RogerBW's Blog

The Grief of Stones, Katherine Addison 06 March 2023

2022 fantasy. Thara Celehar continues to witness for the dead. But as with any agent of the law, there are people who don't want him doing his job.

There's less building-up to do in this book, both in terms of setting up the world and basic ideas of what a witness for the dead does, and in terms of Celehar himself. As a result I felt that the pace of the plot was perhaps somewhat slower; it's also the middle volume of a planned trilogy, so there's the usual middle-volume slump, as things are got into place for the final book but the immediacy suffers as a result.

On the Abandoned Bridge, we passed a storyteller recounting the slaying of the dragon Erzamagria, which sounded a little different knowing that the slayer was an agent of the Clenverada Mining Company and that there was no maiden to be rescued, only a fortune in gold ore.

Still, there are two major cases for Celehar to work on, and some connections between them. As before, the various noble titles, forms of address, and even several nouns are left untranslated; the experienced SF reader should have no trouble working things out from context, but it could otherwise be a little disconcerting.

I like these people. I like Celehar's attempts to do the right thing in a society that gives a great deal of moral weight to wealth and noble status. I like the fact that while his religious faith is tested, the book isn't primarily about that testing, and there's no doubt of the strength of it.

I'd still like to read a sequel to The Goblin Emperor but this is nonetheless solid in its own right. You probably could start here, but The Witness for the Dead is still available, so better to read that first.

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Previous in series: The Witness for the Dead | Series: The Cemeteries of Amalo

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