Landless one-time king Guyime, once called Pilgrim but known to history as the Ravager, has survived the fall of the Execration — an event that set him on a path to find the legendary Seven Swords. Guided by sorcery, Guyime journeys to Carthula in the centre of the First Sea to claim the mythical blade known as the Kraken’s Tooth.
Aided by three companions — the beast charmer Seeker, a powerful sorceress and a scholarly slave — Guyime ventures into Carthula’s perilous underbelly to secure a prize guarded by ancient magics, cursed spirits, and lethal traps.
But can he survive an ultimate ordeal crafted from his worst nightmares?
“I have been wielded by heroes of legend and villains of infamy. By the worst scum and the most noble spirit. And in all that time you know what I learned, my liege? There was no meaning in any of it, no purpose that counted for more than shit in the end. Heroes win their wars only to become tyrants. The worst murderers may escape punishment but cannot escape their own souls and they will always die pitiful, friendless, and unmourned….Vile we may be, but at least a demon knows what it is. Mortals live their entire existence flailing in the effluent of their own delusions.”
Thank you to the author and Subterranean Press for the advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is a sequel to the novella series that started with A Pilgrimage of Swords. You can find a review for the first book in the series here.
I really enjoyed this one. This novella series is really great when you want something that you don’t have to think too much and can just enjoy the characters, world, and action without worrying about getting through a ginormous tome and figuring out all the complexities of the world and plot.
This plot is pretty straightforward and that is not a bad thing in my opinion. Ryan does a good job of keeping the pace fast enough that things are happening frequently, but not so fast that you feel like there is no substance. That also doesn’t mean that everything that happens is obvious or easy to guess.
As we follow Pilgrim (or Guyime, but I like Pilgrim better) in his quest to find the Seven Swords we get to know him a little more through flashbacks and conversations. Pilgrim is a compelling character and as I continue to read this series I am more invested in his story. I want to know more of the history of his character as there are so many hints about his past as the story goes on. I also continue to really love the relationship between Pilgrim and Lakorath, the demon that has been trapped in Pilgrim’s Sword. Their relationship is complicated and their sometimes shared, often at odds goals drive the plot forward in a way that gives it meaning. Their conversations are often entertaining and informative. Who knew that a snarky demon companion could be so cool and often times hilarious?
Most of this story consists of a dungeon-crawl type narrative which was totally not what I expected, but worked really well. I almost felt like I was playing a game of Tomb Raider as Pilgrim and his group had to avoid traps, solve puzzles, and answer riddles to get to their destination.
This is a dark, dangerous world and throughout the story this is shown even more. Pilgrim and his group have to battle sorcerers, soldiers, and magical creations in order to achieve their goal. As we delve a little more into Pilgrim’s past we are also able to see more of the harsh realities of this world. If you like a grim and gritty world, this series may be for you.
As this is a novella at only 135 pages, it really left me with a feeling of wanting more in a good way. I think there are two types of novellas. Novellas that leave you wanting more because you want the next book in the series and novellas that disappoint you because there was just not enough in the small amount of pages to hold your interest or really get you invested. The Kraken’s Tooth was definitely the former. I was engaged throughout the narrative and I am already really looking forward to the next in this series!