My apologies for the lateness of this review, just glad I was able to post it before the book releases. Since this book isn't released to the public I will keep this review Spoiler Free. Names and Places can potentially be spoilers, so I will try to just bring up the main character, Alwyn. I want to start off this post by saying that I am already a big fan of Anthony Ryan. Blood Song still continues to be one of the best fantasy books I've read in the last ten years and I've been hard pressed to find another author that can make such an impact with his books as Mr. Ryan does. I've yet to read his Draconis Memoria series but I will start that within the next few months. I also have to review his Raven's Blade series and the various novellas/short stories that I've read. It's a good problem to have.
Ok, I've been ranting a bit much, let's get to The Pariah. Anthony Ryan is one of the few authors that can take me out of my comfort zone ( I'm generally a plot driven reader and He generally writes Character driven books) It goes to show just how good his characterization is. When I started this book I was immediately dragged into this world and was hooked. The way he wrote Alwyn reminds me of the way George RR Martin writes characters. He writes them in such a way that they don't feel one dimensional or shallow. These are complex characters that make you care about what happens to them. Very few writers can accomplish this and Ryan does.
My Plot driven subconscious is coming out to say that the middle of this book tended to slow down for me as it set up the last third/half of the book. This was of course not a deal breaker nor was it substantial. I can nitpick even my favorite books just in case anyone else feels the same way.
What really put this book to the top of my 2021 reads was the ending, specifically the last few hundred pages. I was not expecting what happened nor did I know what was going to happen. Part of my appreciation of this book lied in that fact. I was along for the ride no matter where Alwyn went. I didn't know, but it didn't even matter. I truly enjoyed the bits of lore sprinkled through the book as it allowed my mind to wander as I got enveloped in this world he created. The ending of this book made me even more anxious for Book 2.
I really enjoyed reading about Alwyn the Scribe. It really didn't matter what he did and that shows you how strong of a character Ryan wrote in Alwyn. I want to thank Anthony Ryan and Orbit for a chance to read this excellent book early. I'll be anxiously waiting for Book 2. Other writers need to look to Ryan to see how to write characters.