ARC Review: THE STONE ROAD by Trent Jamieson (2022)

Genre: Adult Dark Fantasy
Year Release: July 19th, 2022
Buy Links: Bookshop.org | Unabridged Bookstore

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Read an advanced copy on NetGalley
Trigger/Content warning: alcoholism, death of a relative, vomiting, harm against animals, death, grief

Jean March protects her village from the dead while the paw at her, begging to be heard, begging for more of their own. Her grandma was to supposed to teach her in the abilities to combat the supernatural forces threatening Casement Rise, but when a mysterious from the calamity called Furnace arrives, it’s time to speed run an education in magic and the hungry forces wanting to bring the world to ruin.

This book definitely scratched the itch that constantly chases the vibes of The Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix. Gothic, decaying but not bleak, with an ending that draws on hope that can only be pulled from a community’s strong bonds.

The world-building here is really cool. There are the immortal Masters, who are definitely vampires by any other name who run the Red City and maintain balance and the archives. There are towns like Casement Rise where humans live, protected by guardians like Jean and her family. There are the Husklings, strange fae-like creatures that are human-adjacent. And talking animals, specifically a very good bird. These elements come together in a beautiful world that, despite the encroaching threat of death, manages to avoid being bleak. I think it’s because of the close relationships among all the characters.

The relationships in general are charming. There’s the talking Bird, the dead boy, the neighbor girl, Alice, and more. I particularly enjoyed the Husklings and the way they interact with people, magic, and beauty. Each faction and individual is implied to have their own arcs, while not at all serving as props for Jean’s growth and development as a guardian as well.

That being said, generational trauma is baked into this book. The ability to walk the levees and traverse the eponymous road is taught from mother to daughter, but something went wrong with between generations. Jean’s teaching falls on her grandmother, and their relationship is as tender as it is tense. The love is tough, but it’s absolutely necessary, given the darkness at the edges of this world.

Overall, necromantic without being oppressively dark, I’m so glad that there is another book coming soon from Erewhon set in the same world.

One thought on “ARC Review: THE STONE ROAD by Trent Jamieson (2022)

  1. Pingback: August 2022 Reading Recap | Jo Writes Fantasy

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