This is my first experience with Anthony Ryan. I don’t expect it to be the last. This novella isn’t bad, but it’s one of those times where honestly, I just wanted more. I wanted to know more about the world, more about Pilgrim and his intrepid band of… Pilgrims..
In A Pilgrimage of Swords, we follow a man called Pilgrim and his cursed sword on a trip across the wastelands to make a prayer to the Mad God. It’s a very difficult and dangerous journey, and few are ever known to have come back from it alive.
The reader understands that Pilgrim has a dark past, but as we travel we also come to understand that Pilgrim isn’t a bad guy, he’s trying to do right by the people he believes are innocent. His character is a lot of fun. He has a few lines that made me laugh out loud.
However, I just felt like there wasn’t enough “room” in this short book (128 pages) to get the details I really wanted. I felt like we were skipping from locale to locale without really knowing why or developing the characters enough to really care about them.
As the book goes on, we do get snippets of information here and there about why each of the pilgrims has embarked on this journey, and by the end of it I did care about a few of them. Still, it was a little frustrating when I could see there was easily enough story here to explore a full length novel about the characters and this world, and felt like this novella was a tease.
The ending was really fantastic though, and the action scenes were exciting and well written. If Ryan decided to write a full length novel about Pilgrim, I’d definitely pick it up, and the ending seems to leave that possibility open.
I do think it’s worth picking up as it can be read in just a couple hours. Thank you to Subterranean Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC for review.