Title: Siege of Stone
Author: Terry Goodkind
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication Date: December 31, 2018
Genres: Epic Fantasy
With Heart of Black Ice, the fourth and final volume of Sister of Darkness: The Nicci Chronicles, coming in January, I figured it was time to pick up the mass-market paperback and get caught up with the last installment, Siege of Stone.
This was a decent book, still better than some of the lesser Sword of Truth novels, but it doesn’t live up to the two really good books that opened the series. That’s partly due pacing (nothing significant happens for a very long time), partly to a lack of suspense (there are no surprises here, nobody ever really seems to be in jeopardy), and partly to a weakness in the main antagonist (General Utros and his stone army feel like more of a philosophical threat than a physical one).
The characters are part of the issue here as well. Nicci doesn’t seem like herself for most of the novel, although she does have her moments in the closing chapters, and Nathan is actually a little less interesting now that he has access to his powers once again, although he does get in some pretty impressive spells. Bannon continues to grow and evolve, and I like the ordinary hero theme that Terry Goodkind explores through him, although his personality remains a little bland. I was hoping his relationship with Lila might put a little fire into him, but he’s not quite there yet.
The highpoint here for me, and what has me most excited for the final volume, is two things – the transformation of the sliph from a force of magic to supporting character; and the threat posed by King Grieve, Chalk (one of the most interesting characters in the series) and the Norukai warriors as a whole. While Siege of Stone has issues with pacing, suspense, and overall sense of danger, the climax is suitably epic. It’s big, it’s violent, and it’s significant – something the rest of the book isn’t.
Rating: ♀ ♀ ♀