Source : Pilgrimage of Swords – originally a library read, purchased for rereading purposes
The Kraken’s Tooth – Provided by the Publisher, thank you!
TL;DR: Highly recommended classic quest style fantasy, with a depth and twists you don’t see coming.
Last year when Pilgrimage of Swords came out I gobbled it up from the library and loved it. I raved to my husband and friends to ‘read this please!’. At the time I don’t recall if I pushed out a review (I was probably several months into a high risk pregnancy) but I know I wanted to shout about it. So when I saw the chance to read The Kraken’s Tooth I jumped.
Pilgrimage begins as a classic quest fantasy, but develops and twists in ways you won’t see coming. The ending on this one was fantastic. By far my favorite characters were Pilgrim and Player, and the teases we got of Pilgrim were like catnip. I had to know more. He may feel, at first blush like your typically stoic hero with a soiled past but I genuinely felt a lot of the grief and anger he carried and because of that he felt well made and written.
The Kraken’s Tooth picks up at the end of Pilgrimage with our primary heroes. This second book has changed the style of the writing a bit, and within the first couple of pages that becomes very clear. Pilgrim no longer goes by his moniker but by his actual name. The story feels more personal this time around, a bit more of the expected style for a today’s Epic Fantasy. This doesn’t hinder the story but going directly from one book to the next you can see the difference.
I can’t speak too much to the plot, but I’ll say (and this applies directly to Swords and Tooth) Anthony Ryan is clearly picking up very expected fantasy tropes and trying extremely hard to do them right. It works too, exceptionally well. I cringe when I see a lot of these same things used, but here, they work well.
Overall both stories keep an excellent world and atmosphere about them. Our characters feel solid and three dimensional even in the short amount of time we have them, and Anthony Ryan’s use of fantasy tropes and clichés is fantastic. I highly recommend both of these.
For what it’s worth my husband read them and I quote ‘Five stars, loved it, I want more’ (from a casual reader).