Stone of Farewell

Stone of Farewell - Tad Williams Second books in trilogies are potentially problematic, because they cannot be allowed to have a climax that outweighs that of the final book. If the first book wins a battle, and the third book wins the war, the second book may not really have a proper place to pause. Tolkien – who, to do him justice, did not claim to be writing a trilogy per se – split up his huge cast of characters in The Two Towers and alternated narratives. Hunter does the same here, but in some ways I am more satisfied with his second-book solution, for not only are all the narratives/journeys pointed to the same eventual destination (the said Stone of Farewell), but the point of joining them together is very clearly the accumulation of all the small pieces of knowledge that the different groups bring with them.

I am also enjoying the way Simon is shown to be approaching his adulthood. His journey into the Sithi’s forest-city (which cannot, of course, escape comparison with Lorien, but is sufficiently different to keep me happy) includes his first real encounter with confused lust, as well as advancing the somewhat more abstruse mythological plot.

Binabik the troll is a joy of a sidekick – he is allowed to speak in a dialect of his own (unlike most characters) – and this gives him a wry sort of wisdom, not unlike Yoda.

I’m a little taken aback by the size of the 3rd volume of this trilogy (2 paperbacks of 800 pages each), but that doesn’t mean that I’m not looking forward to it!