10 books like The Pariah

By Anthony Ryan,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The Pariah. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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The Blade Itself

By Joe Abercrombie,

Book cover of The Blade Itself

Not many writers pick a crippled torturer for a protagonist, let alone a privileged, cowardly, and selfish minor noble. Abercrombie doesn’t just start with these two, he also adds a sometimes psychopathic barbarian and a misanthropic, racist woman as his characters. Don’t even get me started on the old wizard. He’s the worst of all. Not only do these characters seem unheroic, but they also act as if they might just kill each other rather than move the plot of the novel along. Never a burden, always delightful, The Blade Itself will mesmerize you as these murderers and narcissists try to do just one thing right. Whether they do or not, I won’t say, but they definitely tell a fantastic tale.

The Blade Itself

By Joe Abercrombie,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The Blade Itself as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Inquisitor Glokta, a crippled and increasingly bitter relic of the last war, former fencing champion turned torturer extraordinaire, is trapped in a twisted and broken body - not that he allows it to distract him from his daily routine of torturing smugglers.

Nobleman, dashing officer and would-be fencing champion Captain Jezal dan Luthar is living a life of ease by cheating his friends at cards. Vain, shallow, selfish and self-obsessed, the biggest blot on his horizon is having to get out of bed in the morning to train with obsessive and boring old men.

And Logen Ninefingers, an infamous warrior…


House of Dragons

By Jessica Cluess,

Book cover of House of Dragons

Jessica Cluess surprises not just the readers, but also each of the characters in her novel with her choices for protagonists. Every new emperor in her world is chosen from a contest amongst the eldest heirs of each of the five major houses of the land. But this time, the eldest of each family is spurned and the younger, apparently weaker child is picked to compete. House of Dragons is a lot of fun, and the story has a clever construction, for this strange choice of hero is no accident. There is a powerful reason and lesson in House of Dragons. Read it and find out why we sometimes want the second pick for the team.

House of Dragons

By Jessica Cluess,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked House of Dragons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Five royal houses will hear the call to compete in the Trial for the dragon throne. A liar, a soldier, a servant, a thief, and a murderer will answer it. Who will win? Three Dark Crowns meets The Breakfast Club with DRAGONS.

When the Emperor dies, the five royal houses of Etrusia attend the Call, where one of their own will be selected to compete for the throne. It is always the oldest child, the one who has been preparing for years to compete in the Trial. But this year is different. This year these five outcasts will answer the…


Prince of Fools

By Mark Lawrence,

Book cover of Prince of Fools

Was there ever a less heroic leading character than Prince Jalan? Apparently a vain, selfish coward, he would not even be likable if he was not also funny and honest. Well, he is honest some of the time, in his inside voice, even while being a liar to almost everyone else. So, when Jalan gets unwillingly and unwittingly caught up with an enormous Viking to go on a quest to save the world, I had to wonder how this one was going to work out. But it turns out that Jalan may have been lying to himself more than the reader, or himself, even realized, and he may not be quite the coward that he says he is.

Prince of Fools

By Mark Lawrence,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Prince of Fools as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the critically acclaimed author of THE BROKEN EMPIRE series comes a brilliant new epic fantasy series, THE RED QUEEN'S WAR.

I'm a liar and a cheat and a coward, but I will never, ever, let a friend down. Unless of course not letting them down requires honesty, fair play or bravery.

The Red Queen is dreaded by the kings of the Broken Empire as they dread no other.

Her grandson Jalan Kendeth - womaniser, gambler and all-out cad - is tenth in line to the throne. While his grandmother shapes the destiny of millions, Prince Jalan pursues his debauched…


The Heroes

By Joe Abercrombie,

Book cover of The Heroes

This novel hooked me from the start with its play on heroism as it told of a Gettysburg-type battle through the eyes of a group of decidedly unheroic fantasy characters. Abercrombie keeps the readers’ mind on concept as the massive military fight unfolds on a Stonehenge-like hill and its ancient ruins, known as ‘The Heroes.’ Each character has a flaw that is as obvious as the mud all those troops trudge through, but somehow the reader ends up rooting for each of them. The novel reads well—like movie popcorn, but the story is well constructed, and the character conflicts and resolution are hilarious. Abercrombie is more than he seems and amidst all this apparent cynicism, there are some real moments of perspectivity on the concept of heroism.

The Heroes

By Joe Abercrombie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Heroes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

They say Black Dow's killed more men than winter, and clawed his way to the throne of the North up a hill of skulls. The King of the Union, ever a jealous neighbor, is not about to stand smiling by while he claws his way any higher. The orders have been given and the armies are toiling through the northern mud. Thousands of men are converging on a forgotten ring of stones, on a worthless hill, in an unimportant valley, and they've brought a lot of sharpened metal with them.

THE HEROES

For glory, for victory, for staying alive.


Texas Crime Chronicles

By Texas Monthly,

Book cover of Texas Crime Chronicles

I discovered Texas Monthly magazine and its in-depth crime reporting when one of my sisters lived in Fort Worth. I was hooked. Writers Skip Hollandsworth, Mimi Swartz, Mark Seal, Gary Cartwright, and others dig into each story. This isn’t “just the facts, ma’am” reporting. It’s why it happened and how it affected people. Some made international headlines (the military school cadets convicted of an odd love-triangle murder or the cheerleader’s mom who plotted to kill her daughter’s rival). Some could only happen in Texas. All are memorable, well-told tales.

Texas Crime Chronicles

By Texas Monthly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Texas Crime Chronicles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nobody does it bigger than the state of Texas, whether it is a matter of cattle ranches, pro linebackers...or true crime. From EL Paso, from Dallas from tiny Channelview come tales of murder, mischief, and malice - complete with new epilogues on their dramatic final chapters - that have been torn out of the pages of the award - winning Texas Monthly magazine and still succeed in rocking an almost shockproof nation. Included are true tales of: * Charles Whitman, the University of Texas tower sniper who blew away sixteen lives. * The Cheerleader mum who planned to thwart her…


Black Stone Heart

By Michael R. Fletcher, Stas Borodin (illustrator),

Book cover of Black Stone Heart

I chose this book because it is simply one of the best Fantasy books I've read so far and literally kept me up reading all night. The world building is highly immersive, and the prose is beautiful and dark in this grimdark tale told in the first person POV, which adds great self-reflection of the protagonist as an anti-hero who is trying to discover who he once was and whom he is becoming. I really loved this gripping tale that has a solid magic system and many twists and turns throughout. I must include a trigger warning because the book does have elements that some readers may find upsetting. This book literally kept me up reading all night.

Black Stone Heart

By Michael R. Fletcher, Stas Borodin (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Black Stone Heart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE FIRST STEP ON THE OBSIDIAN PATH

A broken man, Khraen awakens alone and lost. His stone heart has been shattered, littered across the world. With each piece, he regains some small shard of the man he once was. He follows the trail, fragment by fragment, remembering his terrible past.

There was a woman.

There was a sword.

There was an end to sorrow.

Khraen walks the obsidian path.

REVIEWS:
"Honestly, this is my favourite book. Best one I've read in my life, alongside (and on a par with) Prince of Thorns." — booknest.eu

"Insanely brilliant. Fletcher did it again."…


Kings of Paradise

By Richard Nell,

Book cover of Kings of Paradise

If you are like me and enjoy grimdark novels, then this one is for you. This coming-of-age story has it all. Politics, magic, and an amazingly rich setting that explores multiple cultures told by three great protagonists. The story gripped me at the start and didn’t let me go until the very last word. Richard Nell’s breathtaking storytelling ability is made even more impressive due to Kings of Paradise being his debut novel. This is another book that needs a trigger warning.

Kings of Paradise

By Richard Nell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kings of Paradise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the 2018 IRDA for fantasy / 2018 Reader's Favorite Gold Medalist
#1 Best Seller in Canadian Dark Fantasy
99% liked it (Goodreads)
A deformed genius plots vengeance while struggling to survive. A wastrel prince comes of age, finding a power he never imagined. Two worlds will collide. Only one can be king.

★★★★★ "This dark fantasy epic will be held up against George R.R. Martin's masterwork, A Song of Ice and Fire. Read this book now so you can act pompous around your friends when HBO turns it into a television series." - Goodreads

★★★★★ "Kings of Paradise…


The Weight of Blood

By David Dalglish,

Book cover of The Weight of Blood

This book really introduced me to the darker side of fantasy, and in fact, this is more grimdark. While most fantasy books have a good versus evil theme, a lot tend to water down the actions of the evil characters to make them more palatable or more accessible to a wider range of readers. This really describes the evil actions in detail so be warned it is not Harry Potter! I realized when reading this that you can bring horror aspects into fantasy, which makes sense as it’s a genre that’s full of evil, monsters, and people armed with all kinds of brutal weaponry. 

The Weight of Blood

By David Dalglish,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Weight of Blood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fantasy author David Dalglish begins his series of the half-orc brothers, whose struggles will soon bathe the land of Dezrel in demon fire...Five hundred years ago, brother gods devastated their world with civil war. When they were imprisoned, their conflict ended without a victor. Centuries passed while their followers secretly continued the war, a war that will soon have an end. The gods have found their paragons.

When half-bloods Harruq and Qurrah Tun pledged their lives to the death prophet Velixar, they sought only escape from their squalid beginnings. Instead, they become his greatest disciples, charged with leading his army…


The Worthy

By Anna K. Moss,

Book cover of The Worthy

A grimdark fantasy in the tone of Abercrombie, Moss’s The Worthy is a brilliant debut that explores a fractious sibling relationship between brother and sister Prince Barsten and Princess Ailith, both of whom are battling to become heir to the kingdom of Crell. Ailith herself is hiding her lover, Lady Avalon, at the same time as trying to protect the kingdom when it quite literally begins to tear itself apart due to a mysterious magical entity. The book explores issues of patriarchal oppression, historic abuse and trauma, sexuality and homophobia. Despite the grim world and morally grey characters, I found myself drawn into this story because of the important themes it considered. 

The Worthy

By Anna K. Moss,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Worthy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Blood is thicker than water. Tell that to Prince Barsten, betrayed and abandoned on foreign soil. His sister is intent on claiming the throne and he’s intent on stealing it back. One of them might succeed, if it weren’t for a sacred creature infecting people with its emotions. Rage, fear, paranoia, despair. As their country collapses, the royal siblings must stay true to themselves or find out just how thick their blood really is.

Moss’s compelling debut novel dives into a desperate kingdom, full of intrigue, treachery and sapphic-longing. Fast-paced and awash with sinful characters and fetid settings, The Worthy…


Chasing Graves

By Ben Galley,

Book cover of Chasing Graves

If you’re in the mood for a darker story to fill the moonlit hours between dusk and dawn, Chasing Graves is what you’ve been searching for. Galley’s writing is nothing short of magnificent, his creativity almost alien in its imagination. Not a second went by while reading this book that I wasn’t utterly lost between its pages, living in the world of the author’s creation, immersed in a story with one of the best twists I’ve ever read. When you begin this book, you might as well forget about sleep altogether, it’s that good. 

Chasing Graves

By Ben Galley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Chasing Graves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Meet Caltro Basalt. He’s a master thief, a selfish bastard, and as of his first night in Araxes, stone cold dead.

They call it the City of Countless Souls, the colossal jewel of the Arctian Empire, and all it takes to be its ruler is to own more ghosts than any other. For in Araxes, the dead do not rest in peace in the afterlife, but live on as slaves for the rich.

While Caltro struggles to survive and tries to reclaim his freedom, those around him strive for the emperor’s throne in Araxes’ cutthroat game of power. The dead…


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