Stones of Light by Zack Argyle

Rate: 4/5

Medium: Book (Advanced review copy)

Overview (No Spoilers)

Argyle’s second installment of his Threadlight series significantly expanded upon the foundation established by Voice of War, both in worldbuilding and defining the inner workings of the magic system. I know I’d previously discussed the similarities regarding  the magic system in my review of Voice of War to Brent Week’s Lightbringer and Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive, with those connections only growing stronger in the second installment of the Threadlight series. Argyle fully acknowledges that those aforementioned series served as his inspiration for the creation of his literary realm and perhaps due to physically reading Stones of Light in contrast to listening to the audiobook (as in Voice of War) resulted these connections standing out occasionally as jarring deja vu. Really these disruptions were mainly isolated to terminology, e.g., prismatic eyes. That said, with being a fan of Weeks and Sanderson’s work, I found Argyle’s take on combining components of their magic systems intriguing, especially considering where he took the story itself. 

One of my favorite parts of Voice of War was the overall character development that continues in Stones of Light. We again spend significant time with Chrys/Apogee, Laurel, and Alverax. These characters evolve exponentially as their motivations become more defined and especially watching them maneuver through a myriad of difficult situations. Throughout Stones of Light, Argyle introduces new characters as he expands the worldbuilding into new cities and kingdoms, even those of the hitherto mysterious enemy force. One cost of the expansive worldbuilding was the neglect of characters such as General Henna, Laz, and Reina who had felt poised to take on larger roles after the end of Voice of War. Chrys’ wife, Iriel was another character who disappeared throughout large swaths of this book. While those characters have been relegated to the sidelines for Stones of Light, there’s still ample opportunity for them to take leading roles in future installments. The trade off was well worth it to continue growing this world as the enemy at hand no longer threatens one kingdom, but has escalated to be come a worldwide issue. 

So many of the lingering mysteries surrounding Voice of War were revealed in Stones of Light. We now know the history of the Apogee and have learned about his motivations, power source, and limitations. Additionally, Argyle was gracious enough to sate our curiosity (at least partially) as to how threadweavers obtain their powers. Each door opened resulted in more questions waiting just across the threshold but the revelations were of such importance that it required previous interactions to be reassessed under the light of the new knowledge. 

Argyle had a series of twists and turns embedded in the final chapters of the Stones of Light that totally derail the series from where I’d fully anticipated the plot to be headed, leaving the reader mulling over quite the cliffhanger and eagerly looking forward to the book three of the Threadlight series. Overall, Stones of Light was a delightful continuation that expands this literary world both in scope and legend, proffering much thought provoking fodder for reexamining the series as a whole for new insights.

Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound)

  • How can the Corespawned be contained again? How is Relek controlling them? Also, while the term Corespawned is appropriate, is it also a shout out to Peter V. Brett’s series, The Demon Cycle?
  • Is General Henna not a part of the Bloodthieves? I’d initially made that assumption after Laurel woke up in the hand of Alabella at the end of Voice of War, but based on the explanation Laurel was given the General had nothing to do with Laurel ending up in the hands of the Bloodthieves. What did Henna think when Laurel disappeared from the hospital?
  • I totally called that Roshaw was Alverax’s dad, but how did he end up in the hands of the wastelanders? Why didn’t Roshaw recognize Alverax’s name when Laurel discussed going to get him?
  • What will happen to Luther now that he’s stolen back his son? How long till the son’s absence is noted? What will his wife, Emory say since she was not allowed any input in this decision that uprooted their whole family and children?
  • Laurel seemed to have a major attitude adjustment or maturity growth between book one and two. I’d credited her attitude in book one to her addiction to threadlight but still was still experiencing addiction in the second book. I guess a near life death experience or losing her powers could have been a major humbling force.
  • Who was the doctor from book one who operated on Aydin? What did he do to Aydin to allow him to survive? Was it Relek’s brother that they met in the cave or would have Chrys recognized him? 
  • When will the Felia people see through Relek and Lylax’s deceit?
  • Where did Lylax hide the amber theolith? Who made Alabella or Jelium? Where do normal people with powers get their theoliths?
  • Willow is such total badass! Why didn’t she get in the aging pool too? It seems like they would all need to be at their prime capabilities to combat the all powerful Relek and Lylax?
  • Will the old blind man, Alchaeus be able to kill his siblings? What would he do when periodically left his cave?
  • How will Alverax’s return to Cynosure go? Will his grandfather still be alive?
  • I totally didn’t see Jisenna getting killed! Poor Alverax. What would have Jisenna done if she’d known Alverax was a former member of the Bloodthieves?
  • What is the potential for the Asher and Laurel’s connection? How did it form?
  • If the wastelanders are linked to Lylax and Relek how can the bond be broken without killing all of them? 

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