I have never been so excited to be approved for an eARC; The Goblin Emperor and The Witness for the Dead are two books I thoroughly enjoyed, and I recommend them to other people all the time.
It’s been a while since I read The Witness for the Dead, so it took a moment to reorient myself in this world. After a few pages, though, it felt like returning to an old friend; despite the focus on death, the atmosphere is warm and comforting. Celehar’s unassuming nature quickly draws you back in for another adventure.
I love how slowly everything moves without feeling like it’s dragging. The details that Addison puts into her narratives separate this book, and this series, from most of the other books I read. We follow Celehar throughout his entire day, from waking in his small apartment, his morning work as a Witness for the Dead, his afternoon work as a detective, through dinner, tea, and tuna for the stray cats. And, of course, his visits to the opera – which are arguably my favourite parts.
The emotions are palpable – so many of these characters are lost or hurting, and Celehar is the perfect guide. His calling seems to be the only thing holding him together, and watching this unravel over the course of the narrative is heartbreaking and compelling. His new ‘apprentice’ Tomasaran adds a welcome perspective to this calling – Celehar’s devotion is unfaltering, so it’s nice to see someone new to this role with less surety. Celehar is not a natural mentor, so their dynamic is difficult at times, perfectly representing this forced, complex relationship; I loved every moment. Celehar is already an incredibly awkward character, and this new situation only enhanced his natural state.
I would be happy if this series never ended. I don’t know how many books are planned, but I will read every single one. So much happens in The Grief of Stones, and it’s all tied together beautifully. I guess this is technically the third book in the Goblin Emperor series or the second in the Cemeteries of Amalo series, but it’s my favourite of both. I may have received an eARC, but I will definitely be purchasing this book.