The Witness for the Dead

The Goblin Emperor #2

Hardcover, 208 pages

Published Jan. 6, 2021 by Tor Books.

ISBN:
978-0-7653-8742-4
Copied ISBN!

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (11 reviews)

A standalone novel in the fantastic world of Katherine Addison's award-winning The Goblin Emperor.

When young half-goblin emperor Maia sought to learn who had killed his father and half-brothers in The Goblin Emperor, he turned to an obscure resident of his court, a Witness for The Dead named Thara Celehar.

Now, far from the court, Thara Celehar lives in quasi-exile, neither courtier nor prelate, serving the common people of the city. He lives modestly, communicating with the dead as is his duty.

But his decency and fundamental honesty will not permit him to live quietly. Celehar will follow the truth wherever it leads him no matter who may be implicated in murder, fraud, or ancient injustices.

4 editions

Slow and meandering fantasy murder mystery

3 stars

This book is a return to the world of The Goblin Emperor, which I quite liked. It's an indirect sequel, set after the events in the first book, but pretty much unrelated otherwise. Its protagonist is Thara Celehar, the Witness for the Dead who helped Maia previously. He is now posted in the city of Amalo, a political backwater, which is fine for Thara. He tries to do his job, and much of the book is spent in his investigations on the death of an opera singer. But he also gets swept up in political intrigues, has to go fight undead, and drinks a lot of tea.

I must admit that at times my attention strayed. The plot is very meandering, it just piddles along, and I like myself a tighter narrative. Thara remained a bit bland. Addison likes to drown the reader in all the terms specific to her …

Buena lectura para noviembre

4 stars

Ya habíamos conocido al personaje central en The Goblin Emperor. Algo triste y solitario, también va con su oficio de Testigo de los Muertos. Es que en ese mundo hay Testigos que hablan por los que no tienen voz. No es el énfasis que le dan, pero se parece a los derechos de la Pacha Mama, creo, y creo que se menciona que a veces hay un Testigo que toma la voz de un río o de un monte.

Para ser Testigo de los Muertos debes tener el llamado, y con suerte tendrás el Talento. El talento te permite "ver" un poquito, sentir las últimas impresiones de lo que queda de las almas en los cuerpos. Además te entrena la orden monacal de los testigos, y adquieres el superpoder de la escucha profunda.

Los Testigos de los Muertos buscan la Verdad, que no siempre es lo que más conviene.

Ciertamente …

The Witness for the Dead

4 stars

I'm not sure what I was expecting from another book set in The Goblin Emperor universe, but I really enjoyed this fantasy slice of life cozy mystery. This is not a sequel per se and I don't strictly think you need to have read the previous book to enjoy this one, but I do think coming to this one knowing the naming conventions and a little bit of backstory make this book easier and more enjoyable to read.

It was also fun to have read this after reading Paladin's Hope (by T. Kingfisher), which similarly features a main character who is able to see a body's last moments before death. Plot-wise, it's definitely a useful mystery hook to have an amateur investigator (and also thankfully not a cop) have some insight into tracking down nefarious deeds. The similarities end there, as Paladin's Hope has a more ...action and romance bent …

fantasy noir?

4 stars

I quite enjoyed this, the story moves along, it's varied and intricately drawn with gritty details. I felt at times like i was reading Dashiell Hammett, but with ghouls and elves and goblins. i think some of the subtleties of the world Addison creates were lost on me because i haven't read the Goblin Emperor. (can't say i wasn't warned.) I liked the names and titles of the characters; they have a nice musical ring to them, but again, i felt a like i was in the deep end of the pool trying to keep all of them straight in my mind. I think it'd be worth reading again this after i read the GE.

Review of 'The Witness for the Dead' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

I loved The Goblin Emperor so much that I didn't want to seek out Witness for the Dead - who knows when Addison will write another book in this world, I have to make it last - so I waited until I happened to come across it on the shelf at the library, which finally happened.

I don't know that I would say it's better than The Goblin Emperor - for one thing, TGE is a better entry point because Maia knows nothing about court and the reader learns along with him, where Celehar in WftD is in a world he knows intimately - but in some ways it hangs together better. This is a murder mystery, and an exploration of the outer edges of Maia's kingdom; there are no huge plots to uncover, no questions of "what makes a good king?" and so on. The worldbuilding calms down here …

a beautiful world to exist in

4 stars

This was one of those books that when it ended, I missed getting to be in the world. It has a kind of understated, slice-of-life feel, with a lot of detail and reverence paid to the minutia of daily life and community relationships, that felt more prominent to me than the murder mysteries. Addison writes with an immense amout of compassion and tenderness, and for me that is what makes this book, and The Goblin Emperor, transcend what they would be on their face, in terms of plot.

The writing style drops you into the cultural nuances of the society largely without explanation, and you can infer, for example, what different honorifics mean through context. I really really like this and I think overall its very well done, but I think it would be more daunting if I hadn't already read The Goblin Emperor, and there were some …

Revisiting a world

4 stars

I read The Goblin Emperor long enough ago that I really don't remember much about it (other than that I enjoyed it) but that didn't matter at all when reading this book. The world of this novel is well-described and interesting. I liked the main character and as he spends the book trying to solve several murders, we learn about the world and the people who inhabit it. I really enjoyed inhabiting the space for awhile.

avatar for phraserbrown@bookwyrm.social

rated it

4 stars
avatar for tdanner

rated it

4 stars
avatar for tracynicholrose

rated it

5 stars
avatar for dezdono

rated it

3 stars