Petrik's Reviews > A Pilgrimage of Swords

A Pilgrimage of Swords by Anthony Ryan
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ARC provided by the publisher—Subterranean Press—in exchange for an honest review.

3.5/5 stars

Anthony Ryan is back with a brand new novella in a completely new world.


It’s been two hundred years since the Kingdom of Alnachim was destroyed by The Mad God. Alnachim, now called the Execration, has become a wasteland full of monsters and terrors. For decades, pilgrimages to reach the center of the Execration were made by desperate people so they can meet the Mad God and have their wish granted; none ever returned. The story follows Pilgrim, a veteran warrior with an unknown past, and his six companions as they attempt a pilgrimage to have his wish for redemption granted.

“Is it a crime for a god to destroy what he made?”
“Perhaps not. But to destroy all those who lived under his protection certainly is.”


I don’t have a lot of things to say regarding A Pilgrimage of Swords because of its small size. This novella was great and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I, however, truly wish this was a full standalone novel; there’s so much room for incredible developments here. This is a quest-based story accompanied with a variety of unique characters in an intriguing post-apocalyptic world, I also found Ryan’s writing in this book to be one of the best he has done so far; in my opinion, adding more pages to this story would’ve benefited the book more rather than leaving it as a novella. Other than Pilgrim and one or two other characters, the rest of the characters didn’t receive enough—understandably—development because of the small pages count of the book. I found it a bit difficult for me to empathize with a lot of them because there’s no background exploration or what each of the character’s purpose in the pilgrimage was. I didn't know this was a novella (and short stories/novella very rarely works for me) when I requested for it so the blame fully lies with me.

“Perfection is an impossibility,” Book said, a quotation from the Injunctions of the First Risen. “It is through our imperfections that we come to know ourselves.”


That being said, I do think that A Pilgrimage of Swords was a great quest-based fantasy novella and I would recommend it for those of you who are looking for a short read in the genre. Seeing Ryan’s continuous improvement in writing and storytelling makes me excited to read more of his future work.

Official release date: September 30th, 2019

You can pre-order the book from: Subterranean Press

The quotes in this review were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

You can find this and the rest of my reviews at Novel Notions
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Reading Progress

April 16, 2019 – Started Reading
April 16, 2019 – Shelved
April 16, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)

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message 1: by Jody (new)

Jody This is the first I have heard of this novella. Thanks for the review, bro! I will have to check it out.


Petrik Jody wrote: "This is the first I have heard of this novella. Thanks for the review, bro! I will have to check it out."

You're welcome, bro! Thanks for reading my review. I think this was really good, I just wish it was longer! :D


message 3: by Audrey (new)

Audrey Same here I never heard about this one great review though, I going to check it out too


Petrik Audrey wrote: "Same here I never heard about this one great review though, I going to check it out too"

Thanks, Audrey! yeah, seems like so few people have heard about this book! :D


message 5: by Audrey (new)

Audrey Strange isn’t it? He spoke a lot about the sequel of his first trilogy Wolf call but this one i don’t remember he talked about it. Luckily you are here😉


Petrik Audrey wrote: "Strange isn’t it? He spoke a lot about the sequel of his first trilogy Wolf call but this one i don’t remember he talked about it. Luckily you are here😉"

That one has the bigger sales so it's understandable! This one is very limited in stock too I think? I could be wrong though!


message 7: by Audrey (new)

Audrey I don’t know for the stock i live in France so i have to buy my books online (iBook)


Petrik Audrey wrote: "I don’t know for the stock i live in France so i have to buy my books online (iBook)"

I hope it's available there then! :)


message 9: by Audrey (new)

Audrey I hope too petrik


message 10: by Christi (new)

Christi M I noticed the main character's name is Pilgrim, which if I'm reading it correctly describes his purpose in the book. Are the remaining characters named similarly where their name describes their main character trait or the role the character plays in the story? For example, are other character names like Faithful or Coward? You don't see this used very often. The only book I can think of off the top of my head like that is The Pilgrim's Progress, but I'm sure there are others.


message 11: by Virginie (new)

Virginie Christi wrote: "I noticed the main character's name is Pilgrim, which if I'm reading it correctly describes his purpose in the book. Are the remaining characters named similarly where their name describes their ma..."

Some characters living in the Farseer kingdom from Robin Hobbs' Realm of the Elderling series are named like that: Verity, Chivalry, etc.


Petrik Christi wrote: "I noticed the main character's name is Pilgrim, which if I'm reading it correctly describes his purpose in the book. Are the remaining characters named similarly where their name describes their ma..."

Almost all the other characters have the same treatment. For example: Priest, Player. As for other series, like Virginie said, Robin Hobb's The Realm of the Elderlings series are named the same way, but they tend to not live up to their name... xD


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