The Grief of Stones – Katherine Addison

“On a cloudy autumn day, I attended the execution of Broset Sheveldar.

This is a direct sequel to Witness for the Dead, which was a sequel, or spin-off perhaps, to The Goblin Emperor. Both were instant favourites, and I’m pleased to report that The Grief of Stones is now, too 🙂

We once again follow Thara Celehar, the titular Witness for the Dead. His abilities allow him to touch a recent corpse and ask limited questions, and thus he is in high demand in criminal cases, and also more domestic ones. Here, for instance, he is at one point asked to find out a baking recipe from a sudden death. I love those little moments.

Most of his job is less pleasant, and between that and tragedy in his past (which I do believe we get more detail of in the previous book, but not here) he is a quite subdued, melancholic character. However, his innate good nature and drive to help make him very likeable regardless. In this instalment, he’s asked to take on an apprentice, which adds a new element and does help push Celehar’s brooding a little more into the background.

As per the previous volumes, the pace here starts suitably sedate and fitting for the gravity of Celehar’s calling. Still, there’s a point where the momentousness of events starts to build, and again when seemingly unrelated, quieter cases start to tie together. The drama without the need to scream it at 100 miles an hour is gloriously comforting, even when the subject matter can be quite dark.

As ever, huge shout out for the worldbuilding. I still can’t get my head around the naming conventions – not that I’ve really tried – and yet they clearly have internal consistency that I could map out, if I wished. Likewise, trying to pronounce almost anything 😉 Instead I’m happy to let it wash over me, submerging me in this fantastical environment of strict dress codes and titles and expected behaviours, but with enough familiarity – operas and teahouses and stray cats – that it’s not alienating. It’s all so strange and yet is presented with such a mundanity that it’s just… well, beautiful and spellbinding and wonderful!

Yes, I am a huge fan. I could have read this in one sitting, but I spun it out like the treat it was. I massively hope there are more adventures in this world, especially with Celehar but I’ll take any further stories! If you haven’t read the series, do – you can start with Goblin or Witness – and if you are already a fan you’ll love this!

The Grief of Stones book coverNetGalley eARC: 240 pages / not split into chapters
First published: 14th June 2022
Series: Cemeteries of Amalo book 2
Read from 26th-27th May 2022

My rating: 9/10

2 thoughts on “The Grief of Stones – Katherine Addison

  1. Pingback: Quest Log the Last

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