Countdown to 2023 – Day 26 ‘Boxing Day’ (5 days remaining)


Today is day 26 of my countdown to 2023.  Today’s prompt is ‘Boxing Day’.  The prompts can be found here if you want to join in.  I’m hoping to use mostly books read this year.  Let’s begin:

BOXING DAY (Feeling bloated, a palate cleanser)

The Grief of Stones by Katherine Addison was a great palate cleanser for me with a world and characters that I would happily return to.


Tomorrow: Christmas Crackers – Ended with a bang


The Grief of Stones by Katherine Addison (The Cemeteries of Amalo #2)

My Five Word TL:DR Review: I loved returning to Amalo


Addison, once again, returns us to the City of Amalo where we follow in Thara Celehar’s footsteps as he provides his unusual services to those who have died and the bereaved who request his services.  Celehar is Witness for the Dead.  A strange occupation indeed and one that involves a complexity of cases.

I’m loving these stories with Celehar.

Firstly, Addison has imagined a very easy to like central character in Celehar and a character that I could happily follow along in to whatever predicament he finds himself in. He’s such an easy character to get on with.  Straightforward, honest (brutally so sometimes), respectful, determined to undertake his duty even in the face of danger, kind and thorough.  I could go on at some length about this character because I’m loving reading about his adventures.

Secondly, Addison once again pays attention to the everyday little details in Celehar’s regular routines that just help to form a clear picture of the place itself.  And clearly this is a place that the author feels comfortable in.  There are all sorts of naming conventions, formalities, protocols, etc, but rather than explaining these in any sort of depth you instead get a feel for them by reading the story and everything just slotting into place with relative ease.

Thirdly, I love the kind of gentle feel to these stories – which to be fair belies some of the brutal or shocking cases that Celehar actually undertakes.  The central case here, for example, is actually quite unpleasant, but at the same time the way Celehar deals with the situation is so respectful and helpful, and indeed intelligent that he brings a quiet sensitivity to the story.  It reminds me almost of reading, say, an Agatha Christie novel, Celehar shares the tenacity and powers of deduction of Miss Marple or Poirot for example.  And, although there tends to be a central investigation there are a series of almost comic threads that help to lighten the overall feel – like the search for a famous scone recipe. I could seriously see myself reading more from Celehar and I hope his journey continues although I will say that there is a very surprising development in this story that knocked both Celehar and me for six – so I need the next instalment in the Cemeteries of Amalo series yesterday.  No pressure at all.

Fourthly, I love it when the title of a book comes to make sense during the read and that is definitely the case here.

Once again the world building is done really well.  We have Celehar visiting haunted temples, tea shops, the opera (where a sweet and slow build romance seems to be developing), schools for foundlings and even a maze.

And, the extra bonus is a new character who becomes an apprentice to Celehar.  I love this development, apprenticeships and mentoring relationships are one of my favourite things to read about and so I hope for more.

I don’t think I can add anything further.  This is well written, very easy to engage with, has a delightful main  character, a central mystery with lots of other shenanigans, set in a fantasy world with Goblins and Elves, ghosts and ghouls and is just a delight to read.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the author, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 of 5 stars.