The Warrior

Quest for Heroes, Book II

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Pub Date Aug 23 2022 | Archive Date Aug 04 2022

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The story of Kell Kressia continues in Book II of the gripping fantasy duology started by The Coward.

Kell, two time saviour of the Five Kingdoms, is now the King of Algany. He has fame, power, respect, and has never been more miserable…

Bound, by duty and responsibility, Kell is king only in name. Trapped in a loveless marriage, he leaves affairs of state to his wife, Sigrid. When his old friend, Willow, turns up asking him to go on a journey to her homeland he can’t wait to leave.

The Malice, a malevolent poison that alters everything it infects, runs rampant across Willow’s homeland. Desperate to find a cure her cousin, Ravvi, is willing to try a dark ritual which could damn her people forever. Journeying to a distant land, Kell and his companions must stop Ravvi before it’s too late.While Kell is away Reverend Mother Britak’s plans come to a head. Queen Sigrid must find a way to protect her family and her nation, but against such a ruthless opponent, something has to give…

Stephen Aryan is the author of The Coward and The Warrior (the Quest for Heroes Duology), as well as the Age of Darkness and Age of Dread trilogies. His first novel, Battlemage, was a finalist for the David Gemmell Morningstar Award for best debut fantasy novel. It also won the inaugural Hellfest Inferno Award in France. He has previously written a comic book column and reviews for In addition, he has self-published and kickstarted his own comics.

You can find out more about Stephen and his books on his website:

The story of Kell Kressia continues in Book II of the gripping fantasy duology started by The Coward.

Kell, two time saviour of the Five Kingdoms, is now the King of Algany. He has fame, power...

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ISBN 9780857669582
PRICE $17.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 24 members

Featured Reviews

I think I liked this one better than the first (The Coward)- Aryan balances his story a bit more this time. While following Kell on his adventure, he continues to follow events at home with wife Sigrid as well. Much like the first entry though, you are left wondering WHO is the Warrior of the story? Is it Kell (leaping a little too quickly at the opportunity to follow Willow)? Is it Willow for venturing out of her own world to start with? Is it Sigrid for staying home to fight things out with the Reverend Mother? Or Kell's guard(ian?)s for facing their own demons in their own ways?

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This was a pleasant surprise!

Last year, I read The Coward, the first instalment in this series, and gave it four stars. I enjoyed my time reading The Coward, but some things were holding it back from being fantastic. Firstly, the book relied quite heavily on classical fantasy tropes, and the “quest trope” rarely works well for me. Moreover, some of the action scenes felt unnecessary and random in the first book. However, Aryan still was able to get me invested in Kell and his story, which made me want to continue with this series. So what did I think?

If you’ve read The Coward, you know that it reads like a standalone in many ways. Therefore, I was interested to see how Aryan would continue this story after the conclusion in The Coward. Let me start by saying that The Warrior is an improvement in nearly every way.

Firstly, Aryan introduces various new POVs, side characters, and locations to the story, adding another element of complexity. Moreover, I had a great time following all the new POVs. While The Coward is very much the story of Kell, The Warrior is much more a story about the kingdom and an existential threat threatening the lives of millions. Aryan takes time to flesh out the characters by giving the readers insights into their background, thoughts and struggles, making them feel more compelling and intriguing. I also loved seeing these characters grow and mature throughout the story!

Moreover, the plot in The Warrior is significantly more compelling, creative and captivating. Due to spoilers, I won’t get into details, but I would recommend readers who enjoyed The Coward to pick up this book. The Warrior is a considerable step-up in storytelling, characterisation and world-building!

However, this series does have some slight flaws. Although the characterisation is a step up from The Coward, most of the characters do not have much depth. If you are looking for a fantasy series that analyses characters in great detail, you won’t find it here. Moreover, Aryan’s battle scenes do, for some reason, not captivate me. Battle scenes rarely captivate me, but some authors, such as John Gwynne and R.F. Kuang, are able to get me invested in fight scenes. Unfortunately, Aryan wasn’t able to do that. Lastly, one of the plotlines in The Warrior has the “quest trope”. I know many readers do not enjoy quest stories, but Aryan does make an effort at putting some interesting twists on this trope in this story. I would encourage you not to let the “quest trope” put you off!

The Warrior is a compelling story with memorable characters and a riveting pace. Aryan has improved on everything that made The Coward great. The Warrior is an entertaining, complex and exciting story that most fantasy readers will enjoy! I had a great time reading this book and will keep an eye out for what Stephen Aryan will publish next!

4 / 5

Thanks to AngryRobots for an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

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