The Silent Strength of Stones

Posted by : atcampbell | On : May 6, 1997

The Silent Strength of Stones by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Seven of us gathered at the FACT Office: Wes Dunn, Cyndi Dunn, Debbie Hodgkinson, Karen Meschke, Jeff Rupley, Lori Wolf, and A. T. Campbell. The novel is a contemporary coming-of-age fantasy story set in a summer resort in Oregon. We all found the prose style readable and easily finished the book.

This book is unusual for a current fantasy novel. It’s fairly short, it doesn’t seem to be part of a series, the rural Oregon setting is refreshing, and it doesn’t contain a quest. We liked the “boy meets girl, boy meets wolf” story. The writing style seemed aimed at a Young Adult readership, but it was fine for grownups too.

Characterization was not the book’s strong point. Most adults in the book were simply forces to make our hero’s life miserable, although a couple of them suddenly became benevolent when convenient for the plot. We found the protagonist’s love interest to be shallow and boring. We were also disappointed at the wimpiness of the main character, whose most assertive actions were adopting a pet and taking a nap.

The world portrayed in the novel was more interesting than the characters. We particularly liked the unusual system of magic, and would like to learn more about it. Overall we found the book had a lot to like.

–A. T. Campbell, III