Bonds of Chaos is the final installment of the Threadlight trilogy, which begins with the multi-award-winning Voice of War.
TO BREAK THE BONDS, SACRIFICES WILL BE MADE.
When all was lost, the Heralds returned, and the world embraced them as gods and saviors. But there are some who know the truth: the Heralds are not what they seem.
Now, in a desperate attempt to stop them, Chrys and the others travel to Cynosure with hopes of enlisting the only Amber threadweaver with the power to help.
Chrys, Laurel, Alverax, and those they love.
Together, they will stop the gods…or they will die trying.
“If there is one truth that I hold above all others, it is that the world cannot be made better without sacrifice. But I’m not a warrior. I’m not even a threadweaver. If I wanted to make the world a better place, I had to sacrifice my life in a different way.”
I ended my review of Book 2 of Threadlight (Stones of light) saying ‘this has become the yardstick against which I’ll measure all other middle books in a trilogy now and I fully expect Book 3 to be epic.’ And Zack Argyle delivers, phenomenally in fact. This book is my answer to the question – Which book has made you cry publicly? It is certainly not an embellishment when I say I was actually crying in the Bellevue Kelsey Creek Starbucks sneak reading this book while running work simulations. Hell, I even teared up going through my highlights looking for a quote to add to this review.
The book starts with the city of Felia dealing with the aftermath of Book 2 climax and is absolutely brutal, setting up the tone for what’s to come. Also, I read it via audio + kindle and as with Book 1 & 2, Adam Gold has done a fantastic job with the narration. I have traveled for two books with these characters and within the first 2 chapters my thought was how little time I have remaining with these characters.
“With all that they had been through he’d begun to see that hope could not be trusted. Hope was a drifter, waving with one hand and stabbing with the other.”
As I crossed the 50-page mark, I felt the going was a bit slow and nothing big was happening. This however, lasted only for a jiffy. At just 25% of the book, the big baddies caught up with our MCs. Within a hundred pages, the one trump card that the heroes had at winning & saving the world in the process was destroyed. And the stakes just kept getting higher from there. I had a moment where I was yelling ‘OMG Zack Argyle, what did you just do?’ (In the best way) in Chapter 34 during Book 2. In Bonds of Chaos, that moment arrived much earlier- at Chapter 13 itself.
The Threadlight trilogy is an epic fantasy series and there’s no dearth of fantasy elements- there’s an amazing (hard) magic system, a special sword, animal companions, hidden cities, multiple unique races, invisible enemies, etc. But to me, the heart of it is a family saga (found and blood – both) and their interpersonal relationship. I’ve not seen such healthy examples and different relationship aspects explored in an epic fantasy so well: Husband and Wife, Mother- Son, Father- Son, and the group dynamic between them when they have to collectively achieve something; the kinship, solidarity, reconciliation, cooperation, the non-disclosure, the self-disclosure… Basically you name a family dynamic, the author has addressed it.
“As a man,” _______ continued, standing motionless. “No, as a friend to one who has brought me hope in the darkness, I offer my life for yours.”
I’ve praised Zack’s writing skills in handling tension between the action scenes and the timing between POV switches in my first two book reviews. In this one, I have to applaud how clean his writing is. There is zero bloat. The author’s writing is very careful and measured- every paragraph, every sentence, every word matters and serves a purpose. And it is so accessible as well. I don’t know how to properly describe it but the flow of it is so smooth too, before you know it you have crossed so many chapters.
The final third of the book is on a whole new level. Some of the strongest POV switching ever. There is one scene during a war where they had to cut off ropes of a bridge and I am pretty sure I wasn’t breathing at that point. So much delicious tension. Plus, the author ups the emotional ante by placing an incredible, tender emotional moment right there (For the people who have read it, I’m talking about the conversation between Willow and Eleandra. For the people who haven’t read it yet, these two are side characters with one of them having very limited ̶s̶c̶r̶e̶e̶n̶ page time, but this was the best moment in a book full of awesome moments, just love it.)
For the final book in an epic fantasy trilogy, this book is relatively short (~350 pages) but the number of themes packed in it is crazy: religious fanaticism, parent-child relationships, found family, greater good, so many plot twists (basically the heroes’ aces in the hole are destroyed three times, one at the very end.) Every chapter from chapter 40 made me tear up and I was basically looking at the page count and wondering oh there’s only 50 pages left, oh there’s only 40 pages left now, how is he going to tie everything up. But he ties everything up masterfully and a lot of kudos to that.
It would be very remiss of me to end this review without mentioning the selflessness and sacrifice on display in this book. So many of the characters are so innately good. It is extremely hard to pick a favorite out of the 3 main characters. While I do like Chrys the most, Laurel is definitely the best. With such a strong and good conclusion, the Threadlight trilogy easily becomes one of my top favorite fantasy series of all time. Zack Argyle does more than just entertain with Bonds of Chaos, he inspires.