Received to review via Netgalley
Cleric Chih returns to the Singing Hills abbey for the first time in this novella series, and finds things have changed: Cleric Thien, a beloved mentor, has died, and they’re just in time to participate in his memorial, and Almost Brilliant’s chick is growing fast and eager to meet them. Plus, there’s a pair of mammoths at the gates of the abbey, and some kind of quarrel growing up.
Homecoming can be strange, and Chih finds some of that difficult: a childhood friend is grown and even acting as the leader of the abbey, and the younger ones look up to them as an elder now. Almost Brilliant isn’t ready to travel with them again, and the abbey is strangely quiet (with everyone absent to go and record some fascinating uncovered previously-drowned ruins)… They have to navigate that and settle back down for a while, and try to figure out how to manage the whole mammoth situation (inasfar as that’s something they even ought to be managing).
It’s a lot, but as with the other novellas in this series, I loved it. We see a little more of the world, of all the stories those at the abbey gather and curate, and a little more now of where Chih comes from and what has shaped them. Especially fascinating to me, we learn a little more of the neixin, and meet several of them.