory. A touch of grimdark to give it back bone and to make us the readers come back for more. Another great start to a new series

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jovana (NovelOnMyMind)

    3.5 ⭐ I was in a mood for a nice, long epic fantasy, and The Pariah seemed like the exact kind of book I needed. But I ended up having mixed feelings about it. I listened to this book as an audiobook. I really liked the narrator. But, as most epic fantasies, this one would probably be easier to read at least partially physically. Just because it really helps when I can see all the unfamiliar names on the paper, plus the maps… Anyways, there were several things I really liked about The Pariah. The w 3.5 ⭐ I was in a mood for a nice, long epic fantasy, and The Pariah seemed like the exact kind of book I needed. But I ended up having mixed feelings about it. I listened to this book as an audiobook. I really liked the narrator. But, as most epic fantasies, this one would probably be easier to read at least partially physically. Just because it really helps when I can see all the unfamiliar names on the paper, plus the maps… Anyways, there were several things I really liked about The Pariah. The writing style was really good. And I loved the characters (though, ironically, I feel like I didn’t get to know the main character all that well). And the setting was exactly what I wanted to see. But, unfortunately, I had a problem with the story itself. Apart from religion, the fantasy part of this book was very subtle. Practically no magic at all. Which – I mean, I was counting on at least a dragon or two, but oh well. As typical for epic fantasies, the beginning was kind of slow. Though a lot was going on, what we really got were small bursts of action that were barely, if at all, connected. For the longest time I had the feeling that the main thread of the story hasn't started yet. The whole book felt like an introduction to the story, or a prequel. Here's what was going on before the things you actually want to hear about. I can’t say I was thrilled about it, but I’m willing to let it slide, just barely, and only because it is the first book in the series. Luckily, it was all well written and pretty interesting, so it didn't bother me as much as it normally would. But, yes – the book could definitely use a stronger overarching story. The lack of it made everything that happened seem a bit random and chopped up. Thank you to Hachette Audio and NetGalley for providing me with an audiobook version of The Pariah by Anthony Ryan in exchange for an honest review. ❤️️ ❤️️ ❤️️

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    The Pariah is the first entry in a new series by Anthony Ryan. It follows Alwyn Scribe, an outlaw who lives in the woods with his comrades. However, a betrayal sets him on a new path filled with blood and vengeance. I’d like to thank Orbit Books and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this novel. Unfortunately for me it was a DNF. I got to 22% which is about 120ish pages in, so I can only talk about that first 22%. I definitely think that this was well-written and the character work stuck The Pariah is the first entry in a new series by Anthony Ryan. It follows Alwyn Scribe, an outlaw who lives in the woods with his comrades. However, a betrayal sets him on a new path filled with blood and vengeance. I’d like to thank Orbit Books and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this novel. Unfortunately for me it was a DNF. I got to 22% which is about 120ish pages in, so I can only talk about that first 22%. I definitely think that this was well-written and the character work stuck me in this portion as pretty good, for the main character at least. However, this is written in first person POV, and because I didn’t connect with or particularly like the MC, I really struggled to get to 22%. This was incredibly character focused to start, and while there was nothing that particularly upset me or that I felt was wrong, it just felt a lot more gritty and crass than I cared for. The MC didn’t even feel gray exactly, he just felt like a skeezy guy and I didn’t care to read about him. Because this was a review copy, I tried to push through, but after a month of putting it down pretty quickly after picking it up, I hit the point that I knew it would just be a hate read if I continued. I do recommend this book if you like morally questionable main characters, don’t mind a single POV for that questionable person, and like gritty character-driven stories.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa (Intotheheartwyld)

    Thank you Orbit and Netgalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. Well lets just jump right into this. As we can all see I had a vastly different reaction to this story in comparison to others who have read this. This is actually my first full length novel by Anthony Ryan, but not my first foray into his writing, I am actually reading his novella series The Seven Swords, and I enjoy them. So I figured I would enjoy this as well since I had been wanting to read a longer Thank you Orbit and Netgalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. Well lets just jump right into this. As we can all see I had a vastly different reaction to this story in comparison to others who have read this. This is actually my first full length novel by Anthony Ryan, but not my first foray into his writing, I am actually reading his novella series The Seven Swords, and I enjoy them. So I figured I would enjoy this as well since I had been wanting to read a longer story of his, but alas this did not work for me, this actually proved to me that I prefer his short story telling over his long. To start, that tag line by Mr. Gwynne is full of lies and I say that in the nicest way possible. This was not full of vengeance and betrayal. This is why I do not read them and take them with a grain of salt. The Pariah reads like its historical fiction and not fantasy, and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with historical fiction, I actually enjoy the genre, when I am in the mood for it, but this being pitched as fantasy with such minuscule feels of fantasy made it a tough read to get immersed into. I kept waiting for that fantastical element to pop up but nothing ever did. This lead to me being very bored with the story, it felt like it took ages to get through the chapters and I found myself more times then not becoming sleepy because it felt like so very little happening even though a lot was happening, it just wasn't presented in an engaging manner. Towards the end and I say this with all grace and honesty I started actively avoiding picking it up because I knew I was not enjoying it and could tell nothing was going to make this turn around for me. I even dropped my rating after finishing, I was originally leaning towards a 3. The most frustrating bit for me comes from the fact that the story shifts drastically from how it starts out. When starting out you are lead to believe that this is going to be a tale of Alwyn getting revenge for his fallen outlaws, a betrayal of the deepest kind, and a tale of two men, a true king and false king fighting for control, and some how Alywn will become entwined in this, and part one even ends on this note. But once part two got going slowly that story-line started to fall to the wayside and the religious story-line with the Covenant, the Seraphile, the scourge and malecite took over and everything that part one set up, just feels completely lost and forgotten. Sure at times its mentioned that Alwyn still wants his revenge and a few moments are taken to bring that part of the story back into play but its very short lived and then quickly removed from the forefront again but even after awhile that stops. I enjoyed the start of the tale immensely, all the moments of going through Alwyn being part of the outlaws was interesting and engaging. We learned how he came to be part of the crew, where he stood, what their punishments were like under the Outlaw king. The whole Outlaw king portion was so interesting and it ended way to quickly and it was set up to make you feel like it was important but it really wasn't, it was just filler to move the start of the story along, and that is so frustrating as it was the most interesting part. I wanted to know who betrayed who, and its of course reveled so far late in the story after having felt like it was forgetting about that I no longer cared, nor believed it when it was told yet Alywn was like "yup okay that checks out because now I'm more focused on apparently being obsessed with Evadine" and then that's it for the revenge plot line. I don’t care for religious plots, so that in of itself was not interesting for me (I can handle it as a side plot), but in this tale it was slow, and felt dragged out and a lot of the time confusing, and its heavily focused on, its clearly the main plot, not the stuff that went on with the outlaw king. The story is also told from Alwyn's pov in 1st person, and once again I am coming to conclusion that this style is my least favorite. It does nothing for the larger cast of characters. We only get to see one side of everyone because we are only seeing them through Alwyn's eyes and while they each had their own personalities none of them shined or stood out because they only acted one way, which was the way Alwyn claimed they acted. You never get to see their full reactions to any of the situations, you never get to see the more complex sides of any of them. I enjoyed the first meeting with Ayin, that was wild and unexpected, but aside from that nothing drew me to anyone. To add more frustration all of this led me to I feel nothing for anyone, some other reviews talk about the heartbreak this conjured and I being the sensitive little lady that I am, felt no heartbreak for anyone. The deaths felt flat, and some where mentioned in passing that you didn't get time to take them in, outside of that death is so prevalent that it left nothing to be hurt about. Also another point to be made, Alywn is so far from being deft with a sword, don’t believe the lies the synopsis tells you. The reason for the lower rating was the absolute off the wall and straight out of left field take on Alywn being in love with a certain character. This is just randomly thrown at you at the end with zero build up, zero evidence that it was ever a factor and its presented like it was always there. It was jarring, off putting and instantly grated on my nerves. I have a feeling what kind of "love" this is going to turn into, but the lack of build up to it makes it fall completely in the realm of "wtf". The last bit is the magic.. at least I think its magic, its never really stated if there is or isn't magic. There is talk of witches with gifts, but of course they are heathens and its presented in manner that leads on to believe its just false rumors flying around. Evadine has visions.. The closest thing to magic that appears is all related to the Sack Witch and its not until the end that it starts to make you think "oh look there is magic in this world" The good of this story falls into the writing, while it was long and at times exasperating it is the writing of someone who has clearly been doing this for a long time. It easy to picture what is going on based on descriptions and the battle/fight scenes are well thought out and constructed wonderfully. I'm not big into structure battlement fights, I find them boring and they are used in this and while I did not like them I can say they where written with knowledge and managed to portray what was happening. Although the world is kind of bland and boring, nothing new and exciting. Also the illuminator, he appeared for like one chapter but oh my gosh I loved learning about him and what his job entailed. All in all, this just was not the story for me, and i'll probably not pick up book 2.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Karen Barber

    The Pariah is my first experience of reading anything by Anthony Ryan, and I can safely say it won’t be my last. Thanks to NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this prior to publication, and to the author for delivering a book that would seem to be the first in what promises to be an exciting trilogy. Our main character is Alwyn Scribe, and events are narrated through his eyes. This means there are some details about him and his past that we don’t get answers to, but it does allow us a clea The Pariah is my first experience of reading anything by Anthony Ryan, and I can safely say it won’t be my last. Thanks to NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this prior to publication, and to the author for delivering a book that would seem to be the first in what promises to be an exciting trilogy. Our main character is Alwyn Scribe, and events are narrated through his eyes. This means there are some details about him and his past that we don’t get answers to, but it does allow us a clear focused look at events Alwyn is caught up in. There’s a lot crammed into this, but the book is so well-structured that it doesn’t feel too much. I have to say that first impressions were not immediately favourable. I made the mistake of trying to read this while reading another book alongside. The style/world-building was so dense that it felt difficult to engage with when not giving it my undivided attention…however, once I focused solely on this, I immersed myself in it and could not wait to see what came next. Alwyn begins the story as an outlaw, part of a group under the leadership of one of the King’s illegitimate children. He is not above committing awful acts, but he exhibits a keen moral compass and shows himself willing to do the right thing. When the group is attacked (which is definitely suspicious) Alwyn is captured and taken prisoner. In some ways he is lucky as he survives some awful experiences, and the other characters he meets along the way give us the opportunity to see him in a slightly more rounded way. From the outset I was struck by the attention to detail. It’s descriptive, but not in a way that seems unnecessary. Every event and setting was captured in a way that vividly brought them to life. Alwyn, in some ways, leads a charmed life but there are numerous hints that there may be more to him than has been revealed in this book. I enjoyed the way this was put together, with Alwyn shifting from outlaw to prisoner to soldier…and to then find himself in familiar territory at the end, but with a clearer objective in mind that seems to be part of a bigger picture. Some of the characters will linger longer in my mind, but I remain convinced that there is a lot more to this man than we’ve been told about so far. I can’t wait to see how this story picks up in book two.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Traveling Cloak

    The Pariah is the first installment in Anthony Ryan’s latest series, The Covenant of Steel. This series is off to a really good start with tons of action, good writing flow, and a cast of characters that make story worth following. I am not Ryan expert, but I have read a few of his novellas, and that has given me enough ammo to be able to say that the author’s reputation as a great storyteller is well-earned. My favorite aspect of this book is the way the narrative ebbs and flows. I enjoy reading The Pariah is the first installment in Anthony Ryan’s latest series, The Covenant of Steel. This series is off to a really good start with tons of action, good writing flow, and a cast of characters that make story worth following. I am not Ryan expert, but I have read a few of his novellas, and that has given me enough ammo to be able to say that the author’s reputation as a great storyteller is well-earned. My favorite aspect of this book is the way the narrative ebbs and flows. I enjoy reading stories with a main conflict and many mini-conflicts along the way. I just love the suspense that is created as that type of format constantly keeps me on edge, and I look forward to how satisfying each mini-climax is as they are resolved, en route to the big payoff of the larger storyline. It feels episodic at times, and that is very appealing to me as a reader. The periodic action sequence to pullback and reset successions add to that mix, as well. I felt like that reading The Pariah, consistently wondering how are they going to get out of this situation, now that one; and, at the same time, what are the permanent effects of this leg of the journey going to be? Kudos to Ryan’s writing on the fabulous way in which this story flows, and the adventurous nature of the plot. The writing style might have been my favorite part, but I do not want to underrate the characters, either. Alwyn is a perfect lead in this book. He is telling the story from his point of view in past tense, giving it almost a memoir kind of feeling. The retrospective nature of this is fun, but there is an added layer to having this kind of narrator. Are they reliable or not? At this point the jury is out, and I have a good time trying to parse some of the details to figure that out. That may be me just reading too much into it, and the narrator is meant to be reliable all along; but, at this point who knows, and I like the mystery of it. Of course, Alwyn is not the only character. Another really intriguing aspect of this book is the found family piece, but also that it changes so much as the story progresses. There end up being main stays: I mentioned Alwyn, but also Toria and Brewer end up as stable supporting characters. Toria is foul-mouthed and downright mean, sometimes, but she is loyal as hell and tough as nails. Brewer is not quite as jagged around the edges, but he is a great warrior. These two compliment the scheming and pensive Alwyn really well, who is also not afraid of a fight but always planning his escape at the same time. There are many other characters along the way, all contributing to the story as best as they can. The most interesting ones are those that Alwyn chooses to follow, and he has several different leaders along the way all with different personalities. I find it interesting that, for all of Alwyn’s plotting, it feels for much of the book as though his fate is out of his hands. Alwyn is pulled along trying to help accomplish the goals of whomever holds his figurative leash at any given time, and that is one of the reasons why the writing flows so well: it constantly flits from one storyline to the next, in a very whimsical sort of way. One thing I noticed that would take me out of the storyline every once in a while is the “I was holding a weapon but did not remember drawing it” trope. I enjoy fantasy tropes, and I know writing methods like this exist for a reason, but I think Ryan used this one (or variations of it) too often. This is something Ryan is known for in his writing, inserting these very fantasy style phrases – and I love them. I just think if you use the same one too often it becomes too noticeable, and if it is something I have to think about too much then takes away from the story a little. This is a minor thing, but it happened enough to stick with me. Overall, The Pariah is a really good fantasy read. The story is adventurous and gritty, and I love writing style. This is a definite recommendation for fans of fantasy.

  20. 4 out of 5

    David S Meanderings)

    DO NOT read the synopsis directly before starting this book! DNF @ 77% Thank you to Orbit books for this arc in exchange for an honest review. I was so excited for this book. Anthony Ryan is one of my favorite authors and his debut novel Blood Song is one of my favorite single novels of all time. Unfortunately it will probably go down as my most disappointing read of 2021. I am not going to star rate this book. I don't think it's fair to either the book or the author. Let me explain. My biggest issue DO NOT read the synopsis directly before starting this book! DNF @ 77% Thank you to Orbit books for this arc in exchange for an honest review. I was so excited for this book. Anthony Ryan is one of my favorite authors and his debut novel Blood Song is one of my favorite single novels of all time. Unfortunately it will probably go down as my most disappointing read of 2021. I am not going to star rate this book. I don't think it's fair to either the book or the author. Let me explain. My biggest issue with The Pariah, and the reason I won't be star rating it, comes from the fact that I read the book blurb/description/synopsis (whatever you call it) directly before I started the book. This is not usually an issue for me as it typically only includes vague info about the overall story and maybe a spoiler for tops 10% or 50 pages in. Not so with the Pariah. By the time the last thing in the synopsis happened we are already 50% into the novel. Due to this I was constantly waiting for the story to "start" up until that point and was therefore never invested or engaged in what was currently happening because I knew nothing mattered that much until those events occured. I think if I hadn't done that I would have enjoyed this story more than I did, though I still don't think I would have loved it. Unfortunately, I cannot erase my memory of the book blurb or feelings for that first 50% of the book to see if my opinion would change:/ The Pariah had some good stuff in it. Solid characterization, action sequences, and an interesting plot. The one con for me purely for personal taste is that there was a hyper focus and discourse on the religion of the world and I was just not up for that in this story for some reason. However, that typically is not something that really bothers me so take that with a grain of salt. Overall, I think the Pariah is worth your time even though I didn't end up loving it. Publishers, or whoever decides these things, need to be more sensitive about the information they are putting in their book blurbs because it truly can affect enjoyment when the spoilers are this bad.

  21. 4 out of 5

    sol

    look at that cover i love high fantasy

  22. 5 out of 5

    Barefoot Gypsy Jimerson

    BANG UP JOB!!!! Once again it's been my pleasure to read Anthony Ryan again. This story is told by the main character its his life story. How he gets tangle up in others lives. How he goes from one hell hole to the next. How he puts other people lives before his without knowing that he has done so. We are left hanging at the end. So please step it up on book #2.DAMN GOOD READ!!!!!!! BANG UP JOB!!!! Once again it's been my pleasure to read Anthony Ryan again. This story is told by the main character its his life story. How he gets tangle up in others lives. How he goes from one hell hole to the next. How he puts other people lives before his without knowing that he has done so. We are left hanging at the end. So please step it up on book #2.DAMN GOOD READ!!!!!!!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Holly (The GrimDragon)

    This beast just isn't doing it for me, so I'm going to DNF it, which is now the second Anthony Ryan I've done so for. For posterity's sake, I dug the first books in the Raven's Shadow series, so his writing is evidently quite divisive for me! ::sigh:: Jaime Jones knows how to rock a fucking cover though, I'll tell you that! DNF @ page 124 This beast just isn't doing it for me, so I'm going to DNF it, which is now the second Anthony Ryan I've done so for. For posterity's sake, I dug the first books in the Raven's Shadow series, so his writing is evidently quite divisive for me! ::sigh:: Jaime Jones knows how to rock a fucking cover though, I'll tell you that! DNF @ page 124

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jordan

    *4.5 A brilliant fantasy beginning. Full review to come closer to publication!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen Minde

    Anthony Ryan's debut novel, Blood Song, was absolutely impressive. His characters in Blood Song are well written and, like them or hate them, memorable. The world building is phenomenal and his storytelling style makes the story flow. I loved this book and became an instant fan. While I liked the following books in the series and his Draconis Memoria series, nothing hit me quite like Blood Song. Now comes The Pariah (The Covenant of Steel, Book 1) and I remember all the reasons I loved Anthony Ry Anthony Ryan's debut novel, Blood Song, was absolutely impressive. His characters in Blood Song are well written and, like them or hate them, memorable. The world building is phenomenal and his storytelling style makes the story flow. I loved this book and became an instant fan. While I liked the following books in the series and his Draconis Memoria series, nothing hit me quite like Blood Song. Now comes The Pariah (The Covenant of Steel, Book 1) and I remember all the reasons I loved Anthony Ryan's debut and can't help but think this is his best book yet. Written in the first person narrative, The Pariah tells the story of Alwyn, an outlaw hiding in the forest with a notorious band of thieves and murderers. The clever Alwyn is a chameleon amongst his band of outcasts. His intelligence makes the former brothel orphan a quick learner with a sharp ear and an ability to disguise himself as anyone, or anything. The beginning of The Pariah has Alwyn dressed as a stinking, homeless dullard distracting a royal party traveling through the forest, right before the band attacks. His ability with a knife is rather impressive. But betrayal from within the outlaws changes everything for Alwyn and he finds he must rely on his intellect and ability as a fast learner in order to survive the next few years of his life. What he learns from the tutelage of the gentle Ascendant Sihlda in the brutal mine pits then indirectly places him on the battlefield serving the fearless Captain Evadine Courlain, a noblewoman with visions of the apocalypse. However, throughout his years as outlaw, prisoner, scribe, then soldier, Alwyn has harbored plans of revenge against those who betrayed him and he would do what it takes to avenge what happened. The characters are well rounded and interesting--especially the woman--and the reader will miss those who leave the story. While the magic found in The Pariah is more subtle than that of Blood Song and the Draconis Memoria books, it is still inspired. He is able to write a horrifyingly brutal battle scene full of screams and the sounds of clashing steel, but the reader will find they can focus their attention only on the two men engaged in a swordfight as the fighting rages around them. It was an intense scene that had me riveted. His tender teaching moments between the conflicted young Alwyn and his patient tutor brought me to tears. You can smell the squalor of the mine pits, feel the pain of a fistfight, see the beauty of the library, hear the crashing of swords. In essence, Ryan's writing is brilliant. I cannot wait for the next book in this series. (My thanks and gratitude to the publisher and Anthony Ryan for providing me with the advanced reader copy of The Pariah in exchange for an honest review. I thoroughly enjoyed it and my opinions are my own.)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    This author has never failed to make me not love any of his books. This is superbly written full of well written characters full of twist and turns. Also shows the good and bad sides of human nature in all its glory. A touch of grimdark to give it back bone and to make us the readers come back for more. Another great start to a new series.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Katy

    3.75 stars The Pariah follows the story of Alwyn, an outlaw who we follow throughout his life as he grows up. This book sets up a great foundation for the future of the series and proves a compelling and intriguing tale. We start with Alwyn being part of a gang of outlaws, acting as a young spy to the outlaw king. When the outlaw king decides he has ambitions on the local duchy, an criminal uprising goes wrong and Alwyn ends up sent to the mining pits, eventually ending up as a soldier for the my 3.75 stars The Pariah follows the story of Alwyn, an outlaw who we follow throughout his life as he grows up. This book sets up a great foundation for the future of the series and proves a compelling and intriguing tale. We start with Alwyn being part of a gang of outlaws, acting as a young spy to the outlaw king. When the outlaw king decides he has ambitions on the local duchy, an criminal uprising goes wrong and Alwyn ends up sent to the mining pits, eventually ending up as a soldier for the mysterious Evadine - a powerful and mysterious noble and religious figure. Alwyn also trains as a scribe, which I think adds to the beautiful storytelling and adds an extra interesting element to his character. This is quite a lyrical tale and reminded me a lot of The Name of the Wind (with a much more likeable main character haha) in terms of both following Alwyn as he grows up and setting the foundation of the world for future books in the series. I thought the story was fairly meandering however I actually really enjoyed the slower pace and getting to know the characters and political set up of the world. I really liked Alwyn as a character, his dry humour and cheek was so charming and he was a very compelling narrator. Throughout the book Alwyn must reckon with various circumstances that are thrown his way, and I really liked his approach to new challenges and how adaptable he is. I also really liked some of the side characters, especially Toria - a fellow criminal whom Alwyn meets in the mining pits. I really liked their friendship and loyalty to one another. Evadine was another very intriguing character, I'm obviously always a sucker for a sexy powerful lady but her devotion to religion and strange compulsion she has over others. One thing I loved about this book was the exploration of religion, it is a huge theme of the book and how it ties into the conflict and politics of the world is so fascinating. Alwyn's relationship with religion and faith throughout the book is also very interesting, he is very much a follower and spends much of his time in the novel in service to and following various different leaders, of varying degrees of faith. The concept of worshipping Martyrs and how people like having the old Martyrs but do not want to accept any new ones adds an interesting element to the conflicts, reflecting the general human state of disliking change. The magic is a little vague which I think adds to the mysterious quality of the book and we are discovering more about it along with Alwyn, which I really enjoyed. In conclusion I really enjoyed this book, a great start to a new fantasy series with gorgeous prose and a loveable main character.

  28. 4 out of 5

    K.V. Johansen

    A new book by Anthony Ryan is always something I look forward to, so it was great to get an early look at this one in an ARC. The Pariah fully delivers what I've come to expect from him: a richly-detailed world with well-developed characters, a complex plot that takes those characters where neither they nor the reader expected them to go, mysteries, prophecy, viscerally-felt action, and  a protagonist to  root for -- in this one -- a possible hero struggling into being from a beginning that neve A new book by Anthony Ryan is always something I look forward to, so it was great to get an early look at this one in an ARC. The Pariah fully delivers what I've come to expect from him: a richly-detailed world with well-developed characters, a complex plot that takes those characters where neither they nor the reader expected them to go, mysteries, prophecy, viscerally-felt action, and  a protagonist to  root for -- in this one -- a possible hero struggling into being from a beginning that never gave him much of a chance. Alwyn was born into a bleak and unjust world in  a brothel and raised by outlaws; a thief and a murderer, he takes every opportunity that comes his way to win a few coins or a few more days above ground. He's not merely a cunning survivor, though. He's sharp-witted, intellectually curious, and a quick study. He also, despite failures and a measure of self-deception, wants to be loyal to his friends; he wants to defend those even more vulnerable than himself; he wants -- one starts to think, though he shies away from saying it outright in his account of the civil and religious wars in which he finds himself a player -- things, including himself, to be different. I'm definitely looking forward to following Alwyn through more adventures to come.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Delaney

    Review for The Pariah by Anthony Ryan A huge thank you Orbit for the sending me a copy to review! Blurb: “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 E Review for The Pariah by Anthony Ryan A huge thank you Orbit for the sending me a copy to review! Blurb: “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?” My Thoughts I went into this book super excited to read my first book from Ryan. It has outlaws, betrayals, and a vengeance arc in it, what’s not to love?! I have a few bones to pick but want to get into what I did enjoy first. My favorite, shining star of this book was Toria. She brought me the most joy out of all the characters and is who I would be the most interested in learning more about in subsequent books. While she isn’t our main character, she did consistently make me chuckle when she showed up on the page. A close second is Ayin, who has a sharp edge to her, but can also be very ignorant to the world around her. Think of a deer caught in the headlights, who also knows how to wield a knife, and you’ve got Ayin. Then we have Alwyn. I really wanted to love him, but something just didn’t click for me. He’s an outlaw, he’s been betrayed, and just goes through it in the first chunk of this book if we’re being honest. But something just made me not enjoy reading his journey. Maybe it’s because through a 600+ page book, I never really got to know him. Sure, we must leave some mystery to his character for future books, but I just didn’t get to connect to him at all. It also never helps when I have to hear about a teenage boy being lust filled every time we meet another female character. It’s a big no from me. The pacing of this book starts off really strong, and tips at about the 30% mark, and then everything seems to move in slow motion. This book sets us up for a lot to come, and almost felt like a prequel should. It has a ton of exposition, and what feels like a lot of filler right now. In first books in a series you expect a lot of worldbuilding, but it ended up feeling a bit like a history textbook without any payoff. I found my mind wandering through pages of Alwyn’s internal monologue, with a very small amount of actual dialogue to break it up. Overall, I went in expecting to love this because the premise sounds great, and I usually love following a single character throughout a vast adventure. It missed the mark due to its glacial pacing, lack of Alwyn’s character depth, and exposition that seemed to come without a payoff. Overall (TLDR) I know this book has (and will continue) to find an audience who loves it. I’d recommend it to those who want a new fantasy series to truly immerse themselves in with a slow plot and a lot of information. I’m bummed that I didn’t enjoy this as much as I was hoping, but I’ll always be honest in my reviews. I’d rate this a 2.5/5 but rounded up to rate via Goodreads and Netgalley. Thank you as always to Orbit for the copy to review! This has in no way altered my opinions. Go read this, and then find me on Instagram and Twitter! Instagram Twitter

  30. 5 out of 5

    Surbhi Das

    The Pariah follows the main character, Alwyn as we go on his journey from being a young and clever outlaw to a scribe and soldier. Written in first person pov, the story is narrated in a form of a testament. It appears that Alwyn is talking to the readers, which creates a sense of foreboding for the things to come and I absolutely loved it. The story is very much character driven but maintains a steady pace with the plot. The writing is gorgeous and the world feels familiar but also has a unique The Pariah follows the main character, Alwyn as we go on his journey from being a young and clever outlaw to a scribe and soldier. Written in first person pov, the story is narrated in a form of a testament. It appears that Alwyn is talking to the readers, which creates a sense of foreboding for the things to come and I absolutely loved it. The story is very much character driven but maintains a steady pace with the plot. The writing is gorgeous and the world feels familiar but also has a unique quality to it. But, the characters are what makes this book, especially, Alwyn. He is such a fantastic character. Some of his actions are questionable at best of times but he has got his heart in the right place and cares so deeply for his friends. We get to see some really wonderful friendships in the book. Especially, Alwyn and Toria- I loved how they schemed together and how wholesome their relationship was despite so many hardships and struggles. Among other things, one of the very important themes of the book is religious fanatiscm and how it influences the people and politics of a country. I think the author did a great job in highlighting this theme in a very nuanced and insightful manner. There's a lot of hints about the cultures and magic of other countries that didn't get explored in this book so I look forward to seeing how the author expand on it in the future books. Overall, The Pariah was a fantastic read and if you are looking for a character driven fantasy, this one is worth checking out!! ARC received via Netgalley!

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