Cover Image: The Witness for the Dead

The Witness for the Dead

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This was such a fun addition to the world of the Goblin Emperor. Moving away from court politics this book follows Thara Celehar – The Witness for the Dead, a side character in The Goblin Emperor, in his life after the events of book one. Again, the worldbuilding is detialed, however not to the extent of the previous novel, where we follow Celehar’s day to day life as he tends to he petitioners.

The plot is more of a murder mystery this time, focusing on a few cases that have landed on Celehar’s lap. It was a really interesting mix of religious practice and police procedural (and I love good police procedural). The fact that there were multiple mysteries with various lines of inquiry with a few standing alone while others weaved and inter mingled was great. I was a little disappointed in the overall ending of the main investigation as it seemed a little abrupt but overall they were entertaining. This definitely has a lot faster pace too. We do spend let time lingering on little details but more time traveling and taking in the bigger picture. We end up with a really nice mixture of both that sets a good pace through the plot.

I found Celehar to be a lot more personable and relatable in this book. His compassion and dedication were awesome especially for someone like me who enjoys diving into all the details. I also liked the little bit of snark we got from his internal monologue. He was a very likeable character all round. There are not too many side characters we can mention as we do not spend enough time to really get to know many well as the invesitgation moves quickly. I did enjoy the relationship Celehar formed with the Opera writer and the pathologist (I forget the fantastical name).

While this is a companion novel and could be read as a standalone. I would recommed reading the Goblin Emperor first. Not only is it a fantastic read, but it also have a Glossary. This book is filled with Named things. There are lots of proper nouns, social stations, pronouns etc that could get a little confusing for those that haven’t visited this world before.
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When I read THE GOBLIN EMPEROR in the winter, I was so glad to discover there was another book coming set in the same world. It's such a fun, intricate world full of complex social structures and more religious sects than anyone knows how to manage. The main religious groups try to maintain their order while those left dealing with the dead - Witness but also mortuary workers and cemetery labourers - worry about getting the rites correct.

It is perfectly possible to read THE WITNESS FOR THE DEAD without reading THE GOBLIN EMPEROR. They are companion books, and all reading in publication order will do for this book is to explain why Celehar has a bit of a reputation. Plus it will give you a different viewpoint on the world. This book is about the working class people, a more down to earth side of the world, while THE GOBLIN EMPEROR is about the nobility.

It's a really nice way to expand the world, and it's the side you often don't see in fantasy. Commoners are often forgotten about in favour of the glittering courts (and the power and effect they can have on the world at large.) This is not a book about the fate of nations, but the lives of ordinary people. If Celehar wasn't around, then the world at large would keep turning, but these people would not have justice.

Having now read all three books published under the pen name of Katherine Addison, I think one of characteristics of the author's books is the way disparate stories are woven together linked only by the main character being involved in them all. Most stories weave all the elements into the finale, because it's often more satisfying that way. It doesn't feel like the a bunch of short stories popped into one package. However, the real strength in Addison's work like in her ability to unite them into feeling cohesive and satisfying, despite the different elements not being linked.

For me, a part of that is how she uses the stories to build a sense of world, rather than using them to build scope and threat. Fast pacing and high tension is not her way - the various stories are not here to up the tension to cover for any pacing issues elsewhere. And, because the books can be read as, there is no sense that things are being set up for a later series instalment (which can feel cheap and like a waste of space.) That does not happen here.

I would like to think they we might get more books in this world, but I expect there might be a long wait, if at all.
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I have very mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, there was nothing I specifically disliked about it, but on the other, I wasn’t exactly captivated by it. I like the world that Addision has created, and I was interested in learning more about it, but unfortunately the plot didn’t grab my attention as much as I wanted it to.
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This title is set in the same universe as Addison's The Goblin Emperor, and focuses on a minor character in that work, Thara Celehar, a witness for the dead. He assisted the emperor in determining that the previous emperor had been assassinated. 

Ostensibly a gently paced murder mystery delving into the seedier parts of a murdered opera singer, Witness for the Dead draws a much fuller picture of, like the emperor Maia, a lonely and singular person. Othala Celehar is driven by a strong sense of honor, and despite administrative snubs and active challenges from those he tries to help, he persists in a quietly helpful life. His innate decency sets him apart from many, but also endears him to those who need his services.

This is generally a quiet book, in which Celehar partakes in lots of tea (he describes it assiduously), but he's also called upon to visit a remote settlement and put down some ravenous ghouls. This is a thing he's done before, and the brutality of those scenes contrasts strongly with the quieter tone of most of Celehar's investigations. Technically there is a plot, and a mystery, which is solved, but those looking for fast paced thrills and chills will be happier looking elsewhere. This book is for those who loved The Goblin Emperor, and wish to spend some time in the company of, and exploring the character of, a person who played a small part in that book. It's a beautiful piece of writing, and a lovely character exploration. Thara Celehar, like the goblin, emperor Edhrehasivar VII, is a person readers will be privileged to get to know.
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When I arrived on Netgalley, one of the very first reviews was about a book by Katherine Addison, The Angel of the Crows. 

I wasn't very enthusiastic about the first book, the author's way of writing didn't grab me right away, as well as the story and, although there is a bit of evolution between the previous book and this one, alas I have to say I found the same problems here. 

I'm sorry to give a negative opinion on a book, but if I don't feel involved with the story and if I'm not in tune with the protagonists, it's a lost game from the start.
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When it became evident that this is structured around a mystery, I was a bit let down. Goblin Emperor is one of my favorite books and I was hoping for something just like it. 
 Witness may be different but t is just as much fun. The main character is engaging, the society is fascinating and the resolution satisfying .
I look forward to Katherine Addison’s next book regardless of the genre . 
.
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It’s always difficult when one of your most anticipated releases of the year turns out to be a complete disappointment. I had a little warning, fellow fans of The Goblin Emperor disappointed, my experience with The Angel of the Crows tempering my expectations, I knew it was not a true sequel and different…but I did expect a certain degree of craft that just wasn’t there in the end.

The story follows Thara Celehar, a witness for the dead and a minor character from The Goblin Emperor as he goes around his job, investigating the causes of death of various inhabitants of Amalo and helping resolve their disputes. In particular, the cases he focuses on here are the murder of an opera singer (mostly this), an inheritance dispute, and a woman who died in mysterious circumstances shortly after her marriage.

The biggest issue with the book is the characterisation. Not only do the characters lack the charm that The Goblin Emperor had, Celehar has no personality at all. He’s dutiful and restrained – and that’s it. And he undergoes no growth, no change whatsoever. The side characters are entirely forgettable. The only semi-interesting one is Arveneän, the murdered and quite unsympathetic opera singer, but well…she’s dead. We only ever see her through other characters’ eyes.

The writing, this time in first person, is also dull and lifeless. I went there, I talked to that person, then I went to that place, I had some tea, and so on. The plot is also very meandering, with a lot of random subplots and a weak main thread (which might have better worked as a novella?), which would be entirely fine if everything else was in order. But combined with the character issues, it made the book awfully tedious to read. It didn’t take long until I started skimming.

I continued for one reason and one reason only: I’m a complete slut for mysteries. No matter how bad, I need to know the answer. So I skimmed on. And yes, unsurprisingly, the resolution to the main mystery was largely unsatisfying and lackluster. I doubt that “well okay then” was the intended reaction.

To use a metaphor, this book the equivalent of ordering a luxurious comforting latte and discovering you got served cold espresso instead. It’s not that the order got changed and doesn’t match my expectations per se. If I got a nice mocha or a capuccino I would still happily take it and not complain at all. But while cold espresso is coffee and drinkable and does the trick of waking you up, it just doesn’t compare.
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I think that Katherine Addison excels at writing stories that mixes fantasy and mystery, this novel is gripping, fascinating and highly entertaining.
The King of Goblin is on TBR and this was the first novel I in this world and had no issue with the characters or the world building.
Thara Celehar is a great characters, fleshed out and likable. I appreciated his empathy toward the victims and his moral strength. He fights for what he think is right.
The world building is amazing, it made me think of Far East and there's plenty of details.
There are various subplots in this story, most are murder investigations and one is on the horror side. Each of them is interesting.
It was an excellent read that kept me turning pages and I hope to read soon another novel by this author.
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I enjoyed returning to the world of the Goblin Emperor.
This mystery might be a good crossover to tempt people to try out fantasy.
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I would like to thank Tor Books and NetGalley for the review copy. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Witness for the Dead by Katherine Addison is riveting fantasy mystery novel set in the world of The Goblin Emperor. Although this book was supposedly a "sequel," this can be read standalone because it was a completely different story from the first book.

The story followed Thara Celehar, a Witness for The dead, who had the ability to communicate with the people who died recently. This ability helped him solved mysteries, murders, and family disputes to give closure to one's sudden death. After solving the murder of the late Emperor, Celehar moved to Amalo, a province far away from the court. In this new place, he became involved in a murder of an opera singer, a will dispute, and a serial killer on the loose.

Plotwise, this was an enjoyable read. Although it lacks the court politics from the first book, this was much more focus on the investigation of the murders and Celehar as a the main character. The story was quite slow, and the names were a little bit confusing that I was having a hard time tracking who was who. The world building was not as detailed as the first book, but that was okay. The novel had some themes that revolved around races, social status, revenge, and hypocrisy. The ending was okay, it didn't give me a mind-blowing experience because it felt quite sudden. 

Celehar had a very interesting personality. He had been burden with responsibilities, yet he remained full of honesty, integrity and compassioned. He was patient and dealt with problems and challenges with composure. 

Overall, The Witness for the Dead by Katherine Addison is still a solid read. I think readers will enjoy it more if they think of it as a different story rather than The Goblin Emperor's sequel.

3.5 stars!
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The nitty-gritty: A delightful fantasy/mystery and a loveable main character make this a must read for fans of The Goblin Emperor.

I’ll start this review by confessing that I have not read The Goblin Emperor, and after reading The Witness for the Dead, I think it’s perfectly fine to dive straight into this sequel first. This was my first experience with Katherine Addison, and I quite enjoyed it! Addison has created a wonderful fantasy world that is unlike anything I’ve read before, and I would definitely be interested in reading more stories set in this world.

The story revolves around a goblin named Thara Celehar, a Witness for the Dead who can “see” a newly dead person’s last moments by touching them. Citizens can ask him to “witness” whenever they have questions about a particular death, and Celehar takes his calling very seriously. There are several mysteries in the story, but the main one involves the murder of an elven woman named Arveneän Shelsin, an opera singer whose body was pulled out of a canal. Although he’s not a detective, Celehar is swept up in the mystery surrounding Shelsin’s death, which leads him on a circuitous route through the city, from the seedy dock areas to the glittering Vermillion Opera house. Little by little, Shelsin’s abrasive personality comes into focus as Celehar interviews those she was closest to. It seems like she had plenty of enemies, so finding the actual killer promises to be challenging.

This is a rather quiet, meandering story that takes its time and focuses more on the characters than the actual plot, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Celehar is definitely the star of the show, a thoughtful, religiously devout goblin who isn’t treated very well by most of the people he comes into contact with. Yet he retains an optimistic outlook despite this fact and treats everyone with kindness and respect. His ability to communicate with the dead makes people fear him, and even worse, a past affair with a married man resulted in scandal and a step down in status, and he's reminded of it often. Celehar had some lovely, endearing quirks, though. For example, he always feeds the stray cats in his neighborhood, and he’s very particular about wearing the correct clothing for the occasion. There is one funny series of events where Celehar is forced to wear a bright yellow coat—his sedate black one became unwearable—and he’s mortified to be seen in public with it. Addison fills her story with quirky details like this that made me laugh, and I loved Celehar even more because of them.

The other standout character for me was the manager of the Vermillion Opera, Pel-Thenior. He and Celehar spend a great deal of time together, and I had the sense that there could be a romance between them had the story been longer. Pel-Thenior is a possible murder suspect, at least in the beginning, since he confesses that he hated Min Shelsin and her antics. In fact, there was no love lost between Shelsin and the rest of the members of the opera either. As Celehar delves deeper into her relationships with the other cast members, he uncovers a high maintenance, highly volatile personality, and it becomes clear that no one really liked her at all.

Addison’s worldbuilding also won me over, with its oddly formal people and multi-faceted religions and traditions. I loved the attention to detail, like the many kinds of exotic tea that Celehar drinks—and believe me when I say that goblins take their tea very seriously! I was delighted to see some unexpected horror elements as well. Celehar is called upon to take care of a ghoul problem—ghouls are like zombies, rising from their graves if certain precautions aren’t taken, and if they aren’t dealt with immediately, they can turn deadly and start eating people. There is another scene where Celehar is forced to spend the night on a haunted hilltop, and it was fun seeing his reactions and the way he dealt with the dead. And I have to mention the Vermillion Opera, where a lot of the action takes place. I thought it was a fantastic setting for a murder investigation, with so many larger-than-life personalities all vying for a few choice roles, and I loved the decadent descriptions of the theatre itself.

The only thing that really tripped me up were the characters’ names, which were very long and hard to pronounce in my head as I was reading. Characters are often called by more than one name, which also confused me, because of certain honorific designations and depending on whether someone is addressing them in an informal or formal manner. Eventually I trained my brain to skip over the names entirely so I wouldn’t be pulled out of the story, and ultimately it didn’t really affect my enjoyment.

Now that I’ve had a taste of Katherine Addison’s unique world, I’m eager to go back and read The Goblin Emperor. I think new and old readers alike will really enjoy this one.

Big thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy.
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Thank you to #Macmillan-Tor/Forge and #Netgalley for this ARC of The Witness of the Dead. 

I already knew Addison is a fabulous writer, but wow was I blown away by this one!  For a long time I thought The Goblin Emperor was a standalone, but this one really made the wait worthwhile, even though it can probably be described as a standalone in the Goblin Emperor World, rather than a second one in a series. If you love to read well written fantasy with great characters this is definitely the book for you!
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I absolutely loved this compact, perfectly plotted book set in the world of The Goblin Emperor. A mix of a character study and a detective whodunit, The Witness for the Dead delivers beautiful world-building, memorable characters, and a meditative self-reflective journey. Not to be missed.
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In this sort-of sequel to The Goblin Emperor, we follow the progress of Thara Celehar, Prelate of the god Ulis, and a Witness for the Dead, who can communicate with recently dead people in an attempt to discover final messages - where the will is hidden, for example, or more seriously...who killed them.  After helping to solve the assassination of the previous emperor (and helping to save the life of the new one), Thara Celehar is now living in a new city, far from the politics (and enemies) of the imperial court.  Which is not to say that his life is now free from the scheming and machinations of others.  The fact is, there is a lot of action happening in this book - 2 murders to solve, a powerful family with competing wills, rampaging ghouls, insanity-producing ghosts, fanatical church politics...and yet the overwhelming impression was one of contemplation.  The reader is deep inside the soul of Celehar for the entire book, with all of its anguish, and will to serve and survive, and attempts to remain emotionally detached (while caring, as always, very deeply).  It is a wonderful book that sets a wonderful character on a slow but palpable path towards inner peace and redemption.
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https://lynns-books.com/2021/06/24/the-witness-for-the-dead-the-goblin-emperor-2-by-katherine-addison/
3.5 of 5 stars
My Five Word TL:DR Review : An excellent, character focused story

The Witness for the Dead is the second book in Katherine Addison’s Goblin Emperor series – although it isn’t a continuation of that story but a focus on one of the character from book 1.  Strangely enough a character that I was keen to learn more about so i was very happy to discover that Addison had returned to this wonderful world.

I’ve actually borrowed from the book description to give you an idea of what the book is about because I think this gives a very good idea of what you can expect:

‘When the young half-goblin emperor Maia sought to learn who had set the bombs that killed his father and half-brothers, he turned to an obscure resident of his father’s Court, a Prelate of Ulis and a Witness for the Dead. Thara Celehar found the truth, though it did him no good to discover it. He lost his place as a retainer of his cousin the former Empress, and made far too many enemies among the many factions vying for power in the new Court. The favor of the Emperor is a dangerous coin.

Now Celehar lives in the city of Amalo, far from the Court though not exactly in exile. He has not escaped from politics, but his position gives him the ability to serve the common people of the city, which is his preference. He lives modestly, but his decency and fundamental honestly will not permit him to live quietly. As a Witness for the Dead, he can, sometimes, speak to the recently dead: see the last thing they saw, know the last thought they had, experience the last thing they felt. It is his duty to use that ability to resolve disputes, to ascertain the intent of the dead, to find the killers of the murdered.’

So, as you can see this book is far removed from Court and the Emperor.  However, even with that removal to the City Celehar hasn’t completely escaped politics and maneouvering.

The actual plot here revolves around a number of ‘cases’ that Celehar becomes involved with that range from murder mystery, will forgery and banishing ghouls and in fact some of the cases give us the really ugly truth of what Celehar’s strange abilities sometimes entail – seeing the last few moments of murdered victims can be particularly harrowing, as can speaking to those who died in horrible accidents and unsurprisingly Celehar’s work causes him many sleepless nights and strange and unsettling dreams.

The storylines we follow are interesting, particularly in giving a good feel for the City.  I loved to see the world of the Opera and all the tea shops with their varied food and drinks.  I liked the way that the author particularly focuses on day to day routines, clothes, etc and provides a clear picture of Celehar’s everyday life.  All of these things help to build a strong picture of Amalo, it’s poor quarters, the factories, living and working conditions, in fact Celehar himself does not receive a generous salary for the work he undertakes and it was interesting to see him struggling to justify purchases and making purchases second-hand.  There’s a sort of down to earth quality about these everyday things that is both mundane but at the same time strangely comforting to read and really helpful in building up a strong picture of the main character.

Which brings me to Celehar.  I mentioned above that this is a great character study and this is what really made this book stand out for me, much more than the plot in fact.  Celehar is such an unusual character.  How to explain.  I think the first thing that comes across is his formality.  He follows what he perceives to be the correct forms of etiquette in terms of speech almost with overbearing politeness at some points.  This comes down basically to the fact that he finds it difficult to interact with people and so I suppose adhering to a certain form of polite ‘rules’ provides him with comfort.  To be honest, I really liked him.  He’s thorough, he’s honest, a bit lonely, sad almost, but I loved his frankness and he felt so refreshingly different, I wanted to hug him but think he would be horrified by the notion.  He takes on board his tasks, no matter how distressing, in an uncomplaining fashion and is stubbornly determined to see them through even though they may make him unhappy.  It’s possible that Celehar is autistic – although I’m certainly not an expert so that could be completely wrong – but his difficulty in communicating with others, his almost obsessive attention to detail such as directions to and from places, his very structured and methodical way of dealing with situations, his straightforward way of describing things without softening the blow, all point in that direction.  The other thing I really liked about Celehar is that in spite of his own fears about certain things people like him, of course, some people are intimidated by the nature of his work, but what shines through here is that eventually his natural determination to help others wins him friends.

Overall, this was a quick and easy read with a character that I was keen to learn more about and a world that I was very happy to explore further.  A very different book than the Goblin Emperor but another example of how Addison excels at character development.

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

My rating 3.5 of 5 stars
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It took me a while to finish this book because I literally had only a little spare time to read it this month. But thank you so much to Tor Forge for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. The first time that I've heard about this book, I didn't realize it was a sequel to the first novel, So when I went through the first few pages, it was a load of information overload that my brain couldn't keep up with. A ton of the world-building was obviously been established from the first book, so I had to pause on reading The Witness for the Dead by reading the first book, just so I had a clearer idea of the overall world that Katherine Addison built.

To start things off, I love Celehar's character and his overall role as this kind of medium detective through this book. Though I did notice that while this book is a sort of mystery/fantasy novel, it was more character-centric that the cases weren't the full highlight of the book but rather the thoughts and actions of Celehar himself.

It was interesting because, while I was intrigued by the cases that Celehar was going through it didn't really give an overall tight conclusion to which you'd be satisfied with, just an open ending kind of thing. I had a similar kind of vibe with Addison's book, last year, which was a Sherlock Holmes Fan Fiction.

Maybe because of how this was a raw ARC, there might've been some changes to the published book where it was neatly written. There were parts where the plot kind of slowed down with the huge chunk of info-dumping, or the way the pacing just literally slows with the less action is done around the plot. 

Part of the reasons why I am giving this book a 4-stars rather than lower is because of how insanely complex Addison did the world-building in both books, but I do feel like there's still a ton more room of improvement when it comes to the building up of action scenes, especially if she were to continue the route of writing mystery and venture to a more thriller or suspense side.
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Categories: Standalone sequels / Side character promoted to protagonist / A gay ghoul-hunter and gumshoe
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At first, I wasn't sure this would live up to the pure magic of The Goblin Emperor, but the strength of Addison's writing assured me I was in capable hands. After about 20%, I was hooked (The Goblin who?) and it was a fast-paced, page-turning ride to the end.
This volume is a fair bit shorter than The Goblin Emperor and it felt even quicker with the pull of the plot (primarily a murder mystery). I would have loved to spend more time with these characters (it was a particular treat to experience the first-person narration of Thara Celehar who was such an intriguing presence in The Goblin Emperor), but I think the story was the perfect length. Any attempts to stretch it would have been a disservice to the narrative, I think. And anyway, leaving the reader wanting more is rarely a bad thing!
Although this is marketed as a standalone sequel, merely set in the same world of The Goblin Emperor, I would highly recommend reading Witness for the Dead after The Goblin Emperor. A lot of the worldbuilding takes place in The Goblin Emperor, and it would be a shame to miss out on any of the delicious details in the land of Edrehasivar, even though we have only seen such a relatively small part of it. I really hope Addison returns at some point to this world and these people because she writes them with such compassion and affection that it is pure joy to read.
I cannot recommend these two novels highly enough.
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So, while it says it’s #2, it’s actually a standalone novel. But it is set in the same world as The Goblin Emperor. In that first book, Maia, the young half-goblin emperor, wanted to know who had killed his father and half-brothers, and then he turned to a Witness for the Dead named Thara Celehar.

This book centers around him. Thara Celehar lives far from courts, in somewhat of a quasi-exile, serving the common people of the city of Alamo. His duty is communicating with the dead. Still, Celehar will follow the truth wherever it leads him, no matter who may be implicated in the murder, fraud, or ancient injustices.

I finished this book in only two days. Just to paint the picture more clearly: on average, a book like this would take me a week or so.

Make of that what you will.

I have to admit; I did have to get into it at first. The language use, difficult terminologies, and overly formal dialogue threw me off. However, once I got into it (and luckily, the dialogue wasn’t always that formal), I was hooked and found it very difficult to put the book away. Hence the two days.

There is just always something about murder mysteries that I find irresistible. I just had to find out how every single plotline would fit together. Because yes, there’s not just one murder. Celahar has more than one person to Witness for (and that’s not even mentioning the monsters he has to face).

It felt extremely satisfying to watch those plots weave themselves together, all the way to the final climactic moment, and we find out what actually happened. The ending in itself was satisfying but bittersweet.

Celahar was also a very likable character. He wants to do the right thing and make sure the dead have their justice. At the same time, he’s very self-conscious, always expecting people to think the worst of him and being afraid. It broke my heart a little bit each time he felt surprised that someone would actually treat him with kindness and gratitude.

The story also discusses many societal issues, such as racism, class divide, and the hostility against homosexuals. This gave really gave the story some additional layers.

If you enjoy a good murder mystery set in a fascinating magical world, with likable and memorable characters (although all have difficult names), you won’t be disappointed with this one.
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Witness for the Dead is a story set in the same world as the excellent The Goblin Emperor, but while it is billed as a sequel, you don’t have to have read TGE first. I did reread it, of course, and was very pleased to do so, but as it turned out there are only a few vague references in this volume. Oh, and the main character did have a big role to play in the first volume, so it’s nice to meet up again with Thara Celehar, the titular Witness for the Dead.

The other difference here is that it’s told in first person, as Celehar investigates several mysteries in the scope of his job. There are a couple of murder mysteries, and several other tasks taking his time, including laying a ghoul to rest.

The interweaving of the different plots has the odd effect of making the story feel very real and rich, while at the same time very nearly diluting the impact of any single one of them. That’s not a complaint, it ties back very well to my opinion of the first book that it felt sort of slow and un-actiony, while at the same time being such rich world-building that completely draws you in so you don’t really miss the big ‘punch’ factor.

So the story is a cross between the fantasy layer – a world of elves and goblins (much allegory on race, methinks) where some people can literally talk to the dead – and a detective story. Given the former, it’s a very down to earth kind of detecting. Celehar discovers a missing dead woman by spending his evening walks trailing through cemeteries reading headstones – sheer dogged determination, nothing flashy or ‘magical’ or anything like that.

The rest of the story includes some politics of the religious order he’s part of, lots of trauma from his past – that was touched on in TGE – and a few other characters’ with their own issues. As I said, it’s a very ‘real’ kind of a mix and pace, juxtaposing very well against the fantasy elements.

Very worth a read, even if you haven’t read TGE, and in some ways may actually be a better starting point if you’ve not yet dipped a toe into the somewhat unfamiliar kind of pace and storytelling of this world. Personally, I love the reread of book one, and then the chance to revisit this world especially from a less courtly viewpoint, and I just hope there are a lot more stories to come.
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This "sequel" to the Goblin Emperor follows Thera Celehar at his new post as a Witness for the Dead in the city of Amalo.  Although Celehar discovered the truth behind Maia's father's murder, he is not welcomed in Amalo with open arms.  The city government and other religious officials are leery of his ability to communicate with the dead. 

This book delves into the various religions of this world as well as the lives of common people.  Celehar is part private detective, part priest.  He is tasked with solving various murders as well as a few other death related tasks.  

Celehar is a great character, he is a man of quiet dignity and is very aware of his own flaws.  He lives a very closed off life due to past trauma.  In this new city will he be able to expand his world?

While this book is mostly separate from the action of The Goblin Emperor, I believe it is necessary to read the source material first to have a good understand of this book.  Also, the names in both books can be rather inscrutable.  While I read the book, if I reread it I would likely listen to the audiobook.
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