Cover Image: The Witness for the Dead

The Witness for the Dead

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Member Reviews

This book is  a murder mystery set in a fantasy setting and a Bilbo Baggins type character is what is known as a "Witness for the Dead". He can touch a corpse and gain information on who murdered them or what their last thoughts were depending on the age of the corpse. He seemed to be a detective of sorts. 
That being said, the book was good if murder mysteries are your type of story to enjoy. I did like the story and the world building was phenomenal. It just wasn't as exciting as I had hoped.
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Ok so now I have to backtrack here! Because evidently I have to read the first book Goblin Emperor.
It must be awesome seeing how Goodreads its all five star reviews.... That itself makes me very interested. 

But I will buy and read the first book another time! I went ahead and dove straight into The Witness for the Dead, and in so glad I did! This was such an riveting book! I was intrigued from get go, the characters absolutely blew me away! But Addison's writing was simply superb. 
The story was engaging and inviting! This is a charming tale took me on a journey I devoured and loved. 
The story about Thara Celehar, who is a Witness for the Dead. His character was so incredibly interesting, he has the ability to sort of communicate with the dead! I loved that he could help when needed! 

Overall this book really did take me by surprise!. I'm so glad and honored I was given the chance to read and review TWOTD. I can't thank NetGalley, Tor Books and Katherine for providing me with an e~arc! 
Now off to try and buy the first book! :) 
Posting to my Goodreads and Bookstagram closer to our date!
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Thara Celehar is a witness for the dead, a sort of cleric who provides services for those who have died and for their families. A witness for the dead also has the ability to communicate with the deceased and is often asked to investigate, particularly if the death is suspicious. It's not a particularly well-regarded or well-paid position but he is dedicated to doing his work as long as he is capable of continuing. 

This story is a meandering story where we follow Celehar as he goes about his work. He never rushes and he takes meticulous care to do his job properly, whether he is investigating a death or performing a funeral. There are a series of jobs he performs within the course of the novel, several of which have a mystery of sorts to solve. A family has a dispute over the will of the deceased and Celehar communicates with the man to resolve it. A woman is fished out of the river, almost certainly dead by another's hand and it's necessary to identify the woman and find out who murdered her. There are ghouls causing problems in a town and he's called in to assist. These are just a few of the stories we follow through this novel. 

The story takes its time and the events unfold in real-time and anyone looking for a lot of drama and action might be disappointed. Several cases are being looked into at the same time, which I feel is closer to how an investigator normally works. Celehar is very particular about following procedure to the letter. There's a reference to an incident in the past where he made errors that continue to haunt him and it seems this history drives him to be wary of the results of any actions he takes. It may all be meticulous but it leads to satisfactory resolutions by the end. 

Celehar seems to be something of a loner, either by choice or circumstance. But he does meet quite a number of characters during the course of his work. It's a bit like he's a small universe unto himself and everyone and everything revolves around him. While he continues to retain a detachment with respect to his work., it's obvious attachments are forming which have the potential to lead to a friendship in a couple of cases. Perhaps he is not so destined to be on his own as he thinks. 

I really enjoyed the slow pace of this tale and liked how we came to meet so many others around Celehar. It's a well-written book with some lovely story-telling that remains with you long after you read it. 

I will reveal that I haven't read "The Goblin Emperor" before but this book definitely works as a stand-alone. I give this four solid stars and a strong intent to follow up by reading the previous book. I would like to thank Netgalley and Tor Books for sharing this advanced reader copy. This review was written freely and voluntarily.
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This book follows the story of Thara Celehar (a male, despite the vowel ending of his name) who was introduced in "The Goblin Emperor" in 2014. Othala Celehar is a Witness for the Dead, a cleric who provides religious services for the dead and dying and can communicate with the recently dead. In addition, and this is central to this book, when asked, either by relatives of the deceased or by authorities in the case of suspicious deaths, Othala act as advocates, "Witnesses", for the dead person. When acting as Witnesses they are authorized to investigate the circumstances of the death and often of the person's estate, and then to make a formal statement of findings. Witnesses may not lie in their public or private dealings. Unlike Witnesses in Heinlein's books, Othala do not seem to be highly valued. Certainly they are not well paid.

We follow Othala Celehar in his work, and the novel becomes a series of mystery stories, large and small. At the same time we learn about court and religious rivalries and administrative processes. There isn't any daring do, these investigations are quietly intense. 

Through the naming of the dead, Othala also have authority to lay ghouls, revenants that rise when graves are not properly cared for, and Celehar is sent to a rural community to deal with a ghoul who has been terrifying locals for a few months. It's getting stronger as it feeds, and the situation is quite urgent. Again, it is an interesting thing that these kinds of services are less generously rewarded than seems normal. I would certainly be glad to pay someone to lay a ghoul in my neighborhood.

The quiet pace and Katherine Addison's relentless world building pleased me, although I wish that her naming conventions were a bit less challenging and I think her use of Thee, Thou, and Thy is a bit wobbly. I get the feeling that there are a bunch more books in the works, books that will explore the sexual and political situations that have been hinted at so far. I look forward to reading them.
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When young goblin emperor Maia stole fantasy readers’ hearts by simply being a good guy in a corrupt world, everyone pretty much agreed that we wanted more from this world. Well, it took a while but Katherine Addison has obliged and delivered a sort of companion novel that can easily be read as a standalone. Given how little detail I remembered from The Goblin Emperor, it might as well have been one and my reading pleasure was in no way diminished.

Far from the Untheileineise court, we follow a character we’ve met before. Thara Celehar, Witness for the Dead, currently living in not-quite-exile in Amalo, doing his job and trying to live a peaceful life. But of course, as a Witness for the Dead, he is confronted with some very unpleasant cases. As unpleasant as they may be for him, however, as exciting they are for us readers. And with that comes the greatest distinction between The Goblin Emperor and its companion/sequel The Witness for the Dead. Because where the former was all about character and world building and didn’t have too much plot, this book is quite plot-driven, without sacrificing too much world building and character development.

Celehar is dealing with several cases of dead people, at least one of whom was murdered. An unidentified body was fished out of the river and Celehar’s job as a Witness for the Dead is not just to perform the necessary rites for a funeral, but in this case also to find out who the dead person is, who murdered her, and why. It’s essentially a proper murder mystery with Celehar as the kind-hearted, soft-spoken detective. Then there’s the case of a dead patriarch’s will – or rather, wills, as there are two and parts of the family claim that their version is the correct one. Add to that a recently-married woman who has died but whose grave isn’t known to her family. Let’s just say there’s enough for Celehar to do, even without the added political problems and his memories of the past.

There is an astounding number of things to love in this book, considering its low page count. But since Katherine Addison doesn’t waste any time setting up her world or explaining what any of the specific terms thrown around mean, there is more time for a number of mysterious murders, ghoul hunting, enjoying tea in tea houses, and opera. Celehar’s investigation leads him to the opera quite often as well as to other parts of Amalo. I can’t say that, after reading this book, I have a map of the city in my mind, but I have a feeling for the city and, to me, that is much better. There are trams and artists’ quarters, there are the richer areas and the poorer ones, there are gambling houses and tea houses, and it all just feels like a proper place.

I don’t know if it was a mistake to not re-read The Goblin Emperor before starting this book. Because Celehar isn’t introduced in all that much detail. All the necessary information is there – his calling as a Witness for the Dead, something dark in his past that haunts both him and his reputation – but his personality isn’t established right away. It does become clearer the more you read, and that’s what makes the book not only a chronolical sequel but also a spiritual follow-up to The Goblin Emperor. Because Celehar, much like Maia, is in essence a good person. He is honest to a fault, he thinks of others before himself, and he sacrifices his own well-being for a good cause in a heartbeat.

Without spoiling any of the mysteries or their solution, all I can tell you is that they are well done and all of them are resolved in a satisfying (if not always happy) way. Don’t worry when Celehar goes on his ghoul-hunting side quest that the main plot will be forgotten. I found the choice to break the plot in two like that a bit strange but as all plot strings are picked back up afterward, things worked out well in the end.

What makes this book such a pleasure to read is the goodness of its protagonist juxtaposed to the curruption of the wider world. Altough it took me a while to feel for Celehar the way I did for Maia – mainly wanting to hug him and shake him and somehow make everything work out well for him – I did fall in love with the character more and more.

What’s important to know ahead of time is that this isn’t The Goblin Emperor 2. The themes of morality, belonging, and justice are still at the center of the story but instead of a fish out of water type protagonist, we get someone who is highly competent in his job and knows how politics work in this world. Celehar’s character development is also not the center of the story, but rather happens almost sneakily. In fact, while reading, I didn’t feel like I knew Celehar all that well, but since I’ve finished the book, I keep thinking about it and about all the little details that show just how skilled a writer Katherine Addison is.

I believe you can pick this book up whether you’ve read The Goblin Emperor or not. If you like a faster pace, then it may even be a good idea to read Witness first. It still has those quiet moments where characters say more through a gesture than they could with 1000 words, there is still a protagonist who not only has a cool yet creepy skill but is also a Good Person, and there are intricate politics, naming conventions, crazy titles and near unpronouncable names. Most importantly, it is a brilliant fantasy novel that – despite all the murder – leaves you with a serene smile on your face. Whether Katherine Addison’s next book is also set in this world or not, I will be grabbing it as soon as it comes out.

MY RATING: 7.5/10 – Very good
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I LOVED this book so much. On the surface it's a murder mystery, or rather several murder mysteries, but really it's a study of Thara Celehar. And Thara Celehar is SO relatable. He is humble and honest and prefers helping the commoners who petition him to involving himself in the politics he nevertheless gets drawn into. He has a deep-seated belief that he is somehow less worthy than others, and in some ways he is serving penance for what he perceives to be wrongs from his past. That most people wouldn't see them as wrongs doesn't matter, because he does. He cares for people and goes out of his way to help anyone and everyone, expecting nothing in return. Much as Maia was humble, honest, and hopeful in the Goblin Emperor, Celehar is humble and honest, though not hopeful. He is rather a pessimist.

I loved the journey of it, the way the story meandered from mystery to mystery, as Celehar followed his calling to help anyone who asked it of him. Along the way he finds several unexpected friends and people who obviously care for him, though he seems unable to believe it.

It is satisfying, in a way, to see all of these people who clearly value him, as the reader must value him after following him through his journey, and at the same time him not value himself. I hope that many good things are in store for Celehar, and I hope we get to continue on his journey to accept that maybe he's not as terrible as he thinks he must be.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Macmillan Tor-Forge for providing an e-arc for review.
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Very interesting! I like the originality of the narrative and the writing. The character were likeable and the ending satisfying. I very good read! I would recommend it!
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Confession: I didn't love the Goblin Emporer as everyone else seemed to. There were so many names that I felt too lost to feel anything. However, even though I still couldn't handle all of the names in The Witness for the Dead, the context helped me not get lost. 

I loved this book. 

There is something comforting about reading about people trying to do well with each other while dealing with other people who wish to do well too. Some are too selfish, but they are dealt with appropriately. 

All Celehar wants is to work and not deal with politics. I love his character. He's so honest. And everyone around him recognizes that.

I was sad when the book ended. I wouldn't mind continuing going with Celehar solving crimes to help the deceased's families.

This review is based on an advanced reader copy provided through Netgalley for an honest review.
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What a wonderful follow-up to The Goblin Emperor. Yes, I very much missed Maia, but this was an excellent slice of life from the other spectrum of this world in which imperial riches and politics are replaced with far more normal financial difficulties, the joy of ending a work day with a cup of tea, and "office" bickering and pettiness. I thoroughly enjoyed Celehar and his reluctant adventures and watching him quietly and subtly pull himself from grief. It took me a couple chapter to get into it (you're thrown in the deep end of a magical world with all its titles and unfamiliarity) but otherwise the pacing was good and I finished it quite quickly. And the ghoul scene was terrifying!
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This book is a great melange of Addison's two previous novels, The Goblin Emperor and The Angel of the Crows. Set in the world of The Goblin Emperor, the main character is Thara Celehar, whose job requires him to travel his assigned area and resolve matters of the dead - which ends up meaning that he's a detective, solving murders, investigating suspicious deaths, and resolving inheritance issues (as the characters of The Angel of the Crows do). 

The plot is long and meandering, giving the reader plenty of time to settle in and enjoy the world building. On the other hand, it means that there's not much urgency or forward momentum, which is an interesting choice in a detective novel. Every time we took a break from reading, we found ourselves happy to come back and immerse ourselves in the world. Fans of The Goblin Emperor will be disappointed that Maia does not make an appearance, but will be happy to revisit the Elflands. 

If you like slow-paced books with deep world building and well-developed characters, The Witness for the Dead is perfect.
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Había muchísima expectación respecto a la publicación de The Witness for the Dead, la continuación de The Goblin Emperor. Aunque la novela original es completamente autoconclusiva, un sector del público quería conocer más historias ambientadas en este extraño mundo de goblins, elfos y dirigibles.



Addison se aleja un poco de lo esperado cambiando el escenario y también de personaje principal, aunque ya lo conocíamos de la primera entrega. En lugar de en los entresijos de palacio nos sumergimos en el mundo de la jerarquía eclesiástica. De una forma muy amena la autora nos habla de las diferentes creencias y permutaciones de la fe, la omnipresencia de los miembros del clero en la sociedad y la variedad de sus funciones.


En este sentido el worldbuilding es tan interesante como el del primer libro, sustituyendo las intrigas cortesanas por las clericales y comerciales.


El protagonista es un «testigo de los difuntos» que recibe a peticionarios que desean algo que sus parientes recientemente fallecidos sabían. Posee una limitada capacidad de leer recuerdos de los cadáveres que raramente arrojan luz sobre las cuestiones que se le plantean.


Este poder divino está a disposición de los peticionarios que lo deseen, sean personas privadas o públicas. A lo largo de la novela iremos enlazando diversas «investigaciones» de esta índole.


La variedad de peticiones y de asuntos en los que se ve enredado en protagonista es de lo más interesante. Desde muertes sospechosas, asesinatos, herencias y sucesos sobrenaturales. Todo tiene cabida en el desempeño de sus funciones, hasta aplacar a los ghouls que se levantan de sus tumbas cuando no se respetan los ritos funerarios.


Más que una trama en sí misma, lo que nos ofrece la novela es el relato de una parte de la vida del protagonista, incluyendo reflexiones sobre su pasado y, sobre todo, su futuro, ya que su don no es durarero.

En cuanto a la prosa, hay que decir que fluye muy bien y que recuerda, en cierto modo, a esas novelas basadas en la regencia y la época victoriana, que son tan del gusto de los escritores de fantasía.


Addison adopta un estilo en primera persona para centrar la narración, lo que es de agradecer, ya que hay un cierto baile de nombres y apelativos que puede ser excesivo en sus primeras páginas


Una vez superado este pequeño obstáculo, sólo queda disfrutar de las intrigas y misterios en los que se verá envuelto el protagonista.


El libro tiene un ritmo pausado pero constante. No encontraremos muchas escenas de acción frenética en la vida de un sacerdote que vive solo en la gran ciudad pero Addison capta y mantiene nuestro interés porque no se va por las ramas y siempre está ocurriendo algo. Aunque solo sea relatar la visita del protagonista a la sala de mapas para que le expliquen cómo llegar a la ópera.


La novela está repleta de pequeños papeles secundarios para una multitud de personajes que pueblan la ciudad en la que transcurre la acción. Cabría destacar el director de la ópera como una suerte de detective adjunto en algunas escenas pero el resto para desapercibido. Resulta curioso que Addison preste mucha atención al lenguaje físico de las orejas, cuyos gestos y posiciones revelan tanto de la actitud de los personajes como cualquier otra parte del cuerpo. Quizá pretenda reforzar la idea de que estamos hablando de goblins y elfos, pero que son seres eminentemente humanos.


En definitiva nos encontramos ante una novela pausada tanto en su ritmo con en su desarrollo, de esas que sirven para reconciliarte con el mundo. No llega al nivel de The Goblin Emperor pero es más que recomendable. The Witness for the Dead impregna al lector de una sensación de bienestar muy parecida a la que causa la obra de Becky Chambers.
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I relistened to the audiobook for The Goblin Emperor and remembered what I loved about Addison's writing.  Long, flowing sentences that feel like poetry; a focus on characters' emotions so everything feels personal and significant; surprising one-liners that made me laugh a few times throughout the story.
Witness for the Dead is a spin off, following a minor(?) character from The Goblin Emperor as they move on with their life after the dramatic murder of a royal family and investigation.  
I LOVE this idea.  I'm thinking now of characters from other stories... what happened to them?  What happened to the police officers arresting Sherlock Holmes' suspect?  What about the scientist who developed the gadgets for James Bond, the lab coats in the background who never got a speaking role?
The Goblin Corps scratched this itch for me a decade ago: Lord of the Rings (and similar) had a dream team of the "good" races, one human, one elf, etc.  What about the bad guys?
Ever wonder what it's like to work for COBRA, and fight against GI Joe?  I loved that story too.
Witness for the Dead did that for me, it made me think of other ways of telling stories.
You don't nnneeeeeeeedddd to read The Goblin Emperor first, but you really should.  Its a good book in its own right, and Addison has improved as a writer 
**I received an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Even though this is a standalone novel set in the same world, I would recommend reading The Goblin Emperor first to better appreciate the world building.

I was hoping to see my cinnamon roll Maia, but was utterly disappointed. But nevertheless, I really enjoyed it! The novel is a first person narrative of Thara Celehar, the 'Witness for the Dead' from The Goblin Emperor. I was intrigued by it in the first book, and this one gave an indepth understanding of what a Witness of the Dead does and the politics poor Celehar has to dodge just to do his work.

You could say this a murder mystery. From beginning to the very end, we see Celehar facing different cases - a woman found dead in a canal, a ghoul attack, a possible serial killer, and how he tries to bring peace to the victims as much as he can.

I have to say, the emotional rollercoaster I faced in The Goblin Emperor was missing, but doesn't mean Celehar was a bad character. The novel starts off a little slow, but it picks up after about 30-40%. The names of places and characters can get a little overwhelming, just like in The Goblin Emperor.


Highly recommended to The Goblin Emperor fans!
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This is the story of Thara Celehar, who is a Witness for the Dead. He has the ability to communicate, somewhat, with the recently dead. It helps him to do things like solve murders and bring grieving people closure, and settle wills and the like. After the events that happened to him in The Goblin Emperor, Celehar now lives in Amalo, a city in the provinces, away from court life. He gets himself involved in a will dispute and a murder investigation, and finds an adventure or two along the way.

I wanted to love this book as much as I loved The Goblin Emperor, but alas I did not. Celehar is an interesting character and I didn’t dislike his story. The writing is good, but this one lacks the near overabundance of honorifics and manners that Goblin Emperor had, because it takes place in a different part of the world where those things don’t matter as much. But, all the same, I found myself missing them. It seemed to lack a lot of the unique charm that all of the flowery language and court shenanigans gave the book before it.

I think that it does this one a disservice to market this one as a sequel, even a ‘standalone sequel’ because it gives the expectation that events that happened in Goblin Emperor will be touched upon, or will matter at all. The only thing that makes this a sequel is that it takes place in the same world, after the events of Goblin Emperor, and follows a minor character from it. That’s it. It doesn’t really reference anything that happened in any appreciable way. It’s a character who happened to be in Goblin Emperor doing things in an entirely different part of the world for reasons that have little to nothing to do with anything that happened in Maia’s story. The people who are super excited to read this as a sequel to Goblin Emperor are likely going to be disappointed in it as a sequel to Goblin Emperor.

But, with that all said, if you disassociate this book from Goblin Emperor, forget the word ‘sequel’, forget Maia and all the charm and pomp and circumstance that that book gave you, this is an enjoyable read. It works as a murder mystery. It’s got a slow pace and it often feels like it’s not quite sure what it wants to do, but I still had a good time with it. It meanders between opera murder to ghoul attacks to family estate argument shenanigans and camping out on a hill full of ghosts, and back again… but the adventures it took me on were fun to read about and I did end up liking Celehar as a character in his own world, rather than as a character carried over from an entirely different book that I really enjoyed for entirely different reasons. This book has a charm all it’s own, but it’s not the same charm that you may expect.

All told, this was a solid read, but it isn’t a sequel, and the less you think of it as a sequel, the more you’ll be likely enjoy it.
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DNF. I really liked the premise but the writing did not work for me at all. It wouldn't be fair to the book if I finished reading and gave it a low rating.
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Addison returns to the world of The Goblin Emperor in this new story focusing on Celehar, the Witness for the Dead. Part character study, part mystery, Celehar’s path introduces him to villains, mysteries, political intrigue, and small, ordinary stories that weave together well. As interesting a companion as Celehar is, the real star is the world Addison surrounds him with; I can’t wait for a next book, and to spend more time learning about the fascinating world she has created for her characters.
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First, if you haven’t read The Goblin Emperor you really should.  Celehar is as sweet and gentle a soul as Maia.  While you don’t need to have read the first book to enjoy this one it will set the world up for you for this one.
Celehar is a speaker for the dead and has some abilities to sense the last thoughts of the dead and to lay the uneasy dead to rest.  He becomes involved in a murder investigation and it is his duty to see justice found for the dead who have nobody else.  If you like fantasy and enjoy a fairly gentle mystery story as well I recommend this one highly.  These books are both gentle and fairly soothing reads because of the good nature of the protagonists.
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I went into The Witness for the Dead with a full heart and high hopes. I reread The Goblin Emperor before diving in, and I was primed for the continuation of those warm, optimistic feelings. Reader, I desperately wanted this book to be The Goblin Emperor 2. I wanted to feel that same magic, rooting for an underdog character doing their best in a strange, mysterious, and often opaque new world.

Sadly, it did not capture that same spirit, though it did seem to try.

It seemed to take the things I’d loved in The Goblin Emperor and watered them down, replacing the intensely character-focused narrative with a plot-focused one. The archaic and dense courtly language that gave The Goblin Emperor its charm and delightful sense of otherness was also much reduced. The emotional payoff felt lacking. Often, it felt like showing trauma on-page was used as a substitute for characterization or growth. 

The Witness for the Dead follows Thara Celehar, the Witness Maia brought on in the first book to investigate the late emperor’s assassination. In his new role with the church, he finds himself called upon to use his ability to hear the memories of the recently dead to resolve contract disputes, investigate murders, and more. The favor of the Emperor has proven insufficient to lift him above petty administrative squabbles, and the spector of his own queerness as a gay man that continues to haunt him. Ultimately, the plot revolves around two primary murder mysteries: an opera singer found dead in the river, and a woman who was taken from her family and murdered by the husband she eloped with.

These two threads are used to compare and contrast the difference between a crime committed by someone who gave in to a monstrous impulse rather than someone who is, fundamentally, a monster. This seemed to be an attempt to provide Thara with closure for a past murder he Witnessed, wherein he had to sentence his own lover to death. Unfortunately, this was only touched on lightly – and it was “told” rather than “shown.” There wasn’t much actual on page character growth related to this outside a single conversation with another priest. Contrasting this with The Goblin Emperor, where we see Maia meaningfully dealing with his past as he handles Setheris and the trauma of an abusive upbringing, I found it to be lacking. Even without that direct comparison, it just didn’t really hit me emotionally.

The murder plots themselves were reasonably engaging, and I think that someone primarily interested in murder mysteries would enjoy them. I found the ending to be somewhat contrived, but the journey to reach it was engaging.

During the investigations, it is emphasized several times how traumatizing hearing the memories of the dead can be for Thara. He relives the last moments of the dead – and that includes their pain and suffering. Witnesses for the Dead often burn out young. When the trauma becomes too much, their abilities shut down and fail them. While Thara is frequently shown to suffer from this on page, it is never really addressed – how does Thara process that trauma? The answer, apparently, is that he simply doesn’t. He begins to open up a little by the end of the novel, implying that he will go on to build connections that provide him with stability, but without seeing how those connections change him long term…. Well, I found it unsatisfying. It felt like Thara was still on a journey to finding his place when the novel ended rather than having found it. 

In the same vein, Thara’s queerness – and the broader societal attitudes towards queerness – are mentioned but not meaningfully addressed. We see a young woman blackmailed because someone caught her with another woman. Thara himself begins to have romantic feelings towards another man. While Thara’s budding relationship ends on a hopeful note, it is not a definitive note. It implies acceptance of his own identity and his past, but it’s such a surface level examination of it that I had trouble becoming invested. There was no follow up exploration of what those feelings meant. Where Maia went from a blushing virgin to having his betrothed pledge to gut his enemies, Thara went from a sad and traumatized bachelor to…. A sad and traumatized bachelor who was okay with being friends for now with another gay man? Whether or not they would get together was ambiguous. It reminded me of the queerness in The Angel of the Crows, which was similarly dissatisfying. There are hints and nudges when it comes to queerness and relationships, but both books fail to transform it into a substantial theme.

Honestly, the entire book felt a bit like what you’d get if you crossed The Angel of the Crows with The Goblin Emperor. It has elements of both, and feels unfocused for it. Is this a character driven novel like The Goblin Emperor? Or is this meant to be a pure murder mystery? It’s hard to tell, but at the end of the day… I regret to say that fans of The Goblin Emperor are unlikely to experience the same magic they felt in the first book.
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A calm, gentle journey with intrigue and charming characters along the way.

Fans of Katherine Addison will be pleased with her latest novel, The Witness for the Dead, which I personally found to be a delightful mixture of her two previous novels. It combines the mystery-solving aspect of The Angel of the Crows with the worldbuilding of The Goblin Emperor.

I'm a massive fan of The Goblin Emperor, so the moment I got the invitation to read this ARC, I couldn't wait to read this sequel. However, I should make one thing clear: this story is not a direct sequel to TGE, and Maia is only mentioned offhandedly (but I was very excited at the mention nonetheless!). Instead, it follows Thara Celehar, a minor character in the original novel. Celehar is a mild-mannered Witness for the Dead, meaning he has the power to briefly communicate with any recently deceased persons. This makes him ideal for solving mysterious deaths. 

Another warning: if you didn't like the avalanche of impenetrable worldbuilding details from TGE, you may encounter the same struggle with The Witness for the Dead. Addison doesn't hesitate to throw readers headfirst into a thick, dense mire of names and customs. It's all very well-done, very internally consistent, but nonetheless the opposite of an easy read. There were many moments I got characters confused with each other, but this was usually quickly solved by reading further and picking up the answer from context.

What I personally enjoyed the most about this book was seeing the little ways Celehar helps the people in his community. Not just by solving murders for them, but delivering letters between estranged family members, listening to miscellaneous problems of dramatic opera singers, comforting the grieving after an awful airship accident, and even feeding his neighbourhood cats. There's a quietly cosy atmosphere to this book, something that made The Goblin Emperor such a joy to read.

A very recommended read, albeit with some caveats.
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The Witness For the Dead
by Katherine Addison
Thank you so much NetGalley and Macmillan-Tor/Forge for the advanced copy.

Katherine Addison is fast becoming one of my favorite authors, the Goblin Emperor is on of my favorite fantasies of the last decade and  The Angel of the Crows was very enjoyable, although very different.

The Witness for the Dead is set in the world of The Goblin Emperor, diffrent city, new main character that only played a small in the Goblin Emperor.  It has no real connection to the GE except for the world it is set in.
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You should still read it.  One of my favorite things about K.A. books is how amazingly good she is at writing real, flawed, human characters, there are no over the to villains or saintly heroes, only people.
TWFTD is a murder mystery, and takes the reader through the city of Amalo and futher, with Thara Celehar a witness for the dead, as he looks for the killer of a local opera singer.  He has to tread carefully both amongst the city's elite and the criminal underworld, and his place among the city's religious' orders is precarious.  That is just the beginning.

As a fan of the GE I have been waiting in suspence for more from this world and The Witness for the Dead did not disappoint, it has all the hallmarks of a good Katharine Addison book.
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