Review: Grim Solace by Ben Galley

43415685I really quite enjoyed Chasing Graves. I even preordered the sequel… and then, of course, didn’t get a chance to read it until now. Le sigh. And suddenly, things fell into place and I had not just inclination to read it, but time as well! *gasp!*

Stolen from the widow’s clutches, master thief and ghost Caltro Basalt must learn new ways to survive the cutthroat society of the Arctian Empire. His one hope for freedom and justice? A gift from the dead gods, who continue to beg for a saviour.

As Caltro finds himself ever ensnared in Araxes’ cruel games, Nilith fights to survive the Dune Plains in her quest for redemption, Sisine continues her game of claiming ruler, and Temsa works toward his reign of chaos, one noble at a time.

Pointy had noticed my wistful staring.
‘You can’t be serious.’
‘As steel, my friend.’
‘You discover a power and the first thing you do with it is go to the pub? You really are Krass.’

This is the continuing adventure of Caltro Basalt, master locksmith, Krassman, and bound shade in the great city of Araxes. He’s been kidnapped… or maybe ghost-napped from his owner, the Widow Horix, into the hands of someone who would very much like to use him and his skills.

Boss Temsa, now Tor Temsa is still on his killing spree through the nobility of the city, taking their fortunes for himself as he goes. He would very much like to use the skills of Caltro as well.

Nilith is still crossing the Duneplains with the corpse of her husband in tow, trying desperately to reach Araxes and the Nyxwater well to bind his soul before her time runs out.

And Sisine, the Empress-in-waiting is still trying her very best to undermine the council and take the throne of Araxes, since her father the Emperor won’t come out of his sanctuary.

This was a great continuation of the story! This isn’t an especially long novel, but all the same I have so much stuff highlighted, because Caltro is snarky AF, and he makes me laugh. In this volume he finds a talking sword, whom he calls ‘Pointy’ and the banter between the two of them is often chuckle-worthy as well. This is very often a dark novel, with plenty of murder and massacre and what have you, but having a character that I can cheer for who is sort of a bystander to it all made it easy for me to latch on to the story without getting overwhelmed by grimness.

Things are definitely coming to a head, with both Temsa killing off nobles, and Sisine actively plotting. Caltro finds himself in the middle of everything, getting passed around from noble to noble criminal to criminal who all hope to use his skills to their advantage. The plot twists and turns while we see all of this unfold, and I definitely had a hard time putting this one down to do things like sleep and eat. I was perfectly content to snuggle down into a beanbag chair and read this one over a weekend.

I am glad that this series was released very, very close together because these really are the type of books that I clamor for the next in the series right after the previous one ends. Ben Galley has amazing skill for writing compelling characters in compelling worlds. The city of Araxes, with all its crime and scumminess, as well as the Duneplains, with their never ending heat were very easy to visualize.

So, all told, this was a fantastic book full of snark, ghosts, thievery, stabby stabbing, a random orgy, a desert chase, and a foul mouthed falcon. I definitely hope to get started on book 3 as soon as I can, because I can’t wait to see how this story ends! 5/5 stars!~

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