Book Review: The Silent Strength of Stones by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Avon/Eos
244 pp.

The Silent Strength of Stones (A Chapel Hollow Novel)The Silent Strength of Stones takes place in the same universe as The Thread That Binds the Bones. Our Male Protagonist is a teenaged boy named Nick who is something of a creeper in that he likes to spy on the people living in the vacation cabins near the store he helps his father run. His creeping ways get him into considerable trouble when he meets a strange girl named Willow and her family. (The creeping was so emphasized by the summary on the back cover of the first edition I came across that I ended up avoiding the book for years until I finally decided to read it. I’m happy to say that while the creeper behavior is part of the plot, it is not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.)

Willow’s family belongs to the same tribe of families that were introduced in The Thread That Binds The Bones. Our Female Protagonist is currently in the “tough love dog house” because she keeps trying to control people with her magic. The secondary Male Protagonist Evan is also in the Tough Love Doghouse and chooses to protest by turning himself into a wolf.

Nick turns out to have a few powers of his own which he is somewhat ambivalent about using. (This is to say he has discovered that using his magical talent is likely to cause problems, especially when that magical talent involves the ability to talk someone into anything.) This makes him very interesting to both Evan and Willow.

Nick gets drawn into Willow’s family drama due to his slightly creeper habit of spying on people. The family is trying to get into contact with hopefully helpful nature spirits. They are having problems because of Nick, which results in some magical shenanigans that Evan and Willow have to fix. (Said magical shenanigans involve a fishing creel, the family getting Nick in trouble with his father because the fishing creel was absolutely not for sale and things just sort snowball into a mess of epic proportions from there.)

This escalating series of events are further complicated by Nick’s own family troubles. Nick’s relationship with his father is not the best and the core of the problem is that Nick’s dad is categorically unable to trust his son. (Due to Nick’s mother leaving them when Nick was a kid.) Because of his interactions with Evan, Nick is able to learn how to stand up to his father (and his father learns that sometimes, it might just be a good idea to back down).

This is the usual explosion of familial dysfunction that is a Nina Kiriki Hoffman trademark. (One of the many reasons I am a fan of her writing is because of the complex interrelationships between characters and their families and friends.) I tend to like this book a little better than I liked The Thread That Binds the Bones, though I think both books are excellent.

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1 Comment

Filed under book, fantasy, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Review: Book

One response to “Book Review: The Silent Strength of Stones by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

  1. WCG

    That "creeping" is also something that would turn me away from the book, Rena, so it's good to know that it's not as bad as it might seem from the back cover.But I haven't read any of Hoffman's books, and I don't know if I'll ever get to them. I haven't been reading much fantasy lately.Still, I enjoy reading about books, even if I don't get them read myself. Nice review!

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