Bonds of Chaos is the third book of the Threadlight series, following an amazing book two, Stones of Light. It had a lot to live up to after such an epic sequel, and in some ways it does, while in others it doesn’t.
If nothing else, this book starts off with one of the most charged scenes of the series. Chapter one finds a secondary character, Thallin, faced with a decision between his conscience and his faith. He makes an impossible decision, the weight of which is fully communicated through Argyle’s vivid storytelling. It is my favorite scene of the book.
The rest of the book follows a cast of character, all of whom have united after being separated for most of books one and two. This creates some excellent opportunities for them to discover unique relationships between each other. Their chemistry and interpersonal dynamics are well-constructed and make for interesting scenes.
This cast is in search of a way to stop two beings claiming godhood from destroying the world. However, they don’t have a clear strategy to do so. This leads to a series of half-constructed plans that run one into another. As the characters clamor for a direction, I felt right there with them. This would not necessarily be a bad thing, however the aimlessness of the main cast feels drawn out as they stop again and again to ask each other what they should do next.
This middle section of the book dragged for me. For those readers who are looking for answers about how the magic works and how elements of previous books came together, you will find exactly what you are looking for. We discover how pieces of the story connect in great detail, however, there are some elements that still don’t make perfect sense to me.
All that to say, this book brought the epic ending that this story deserved. Each set of characters split off to address the rising conflict in a way that only they could. The ending jumped expertly between these different perspectives to weave together a climax that matched the scale of the threat.
Overall, I think Argyle demonstrates his clear ability to craft subtly beautiful and easily digestible prose. The character work in this book is some of the strongest and most consistent of the series. The stakes are well set, and the climax was wonderful. However, the middle didn’t carry the tension or my attention.
Threadlight is an amazing series, that is well-worth your time and money. Voice of War shows the growing pains of a debut writer while it does a great job setting up the world and characters for the series. Stones of Light is the best novel of this series, expertly juggling multiple POVs, increasing the stakes, and subverting expectations in the best of ways. Bonds of Chaos has the strongest opening scene of the series and the best climax of the series, but it doesn’t do a great job of carrying the tension from beginning to end.