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Summary

When the task is a killing, be quick and make sure of it.

Torment is an indulgence.

Save it for only the most deserving.  

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 begins a dark and bloody new fantasy epic from New York Times best-selling author Anthony Ryan, whose books have sold more than a million copies worldwide. 

©2021 Anthony Ryan (P)2021 Hachette Audio UK

Critic reviews

"A master storyteller." (Mark Lawrence)

"A gritty, heart-pounding tale of betrayal and bloody vengeance. I loved every single word." (John Gwynne)

"The Pariah is Anthony Ryan at his best. A fast-paced, brutal fantasy novel with larger-than-life characters and a plot full of intrigue and suspense." (Grimdark Magazine)

What listeners say about The Pariah

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another good one

Finished it in a couple of days, now the long wait for book 2.. Steven Brand as excellent as ever.

6 people found this helpful

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Very slow and very dark

This review may contain mild spoilers.

I had been looking forward to this one since I first saw it being advertised as a 2021 release on Twitter. So, I think that perhaps I was a tad guilty of putting this on a pedestal before ever having read the first word. Although I enjoyed large parts of this, I didn't enjoy it completely and was left feeling a tad deflated.

One thing I will say is that I enjoyed how this felt more of a real fantasy than a fantastical one. There is magic, but it is more the hedge witch kind of magic and is so infrequent that you often forget it's there. I enjoy my fantastical fantasy but do like dipping my toes in a more grounded in realism fantasy every now and then, so this was a pleasant surprise.

One of my main issues is purely a personal one. I really enjoyed the outlaw/Robin Hood style set up that Alwyn and the group who took him in had going. Sadly, that felt more like a 'setting the stage' style portion of the book rather than anything truly meaningful. A shame, as I had fully hoped to get invested in a tale of vengeful outlaws. There is a whole quest for vengeance, but it seems to dilute over time and never really picks up to the heights that Alwyn promised to himself nearer the start.

I also feel that the mood you're in will completely effect how you enjoy this book. It is very bleak. There is very little joy in this book for the characters and what little there is often has misery and pain waiting two steps later. I found it difficult to get absorbed for too long after a hard day at work due to this but, as with my earlier issue, this is mainly a personal one.

I enjoyed the religious background created in this but just wish it had taken more of an equal billing in the plot alongside Alwyn's quest for vengeance. As it is, I feel it took more of  driving seat and further added to the dilution of the vengeance plot as the chapters rolled by. I also feel the pacing suffered. I felt from the blurb that I was in for a fast-paced, dark adventure. What I got was a slow-burn dark adventure that never really got past being slow-burn. It always felt ponderous where I felt at times it could have ramped the pacing up a tad. 

The dialogue is wonderful throughout, something that, as a writer, I can attest is a very hard thing to achieve. So bravo to the author for that. It always flowed well and sounded natural. I also really enjoyed the action scenes (some of which feature some very grim and inventive imagery).

The narration for the most part was wonderful. Steven Brand's voice suits this kind of gritty world perfectly. My only gripe is that there was little to no effort made when voicing characters to make them sound different to one another. A bit of effort in that part would have given the piece a whole new dimension.

4 people found this helpful

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Gave up after the quarter of the book

Haven't read anything from this author before so I had no expectations. avid fantasy and sci fi reader and I like expansive books. However this book was so linear and when things happen they barely register in the story so it becomes a slog.

it could also be the narrator, he is articulate and have a very clear voice however he has zero inflections and keeps his voice completely straight and monotone making the story become even more boring.

in the end I had to stop. I just heard a droning voice, suddenly registering that some time has passed and I knew nothing of what happened.

4 people found this helpful

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Crafted Excellence

Anthony Ryan's ability to tell a story is outstanding, made by the rich lore in a world that is expansive yet understandable with characters you know, love and hate all through fictitious words. The plot itself is gripping and contains twists telling of great care that Ryan has for this series. While battles are described with realism and care, some moments of combat are some what lacking in tension the book makes up for with purpose in every scene. Pace in the pages of this book is nature and the story moves on when you would expect but doesn't rush - as the detail is what makes the ending and overall arch satisfying, rewarding and, most importantly, interesting to the last word.

The Pariah is definitely worth reading, no matter in what form though the narrator, Steven brand, has a knack for performing the story as if it were written for him to tell.

4 people found this helpful

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Couldn't stop listening

I really enjoyed this book and could not stop listening. The narration was also very good. I am excited for part 2.

3 people found this helpful

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Robin of Sherwood meets Ferris Bueller

Alwyn is a fantastically real character right from the first page! cannot wait for the second installment. The readers performance is also top notch.

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excellent

Loved it!
Great characters in a gripping tale.
as with all Anthony Ryan books, the end of one leaves me desperate for the next

2 people found this helpful

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normal for anthony ryan

a tried and tested formula for the auther. dosent push the boat. trys to recapture the blood song first book but falls short. as have all his books since thatbone really. we have the orphan. the teachers and the cause yet again. sigh

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Great book! looking forward to book 2.

The usual fantasy style book, but gripping and interesting nontheless. Very interested how thr story will progress.

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superb!

gripping from the start. a great start to the series.

the double act of author and narrator is the best!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-04-22

Amazing story sadly undercut by monotone reading.

Although I loved the voice of narrator, I can't help but think it was too monotone. The cadence of speaking was sometimes too fast for the situation, some characters lacked emotions. Still the story was amazing and I'm happy to give another chance to the narrator.

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  • Alex
  • 07-10-21

Amazing book

Amazing stuff. The story follows flawed but likable and smart rogue on his way to redeem himself and it kept me on the edge till the very end. This book is one of those cases where you feel sad when you finish it. That is how good the quality of writing and narration are. Highly recommended.