MY ⭐️ RATING: 4.25/5
Format: Kindle Whispersync
ENTER THE EXECRATION,
WHERE THE DAMNED AND THE DESPERATE
COME TO PRAY TO THE MAD GOD..
It is two hundred years since the deity known as the Absolved went mad and destroyed the Kingdom of Alnachim, transforming it into the Execration, a blasted wasteland filled with nameless terrors. For decades, desperate souls have made pilgrimage to the centre of this cursed land to seek the Mad God's favour, their fate always unknown.
Now a veteran warrior known only as Pilgrim, armed with a fabled blade inhabited by the soul of a taunting demon, must join with six others to make the last journey to the heart of the Execration. Allied with a youthful priest, a beast-charmer, a duplicitous scholar, an effete actor and two exiled lovers, Pilgrim must survive madness, malevolent spirits, unnatural monsters and the ever-present risk of treachery, all so that the Mad God might hear his prayer and, perhaps, grant redemption. But can sins such as his ever be forgiven?
Set in a world where demons and gods walk the earth, A Pilgrimage of Swords is a dark and exciting fantasy adventure from the New York Times bestselling author of the Raven's Shadow and Draconis Memoria trilogies.
This is only an 80 page novella, that felt a bit more like a prologue of a story rather than the first book of a novella sized series, but I must say, this was good! There was slight action that typically ends within the same page or the next throughout as the characters make their treacherous pilgrimage to pray to the Mad God. The brutality of this story picks up later, and I was thrilled to see that it did in fact pick up more than what it had. I was worried that the little bits of action was all we were going to see, but Ryan saved the best for last with a great finish.
There was a lot of secrecy and eventual revelation of a character or two, and while this does sort of hinder character building, it helped with the story telling and I loved that aspect of how Ryan was able to give a story of characters and not knowing anyone or their motivations other than some basic misdirect information. It really kept me engaged to see if anything would be revealed and who they were. On top of that, there’s a talking sword imbued with a demon and a pet hyena! DID I JUST SAY TALKING SWORD IMBUED WITH A DEMON?!?! YEP!
“Bleed them enough and they’ll die, the voice confirmed. But I doubt they’ll all bleed so easily.”
The narration by Steven Brand was pretty terrific, he had a few voices that reminded me a bit of a couple film Icons, such as Ian McShane and Rufus Sewell as well as one that sounded like Manu Bennett. Hearing those voices definitely made me dig deeper into the story as it played out.
I was hoping I would like this, and while I had some reservations at first, I have to say this turned out to be a really good story and I plan to continue reading about The Seven Swords!