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The Pilgrims

(Pendulum #1)

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  300 ratings  ·  46 reviews
Eric Albright is leading a normal life until a small red door appears under a train bridge near his home. Then a ghostly being wakes him in the dead of night, with a message from another world: You are Shadow. In Levaal, the world between worlds, the dragon-gods grow restless in their sky prisons, and the Great Spirits struggle to contain them. Vous, the worlds Friend and ...more
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published March 18th 2014 by Tor Books (first published April 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.28  · 
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Jun 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: blog
**I received a free copy of The Pilgrims from Tor in exchange for an honest review.**

Ah, the fantasy quest novel. Been a while since we've bumped into each other, but, damn, we used to have some good times when I was a teenager. I swear you haven't changed a bit since the last time I ran into you. So, anything new with you? No, not really? Still just rambling off down the road to adventure, eh? Meet a mage or two, maybe some stone giants, a few angels? Choose some ordinary schmuck to save the
Branwen *of House Targaryen*
"The point isn't about good guys and bad guys, it's about surviving."

This book...was really quite amazing! I fell in love with it because of the gorgeous cover (I know I'm shallow when it comes to book covers, so sue me) and fell even more in love with it while reading it!

It's fantasy, and set mostly in a fantasy world, but it felt so REAL to me. All of the characters, even the bad guys, had a side to them that you grew to like and even empathize with. The worldbuilding was nothing short of
Matthew Tait
An author that needs no introduction, Will Elliot burst into the mainstream from relative obscurity after winning the ABC manuscript award with The Pilo Family Circus. It was a novel of disturbing ideas and grisly images that took on a life of its own, breathing fresh blood into our literary scene and showcasing that young Australian talent could mix it with the big guns on a world stage. With Pilgrims, Elliot shifts gears in a largely new direction, moving into the invented world genre and ...more
Mar 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I received a copy of The Pilgrims by Will Elliott from Tor McMillan free to review - thank you, guys! It tells the story of journalist Eric Albright and Stuart Casey, a homeless drunk, who stumble across a hidden door which leads them to the fantastical world of Levaal. Naturally, there is an evil overlord they have to defeat. As can be inferred from the ages of the protagonists, this is more adult contemporary fantasy than young adult. The language and attitudes of the two main characters is ...more
May 15, 2014 rated it liked it
Mon avis en Français

My English review

The synopsis immediately intrigued me when I saw it. Indeed, here the author presents us a strange mix of characters from our world and fantasy characters. You can imagine that the confrontation will be brutal. I was so curious to see how it would be conducted.

Eric and Casey are two men who let themselves be led through life without really having a goal. When one day a door appears under a bridge, they were immediately intrigued, especially when people come
May 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy-scifi, 2014
When I was reading this book and my friend, Josh, asked me to describe this book I said, "It's not really that well written and I don't think it's that interesting" I spent most of this book trying to be excited about it. The plot, the setting, and a few of the characters were interesting, but I found the writing style and lack of character development seemed to hurt it. It just seemed like it was thrown together, and not really developed.
originally posted at:

I have been reading a lot of Urban Fantasy and Science Fiction lately and I was really craving for an epic fantasy story, so when I went through my books that I still have up for review and I came across this book. It quickly reminded me of a one of my favourite series ever: The Dark Tower by Stephen King. Where you have a group embark on a quest in a world mixed with fantasy and contemporary and science fiction influences so without
May 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
Kind of disappointing; I picked this up because a portal fantasy sounded like a fun thing to read, but it just didn't work for me. Standard fantasy world with an evil overlord, a grubby resistance, scattered monsters and demi-humans, casual sexism, and a 'hero' with a 'destiny.' Most damningly, there was no sense of wonder -- despite the occasional interesting idea or evocative scene, I never felt impressed or awed by the world... and what's the point of a portal fantasy that can't even do that?
Ryan Bernard
Jun 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
Alice in Wonderland meets magical high fantasy in a world that doesn't seem quiet like a real world. Gods, dragons, magic, a drunk and a lost soul in the 21st century. What could go wrong? This story leads the reader on a merry romp through this land behind the door. Like watching a chess match unfold the winner is never apparent till the very end. Definitely will be looking for the next book.
Aug 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
The beginning of this was book was confusing and not at all interesting. I put it down and read a few other books, but I did go back and finish it so my OCD would shut up. I'm glad I did, because about 1/3 to 1/2 way in, it got really good. I finished this last night at about 2 am, and now I want the next book asap.
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book so bad. Homeless man and friend find magical world hiding behind a door! Wow!


This book is slow. And, honestly, didn’t take me anywhere magical. Don’t waste your time. I’m not even sure where this book came from. It showed up on my pile, but...meh.
Holly Mcentee
Mar 21, 2019 rated it did not like it
Ugh. Not a single likable character, plenty of misogyny, mysterious monsters and not-quite riddles, and an overly-complex plot(s) that presumably is supposed to lure us into the rest of the series...nope, not for me.
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Published 2010. An interesting read with imaginative ingredients.
Lis Ann - The Indigo Quill
See full review @ The Indigo Quill

I can be accused of judging a book based on the genre it’s from. Fantasy is one of those genres for me. Apart from a few exceptions and classics, fantasy is one of those genres that is littered with busty elves and all powerful Gandalf knock-off wizards and talking dragons acting out one trope after another with shameless regularity. The beauty of The Pilgrims by Will Elliott is that he uses a lot of the same set pieces that make up trashy dime-a-dozen
Miriam Williams
Oct 07, 2016 rated it did not like it
Did not finish. Was super excited for a new portal fantasy, but this one... meh. Few female characters, and basically the first main one to appear that didn't die immediately threw herself at the main protagonist for no discernible reason.
Lee Gibson
Mar 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you ever wished for a hidden world just out of reach of our own, this book is for you. What starts off as a familiar story of "real" people traveling to a fairy tale world quickly takes a dark turn. Our heroes soon find themselves in over their heads because sometimes what's good and what's right isn't always the same thing.
May 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a book that kept popping up everywhere I looked - asking me to read it. Begging me to give it a chance. I bought it right before I left on my vacation, but didn't get a chacne to read it until after we were home again. Once I opened it - it was hard for me to put it down. The story just kept hauling me in again and again.

From the dustjacket:
Eric Albright is a twenty-six-year-old journalist living in London. That is to say he would be a journalist if he got off his backside. But this
Phil Leader
Feb 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, amazon
The Pilgrims is the second book by Will Elliott and the first in the Pendulum trilogy. It follows Eric (a down on his luck journalist) and Case (an old vagrant that Eric befriends) who discover that a small door under a bridge leads to a different world.

The story follows them as they travel across this new land of Levaal and encounters various inhabitants - human and other races. There has been a war simmering between The Castle - ruled by the (not to beat about the bush) insane Vous - and a
Colin Dobson
May 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
I was excited to start this novel -- I was craving a good high-fantasy adventure that stuck to its roots and didn't try anything overly genre-bending or formula-shaking, so to fault this book for dabbling in clichés would be an unfair criticism to make. Though, as it turns out, there are many other things to criticize, if not condemn, about The Pilgrims.
I'll start with what I liked about this novel. For a concept and story that was fairly by-the-numbers, the world-building in The Pilgrims was
Sep 09, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: andra

Review brought to you by OBS reviewer Andra

Fantasy all the way. The writing was vivid, descriptive and dynamic and for that I am grateful. The story seemed to drag occasionally, but if one perseveres….you get to the end.

Vous….definitely an odd character. Especially the section where he describes the five whom he murdered with their spirits living within or around his mirror, that was actually creepy. His goal is to rise to the rank of a god…in his mad way.
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book, although slow at first, really picked up the last 200 pages and totally surprised me. Wizard of Oz like, this brand new world was, you could tell very thought out, tangent, real, described and written beautiful. Elliot's talent also, as an award winning illustrator and designer, I loved how descriptive Elliot was from everything from the types of grass in his new world, to the beards on the War Mages. He had my imagination running throughout this whole book, and he also had me wanting ...more
Clay Kallam
Sep 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf-fantasy
Will Elliott's “The Pilgrims” (Tor, $26.99, 437 pages) is the first of a promising trilogy (though you have to dig deep into the book jacket to figure that out before spending your $30). The setup drops two New Yorkers into a strange world of magic and terror, and the reader has to try to figure things out along with the young journalist and homeless alcoholic as they wind up in the middle of a complex political and cosmological situation.

The two protagonists get caught in the struggle between a
Jun 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I am tired beyond words of the epic fantasy quasi-medieval worlds with kings, dragons, thrones, etc...The enduring popularity of the Tolkienesque formula is a socio-cultural puzzle but when I read for pleasure I just want to find myself in a strange world that won't be a recycling of the Idiot's Guide to the Middle Ages with some dubious magic thrown in. I thought the Pendulum Trilogy would be such a quirky, offbeat quest fantasy. I read the first part and was disappointed. It was quirky all ...more
Ian Mathers
Jan 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rt, 2014
I read this one to review elsewhere. I see that Elliott has sort of disowned this series, which is a shame; I'm not a fan of the trope of people from our world going to a fantasy world, but this one worked for me. Part of it is that our nominal protagonists seem like fairly average people; not really heroic or villainous, with mundane motives and making plenty of decisions based on incomplete information or irrational reactions. Part of it is that Levaal is so convincingly weird; dragon-gods in ...more
I picked this one up, not usually a sci-fi/fantasy kinda gal, purely because I've met the author a few times. Overall I did enjoy the book on the whole and I'm intrigued to see what happens in the next part (unfortunately this won't be until next year). The story did drag in a few parts but I'm not sure if this is because I don't usually read this style or because it actually dig drag but in saying that the whole idea of Levaal was a completely new idea to me. We've all heard of doorways leading ...more
Mar 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
I don't believe this book committed any crime other than being unremarkable. I stuck to it for a long time, working towards the end, out of a belief that it might get better towards the end. And indeed, some of it's most interesting moments (outside of the climax obviously occurring towards the end of course) were reached because I stuck with it. The thing about it is, the ideas are interesting, but the execution is hit and miss. Stylistically, the novel reads without panache, and the plot moves ...more
Feb 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
Kind of long first book in a traditional fantasy series in which a young man (Eric Albright) and his faithful companion (a hobo named Case) get swept into an entirely different world in which there is magic. Sometimes the world is just described, but not explained (e.g., there's a race of winged women...are they aliens? monsters? computers? magical constructs?) which can lead to some puzzlement on the reader's part. Eric is likeable enough, but the adventures (SPOILER: falling in with a ragtag ...more
Fantasy Literature
Jan 14, 2016 rated it liked it
The Pilgrims and Shadow by Will Elliott are the first two books of the PENDULUM TRILOGY. Book one came out a little more than a year ago, while its sequel was published in February of this year. I read The Pilgrims while on a long trip last year, and so never wrote up a review (camping and hiking not being conducive to such activity). Which means this dual review will focus heavily detail-wise on Shadow while making reference to the first book based on some fuzzy recollection, some quick ...more
Mar 16, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a fun little story, if a bit unoriginal. I'm a little disappointed that it's the start of series/trilogy, as I'd been under the impression it was a stand alone. I'll definitely read the rest of them, once the whole series is published.

Echoes of The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever and standard fantasy tropes. Nothing overwhelmingly original, characters a little flat, and writing sometimes a bit dodgy, but for all that, this was a fun read.
Oct 10, 2013 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Pure fantasy and I have a complicated relationship. I'll either adore it pretty much instantly, or I just can't get into it, no matter how much I keep reading. I'm not sure if it's something to do with the world building or the characters or quite what the deal is, but this was another prime example. I wanted to like it - the blurb sounded awesome - but when I'd made it 100 pages in without caring about any of the characters (not to mention the fact that it had taken me several days to reach the ...more
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Will Elliott (born 1979) is an Australian fiction writer who lives in Brisbane, Queensland.

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Other books in the series

Pendulum (3 books)
  • Shadow
  • World's End