Thursday, August 19, 2021

Review: The Pariah by Anthony Ryan

The Pariah by Anthony Ryan
Publication Date: August 24th, 2021
Paperback. 608 pages.

About The Pariah:

"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?"

The Pariah is the start of a trilogy that will take readers on a journey of Alwyn Scribe's life, from outlaw and thief to scribe and everything in between. This was a weirdly cozy, nostalgic-feeling book, and I think that was largely due to the setting and the fact that this book has a very strong "the adventure is just beginning" vibe that really makes me feel excited. 

The Pariah has some really complex and interesting world-building. There's a map in the beginning, but honestly it doesn't do the world justice and it certainly didn't prepare me for what to expect-which was a nice surprise!

Alwyn begins this story as a thief and outlaw and slowly grows into more and more as he encounter new situations and obstacles that require new roles and adaptations. We also get some glimpses back into his early days of meeting his fellow thieves and how he came to be at the point in which this story starts, which I found interesting and helpful to the story. 

Alwyn is a great narrator and I really enjoy getting to read this book both from his perspective and from getting to explore his own character growth. He's a pretty flawed person, overall, and he's intelligent and naive, but also constantly looking to grow and learn more about the world around him. He absorbs a lot of information easily and quickly, and I think that made him a particularly engaging character to follow. Along his journey, Alwyn meets a pretty wide variety of interesting figures and characters that make up the supporting cast, and I found all of these character very multi-dimensional and compelling. It was fun to see all of the different relationships and dynamics between Alwyn and other characters and how they affected his life and actions, and either have played or will play a large role in his current and future endeavors. 

The pacing itself is a bit on the slower side overall, I would say. It's not that it's a particularly slow book or that the content is overly dense, but it's one of those that really made me slow down and required a bit more focus than I expected. I was drawn in from the first chapter, but after that the story does take a little while to really get going and for things to feel like they pick up. This could be hit or miss with people, as I don't mind a start that takes its time to get into things in the way that The Pariah did. As you progress, however, the story begins to grow in scope and depth rather quickly and it's easy to stay captivated by the plot. 

The tone of the narrative really hammers home this idea that everything that happened in this book- the entire journey that Alwyn has already been on-is only the beginning of something so much bigger than we can expect. There's definitely a bit of prologue/introductory feel in this book, especially in the ways that it introduces us to important elements of the world, the word in general, some of the main players that play important roles both now and/or in the future, and Alwyn's personality and outlook on life. 

There are so many important working elements in this book's world, from political, religious, societal, to so much more that really helps to build this world into something new and exciting. There's a lot to follow and remember and it seemed slightly overwhelming at times, but I think Ryan excelled at conveying all of that in a manner that really makes sense and somehow made it easy to follow. 

The only areas I struggled with at all in The Pariah were with the more extensive discussions between characters that seemed to drag on occasionally. The religion elements in this book were interesting, but also complex and integrated quite a bit into the plot, and I found the pacing felt a bit interrupted whenever a character or description would come up and go into things for a bit too long, and a lot of this took the form of long dialogue spreads. 

Overall, I've given The Pariah 4.5 stars! I really can't wait to see where this trilogy goes next, because I have a feeling it's only going to get better and more epic. 

*I received a copy of The Pariah courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Buy the book: Amazon | Indiebound 

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