Book Review: Stones of Light (Threadlight, #2) by Zack Argyle

Book Review: Stones of Light (Threadlight, #2) by Zack Argyle

Review copy provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Cover art by Omer Burak Onal

Stones of Light by Zack Argyle

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Threadlight (Book #2 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Pages: 362 pages (Hardcover edition)

Publish date: 4th of April 2021 by Zack Argyle (Self-Published)

This was a great sequel. In Stones of Light, Argyle maintained the consistency of quality in his storytelling.

“It’s like comparing granite to clay. The clay may take shape more easily, but the granite, once you’ve chiseled it into place, is so much stronger. For some people, motherhood comes more easily. For others, it takes a hammer and chisel. No one is made for motherhood. Motherhood is made for you. Some of us aren’t so lucky.”

As I always say, Threadlight trilogy by Zack Argyle is a relatively popular fantasy series in the indie fantasy community. From what I gathered and observed, the vital reasons behind this are the second and third books in the trilogy, Stones of Light and Bonds of Chaos. These two books have garnered positive reviews from fantasy readers who read through the entire trilogy. And I can understand this. However, from my point of view, I do think Stones of Light was as good as Voice of War. This isn’t to discredit the improvement Argyle implemented in several sections of Stones of Light, but more to establish my point that, in my opinion, Voice of War is quite underrated. If anything, both Voice of War and Stones of Light exhibited Argyle’s efficient storytelling at work again, making both of them equally entertaining and engaging for readers who crave a shorter fantasy series with enough impact and emotions.

“From his earliest memories, Chrys thought he knew how much his mother loved him. She’d provided for him, mentored him, supported him. But it wasn’t until his own son was born that he’d realized the true power of paternal love. Chrys had given up everything to protect Aydin. He would do it all again. And now, standing in front of him with ratty hair and clothes painted with dirt, Willow Valerian had done the same.”

I mentioned in my review of Voice of War that Chrys Valerian’s storyline was my favorite to read, and that statement holds up well here. The storyline of all three main POV characters continues immediately from where Voice of War ended, and I highly enjoyed reading how Argyle made sure the theme of parenthood, family, and love still shines through in Chrys’s chapters despite him being (mostly) away from everyone in Stones of Light. I also found Willow Valerian to be an endearing character. Willow didn’t even make a lot of appearance per se, but those who have read this book will understand why I think so. The scene I am thinking of refers to Willow’s explosive display of courage and affection toward Chrys. It was incredibly well-placed. But as much as I enjoyed reading Chrys’s page-turning chapters and learning more about the Heralds and the lore of the world, it won’t be accurate to say I was the most impressed with Chrys’s POV chapters in Stones of Light.

Picture: My Son is Mine By Randy Vargas.

“Once again, Alverax found himself in shackles; it was what the son of a thief deserved. He sat on cold stone with his eyes covered, thinking about his journey. Life had taught him brutal lessons, but one lesson most of all. Hope is a sham. A trick of the mind. Hope is opening your eyes at dusk and believing it is dawn. His life—he’d decided—was a setting sun.”

Alverax was the biggest pleasant surprise of Stones of Light for me. I did not expect he would grow to become such a great character in this one book. The themes of redemption, sacrifice, and virtue are evoked through his actions and mindset. Some harsh events happened in his storyline, and the utility of his magic in the face of danger was fun to read. By the time I finished Stones of Light, I can safely say I was equally engrossed in reading the storyline of Chrys and Alverax. I cannot even choose which one I like more between the two now. And with this positive review so far, you might be wondering why I did not give Stones of Light an improved rating compared to Voice of War. Well, the answer is in the next character.

Picture: The Sun Palace by Hoang Lap

“I don’t know what you’ve done in the past, but I do know this. The choices we make when no one is watching bear more weight than the choices that are forced upon us.”

Unfortunately, I couldn’t click with Laurel’s POV chapters. Except her final chapters. We are two books into the trilogy now, and yet, compared to Chrys and Alverax, Laurel’s storyline just felt unsatisfying. She hasn’t developed a lot as a character, and her predicaments, for whatever reason, did not feel as tension-packed compared to the other main characters. It also needs to be mentioned that Laurel did not receive as much exposure and spotlight as Chrys and Alverax did. Honestly, I did wish Stones of Light was a bit longer so Laurel could get more room to develop. I am sure this is super subjective, though. I have no doubt other readers will, and can, easily feel different about this.

“We all make mistakes. Your past only defines a single trodden path, but who you are here, and now, in this very moment, is another path filled with infinite possibility.”

Do not let my feelings on Laurel’s story stop you from reading Threadlight trilogy. This was a minor issue in the grander scheme of things. As I said earlier, Laurel’s story improved significantly at the end of Stones of Light. This is caused by the convergence of the characters at Felia. The climax sequence of Stones of Light was unputdownable. Reading how the characters and storyline connected in the last few chapters of Stones of Light, which you can dub as mini-Sanderlance, was intense. You can tell that every page in this novel was, in a way, dedicated to making the ending memorable. I had such a wonderful time reading the climax sequence of Stones of Light, and I believe the ending of this book has prepared everything for the rewarding conclusion in Bonds of Chaos.

“I am He-who-does-not-cower. If all the enemies in the world—be they wastelander or ataçan or worse—came to claim him, he would stand and fight. He would resist with every last breath within him, and, when he was at the edge of death, he would spit fire with his final breath. If they wanted a fight, he would make them pay.”

Overall, Stones of Light was another splendid installment in the Threadlight trilogy. I have high hopes that Bonds of Chaos will become the finest of the trilogy, and I am excited to find out about the reality of that prediction soon this month. Lastly, I need to put an emphasis, once again, on how suitable Threadlight trilogy is for readers of Sanderson’s Mistborn and Stormlight Archive books who want to experience a more compact version of it.

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