“I thought it would be like a story. I didn’t think any more people would die.”
Keeps getting better. Second installations of trilogies often suffer being bridges without beginnings or endings. No so here. Stone of Farewell advances the story (stories) and keeps the reader guessing. Like all good epic fantasy, this series is not just about just magic, swords and crowns, but life and death, love and hate. The real questions of life.
“Winning and losing are only the walls within which the game takes place. It is the living that makes a house–not the doors, not the walls.”
Williams keeps the threads advancing by adroitly pulling the rug from the various protagonists just as they start to make headway. Just when things can’t get worse, they do. Building despair and defeat at every turn; hopes cut off.
“We must speak out when evil shows itself; whether there is any hope of changing it or not.”
Allusions to literature, history and scripture add depth without bogging the story down in explanations.
“Even the bravest mortals grow sick with too much truth.”
Female roles are expanded and deeper in this volume. Had Williams not declared that he plotted the whole before writing it, one might think he’d been counseled on his narrow female depictions in The Dragonbone Chair because none of that applies here.
She “could imagine men committing virtually any evil or stupidity if freed from the proper influence of women.”
Don’t you love fantasies: where horses run all day, day after day?
“Fear goes where it is invited.”
If there’s a criticism, it’s also one of the pluses of the work: more plot threads and point-of-view characters than the casual reader can track. The scene and POV shifts are handled well, but even the dedicated reader must often pause to remember who this is and what cliffhanger did we just leave her with?
“Everything was part of something else, and each mote mattered.”
Quibble: As in The Dragonbone Chair, numerous typographic errors–look like OCR scanning errors–mar the text.
“Is it warm in heaven?”
Almost-a-spoiler: a dozen of references to someone missing and presumed dead is too broad a hint.
“We cannot ignore the knowledge of Unbeing.”