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Stone of Farewell
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The stunning second novel in Tad Williams' classic fantasy series, Memory, Sorrow and Thorn, set in the fantasy world of Osten Ard.
Following a brutal civil war, Osten Ard has been crushed under the rule of the two villainous High Kings. A single hope remains: if the rebels can find the three swords of legend - Memory, Sorrow and Thorn - they might be able to bring the Storm King and evil King Elias down.
Once but a humble kitchen boy, Simon is now Simon Snowlock, dragonslayer and bearer of the mythical sword Thorn. But Simon is more alone than ever before: his friends have been imprisoned, and his liege lord, Prince Joshua, has been exiled. And the Storm King may also be in possession of one of the swords....
A single chance remains: if Simon can deliver Thorn to Joshua and lead his followers to the Stone of Farewell, the rebels may be able to muster the forces necessary to rise up against Elias and the Storm King. But no one knows where the Stone of Farewell is. Or, indeed, what it is....
What members say
By Tim on 12-03-2018
A good middle series novel
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
I am rereading this series that i started as a teenager and loved but never finished (by the time Green Angel Tower came out i wasn't into fantasy anymore and couldn't really remember the story).I preferred the Stone of Farewell to its prequel, the Dragonbone Chair, both the characters and the world have grown in depth. The plot also moves at a more more consistent pace than DBC (which started slow but got very quick at the end). Still, its a long book.
What other book might you compare Stone of Farewell to, and why?
(I don't think anything below counts as a spoiler as the overall structure of the world and the core lines of division are not really surprises or plot twists but if you want to discover the - fairly familiar - world yourself don't read on)
The world of Memory, Sorrow and Thorn (MST) is clearly very reminiscent of Tolkien's Middle Earth. 'Elves' who came to this land from a homeland in the west once ruled over a golden age during which they built many great cities, which now lie in ruin. At some stage in the past Men took the land from the elves who moved to magical strongholds (think Rivendell/Lothlorien) at the margins and are somewhat secluded from the goings on of the mortals. However a dark lord (the Storm King) has risen and now threatens all. Various magical items are needed to fight him and so various quests must be undertaken.
I read an interview wth Tad Williams where he said he was attempting to comment on Tolkien's fairly basic cataloguing of races and nations as good or evil and you can see this in MST. No one race or nation is inherently good, all greviances between groups have historical underpinnings and characters sometimes have 'racist' prejudices against other characters.There is a also a bit more of a focus on political manoeuvering and religion as motivating forces.
I've also read GRR Martin mention this trilogy as an influence and in some cases the references are quite obvious (most notably winter is coming here too). Therefore it sits in an interesting halfway point between the relatively simple views of good and evil in LoTR and the more complex and gritty motivations of characters in GoT.
Overall,in my view, it is not at the same level as either Tolkien or Martin. While it is an interesting world that gives a twist and a bit more depth to the usual Tolkien tropes it is still ultimately very reliant on them. Nevertheless, i think it is worth reading, the writing is good quality , the characters are mostly interesting, and the plot is compelling if a touch slow. I'm looking forward to getting into the final part, although at 1200+ pages (64 hrs split in two) it is a fairly daunting commitment!
What about Andrew Wincott’s performance did you like?
The narrator is really great. Perhaps has a slightly limited range of accents but his is very entertaining to listen to.
By Robyn on 09-11-2016
Still trotting pace, not a gallop
It's so difficult for me to review these books. I'm trying hard not to be overly critical because the pace doesn't quite suit me.
This is slightly faster paced than the first book, but hardly a gallop.
I tend to judge a book by my desire to keep my headphones in at every opportunity. Cooking, ironing, commuting (even in the bath). If it's one of those books that's grabbed me, my headphones are in and my family is moaning at me for being non-communicative. Not so with this book. I went for days at a time without listening..... On the positive side, it doesn't matter if your attention wonders for a bit, it's probable you wont miss anything hugely significant, so it's a good book if you're needing to concentrate on other stuff simultaneously.
The characters are still good, and true to the first book, and no gaping holes in the plot (so far - or that I've noticed....but I might have dozed off and missed them).
If you're happy with good writing, but at a gentle pace, or you loved the first book in the series, then you should enjoy this.
I still haven't downloaded book 3 in the series, though I imagine I probably will at some stage as I will want to know what happens in this story..... I just need a change of scenery for a bit.
8 people found this helpful
By Adam Evans on 07-02-2016
Now the story is really building!
A other great performance by Andrew wincott. I really started to get drawn in this book. Much like the creeping winter in the book this series takes it easy but slowly grows on you. There is a much faster pace to this book the the first and the characters are really starting to gain some depth. Im Really looking forward to seeing what happens in the next installment. There are still many unanswered questions..
As I said these books aren't great on their own and should not be regarded or judged seperately. I can feel that they are just a l parts of an epic whole. If you have patience then read on!
3 people found this helpful
By Louis Hall on 25-04-2017
After 55+ hours of hard slog(inc book1) I give up
Would you try another book written by Tad Williams or narrated by Andrew Wincott?
I would listen to another book narrated by Andrew Wincott. Not another book written by Tad Williams.
This feels like a book written for young teenagers. The saving grace is the narrator. Other than him it is quite boring, and unnecessarily long.
The plot and characters are very black and white, good or evil. There is no character nuance, no inner conflict. People are goodies or baddies only.
What will your next listen be?
For We Are Many
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Stone of Farewell?
Too many to count. The main problem with this book: Very, very little happens. Most of it should be edited out. There is a reasonably good book underneath struggling to show itself. Sadly it is drowning in a turgid narrative.
The writing is not great. The immense length of the book isn't due to the author being overly descriptive. If anything it lacks description, for instance of sounds and smell. You don't feel immersed in the author's world through his words. He just spends a lot of time describing situations that add nothing to the plot as a whole. Book 1 & 2 could easily be 15 hrs not 60+. It might be worth a listen as a time killer then.
Any additional comments?
I ploughed through the first book. Hoping it would get interesting. After investing 30+ hrs, I had to start the second. It showed promise at first, it got exciting, then ...
I only got this far as I need to finish things once I've started. Leaving this book after 55 hours (30 book 1, & 25 book 2) is almost painful to me. Yet it is so bad I am willing to cut my losses. Now that I have, I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders.
Don't listen to this turgid drivel.
1 person found this helpful
By Andy Hunter on 04-10-2016
overly long but still worth ot
the story is a good one but the author can be over descriptive which gets in the way of the narrative.
1 person found this helpful
By Lesley on 10-02-2016
A gripping tale
I loved this book because of the richness of every character and the intricate web of their individual paths that cross and recross. Despite the intricacy of the story it did not become as unnecessarily complex as some fantasy books I have read. I had to listen avidly to the end and immediately ordered the next book in the series.
The narration was good although I didn't really appreciate his 'dour' tone. That is only a personal preference and it did not take away my enjoyment of the book.
1 person found this helpful
By ALK on 11-01-2020
excellent audiobook version
this is the 'middle' book in Tad William's trilogy (although the length of the third, and it's splitting makes it more the 2nd of 4, I suppose). it's a book I'd been working up to 'read' for a long while and it was definitely worth taking the plunge.
unlike some reviewers I found the first book excellent. The slow start wasn't nearly as arduous as I'd expected, and the evolving characters in it felt realistic and well written. book one then fair flew along for me.
The pacing in book two varied a touch more IMO, yet I found I enjoyed it more. the greater range of sub-plots, and the time spent expanding on the trolls and the Sithi resonated with me. I also found Williams often intricate prose and love of simile and metaphor didn't irk me nearly as much as the start of book 2. in fact, I relish his attention to detail and see how he may have influenced similarly intricate writers (such as George RR Martin).
the narrator is perfect for the work, and I enjoyed his accents for the races and nationalities and his skill especially with the battle scenes.
looking forward to the conclusion. would recommend in both audio and print thus far.
By Dunatis on 21-06-2019
Getting a bit frustrating now. Nothing seems to be resolved or planned. No one seems to be able to fight or persuade anyone of anything.
By Shirl on 01-04-2019
loved this book... it did plod a bit at times but enjoyable all the same
By Ross H on 12-02-2018
Soooo boring!! The voices of the characters are all the same, nothing happens for hours, just so dull. Put me off the rest of the series
By lee moore on 08-12-2017
wow wow wow
this 2nd book moves the story on vary nicely and the last chapter is just mind bogglingly good. another mesmerising performance from Andrew wincott. I'm super giddy to hear what happens next. loving these books so far.