Title: The Grief of Stones
Author: Katherine Addison
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication date: June 14, 2022
Length: 245 pages
In The Grief of Stones, Katherine Addison returns to the world of The Goblin Emperor with a direct sequel to The Witness For The Dead…
Celehar’s life as the Witness for the Dead of Amalo grows less isolated as his circle of friends grows larger. He has been given an apprentice to teach, and he has stumbled over a scandal of the city—the foundling girls. Orphans with no family to claim them and no funds to buy an apprenticeship. Foundling boys go to the Prelacies; foundling girls are sold into service, or worse.
At once touching and shattering, Celehar’s witnessing for one of these girls will lead him into the depths of his own losses. The love of his friends will lead him out again.
I really enjoyed The Grief of Stones, but at the same time, I’m not sure whether there’s any point in posting a review! This book is not a starting point. If you haven’t read The Goblin Emperor and The Witness for the Dead, then there’s absolutely no way to follow what goes on in this book.
Also, side note: If you haven’t read The Goblin Emperor… well, what are you waiting for?? Rush right out and grab a copy! It’s THAT good.
In The Grief of Stones, we continue onward with main character Thara Celehar. Thara is a Witness for the Dead — he can interact with the deceased after death by making contact with the body, gaining access to their final thoughts and experiences. Through his calling, he’s able to ask questions on behalf of family members, and even the police. He offers grace, compassion, and closure, and is very good at what he does. He’s also an essentially lonely man, haunted by events from his past, and is often seen as a person deserving of awe but also fear by ordinary people.
The story opens soon after the events of The Witness for the Dead, in which he solved a murder case involving a talented but greedy opera singer. In this new book, Thara is petitioned by a grieving marquess three months after his wife’s death of an apparent heart attack. The widower believes, without proof, that his wife was actually murdered, and asks Thara to discover the truth.
Thara’s investigation leads him to a shady underground world of pornographers and to the discovery of abuse at a school for foundling girls. The more he learns, the more he realizes that someone needs to give voice to those who are powerless. But his investigations also put him in personal danger.
This is a fascinating story, and Thara remains a wonderfully complex character. In this book, he gains an apprentice, and also develops his growing friendship (and perhaps more?) with the director of one of the city’s opera houses.
Although a bit slow at the start, the story quickly picks up steam, and by the time Thara ends up in a situation of grave peril, it’s particularly breathtaking. I actually found myself very upset and scared on his behalf, and having finished the book, I just wish I had a sequel in my hands already to see how Thara’s situation develops.
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t see this working — at all! — for anyone who hasn’t read the previous books. The language and society would likely be utterly impenetrable.
The passage to the ulimeire was only partly invested with revethmerai…
That’s just one random sample — but if that doesn’t make sense to you, that’s a pretty good sign that you won’t enjoy reading The Grief of Stones.
The naming conventions and language in the world of The Goblin Emperor are complex, and even as someone who’s read the previous two books twice each, I struggled a lot to keep all the various character names straight in The Grief of Stones — for whatever reason, even more than with the other books, which is why I ended up giving this one a 4-star rating.
Goodreads lists a next book, The Tomb of Dragons, but without a release date. I hope it’s not too long a wait! (And I’d love to see one of these books at least visiting Maia (The Goblin Emperor), but I’m guessing that’s unlikely).
Overall, I’m glad to have read The Grief of Stones and to have spent more time with Thara Celehar… but the end result is that I’m now dying for another re-read of The Goblin Emperor!