The Pariah (Covenant of Steel #1) by Anthony Ryan - Book Review

Write on: Sat, 16 Jul 2022 by  in Jordan's Reviews Read 372

The Pariah is a captivating, masterfully told tale of adventure and revenge. This book got its hooks in me from page one. It is full of vibrant characters and dire moments, breakneck action and fireside recollections. The Pariah feels gripping in the same way as Anthony Ryan’s earlier novel, Blood Song. Ryan’s immersive style of storytelling is deceptively simple and deeply engaging.

A young outlaw faces a brutal and uncaring world amidst a company of rogues and oddballs. When betrayal shatters his oddly idyllic banditry, his life becomes a fight for survival, for answers, and ultimately for revenge. The plot is simple and yet compelling, propelled by its rich characterization.

Ultimately, it is the characters that are most remarkable in this novel. Although the inhabitants of this story are familiar in the sense that we have seen many characters like them, they feel uniquely motivated and articulated. Without ever sacrificing the novel’s forward momentum, Ryan delivers a well-imagined cast that lives off the page.

The setting was probably the most generic element of this story. It’s reminiscent of medieval England in a way that makes it almost transparent. We specifically get some Robin Hood in Sherwood Forest vibes in the early chapters. While I don’t think this detracted from the story, it didn’t necessarily add much either.  

Anthony Ryan’s writing is excellent. His storytelling voice really draws you into the Pariah in a way few authors can manage. He doesn’t do it with florid prose, he does it with deceptively straightforward writing that echoes a good yarn told around the campfire.

This book was a joy to read. A well-paced, utterly thrilling book full of memorable characters and heart-pounding action. My favorite novel of the year.

Last modified on Saturday, 16 July 2022 07:30

Jordan Loyal Short is an author of epic fantasy, an inveterate nerd, and a small business owner. He has worked in a variety of industries, as a waiter, bartender, copywriter and more. These days, Jordan lives in Washington state with his wife where he is currently daydreaming about the end of the world. Books by Jordan Loyal Short: The Skald's Black Verse The Weeping Sigil Travels in the Dark

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