Can’t Wait Wednesday : The Witness for the dead, (The Goblin Emperor #2) by Katherine Addison

Can't Wait Wednesday

“Waiting On Wednesday” is a weekly meme that was originally created by Breaking the Spine.  Unfortunately Breaking the Spine are no longer hosting so I’m now linking my posts up to Wishful Endings Can’t Wait Wednesday. Don’t forget to stop over, link up and check out what books everyone else is waiting for.  If you want to take part, basically, every Wednesday, we highlight a book that we’re really looking forward to.  This week my book is : The Witness for the dead, (The Goblin Emperor #2) by Katherine Addison.

TheWitnessA 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.

Expected publication : June 2021

The Angel of the Crows by Katherine Addison

AngelofMy TL:DR Five Word Review : Sherlock Holmes Winged Fantasy fanfic

Okay, so, this wasn’t quite what I was expecting.  The original description is very mysterious indeed and certainly intrigued me enough to request a copy even if the author’s name hadn’t already stoked my attention to unusual heights.  Here’s a copy of the original description:

‘This is not the story you think it is. These are not the characters you think they are. This is not the book you are expecting.

In an alternate 1880s London, angels inhabit every public building, and vampires and werewolves walk the streets with human beings under a well-regulated truce. A fantastic utopia, except for a few things: Angels can Fall, and that Fall is like a nuclear bomb in both the physical and metaphysical worlds. And human beings remain human, with all their kindness and greed and passions and murderous intent.

Jack the Ripper stalks the streets of this London too. But this London has an Angel. The Angel of the Crows.’

Overall, I enjoyed this and it was entertaining.  I do have slightly mixed feelings however – but then, at the same time that feeling is dependent on whether or not this is intended to be a series.  If more books are planned then I would put my mixed feelings down to that certain feeling you experience having read the first in a series of books where you’re left wanting  more and with  gaps in your knowledge that you expect to be filled in as future instalments are forthcoming. If this is a standalone then I’m left with that feeling of not being quite sated but still having enjoyed a revisit with some old storylines and characters.  What I am puzzled about is why the whole ‘Sherlock and Watson revamped’ scenario is left off from the blurb.  I’m always interested in any reimaginings that include this pair and also usually onboard for anything including Jack the Ripper so putting the two together is a double whammy for me.

What did I really enjoy about Angel of Crows:

This is an alternate London where fantastic creatures live alongside the everyday mundane.  Vampires, Werewolves and Angels to name but a few. Holmes and Watson are themselves quite far removed from the original characters in more ways than a simple change of name – here called Crow and Doyle.  Crow, for example, is an angel and in truly infuriating style I’m not going to tell you anything about Doyle, other than he’s a military doctor now retired from service following injury.  Both of them have secrets.  That is all I’m prepared to say.  I think writing Holmes as an Angel was a brilliant idea.  His character always had a sort of ‘ethereal’ or aloof feel to it in the original stories and he came across as a little detached which is perfectly portrayed here.  I loved the friendship that develops between the two and their interactions and the way they support each other. On top of that I loved the idea that Angels are linked to a particular residence which makes me want to go and look up places like the Angel Inn.

Angel of Crows includes a retelling of a number of the original stories and uses the Ripper cases as a backdrop with Crow becoming heavily involved with the hunt for the killer. This allows a common thread to run throughout the story which is also aided by each individual storyline introducing new threads.

In terms of criticisms.  I think this might have benefitted by focusing more on one particular story rather than incorporating so many of the originals, it gave the stories a slightly rushed feel.  There was also a rather skimpy feel to the usual powers of deduction and reasoning behind Crows assumptions, in fact he had a rather downplayed  role in that respect.  I would also like to know more about the supernatural aspects of this world – although if this is a series rather than a standalone  – that might be further developed in future instalments.

Overall I had a good time with this.  I enjoyed the writing and revisiting these characters albeit in a different guise.  I think the author’s love for this is also very clear and I would happily read more stories if that is the plan.

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

My rating 3.5 out of 5 stars

 

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison : readalong, final week #wyrdandwonder, #TheGoblinEmperor

ReadalongGE

Today is the final week in the readalong for the Goblin Emperor and things are certainly hotting up.  This is part of the Wyrd and Wonder event taking place during the month of May.  The details of Wyrd and Wonder are here and the readalong details are here.  As always, beware of spoilers which will be lurking.

Here’s the reading schedule at a glance:

  • Week 1: Wednesday 6th May, Chapters 1 through 9
  • Week 2: Wednesday 13th May, Chapters 10 through 17 (end of part 2)
  • Week 3: Wednesday 20th May, Chapters 18 through 26 (part 3)
  • Week 4: Wednesday 27th May, Chapters 27 to End (part 4 & 5)

Lisa at DeerGeekPlace is hosting the readalong .  The questions will be posted weekly in  a Goodreads group page, and will also be tweeted out weekly from the @wyrdandwonder account using the hashtag #TheGoblinEmperor, as well as the standard #wyrdandwonder tag.  so without further ado – to the q&a

Let’s start with Maia’s grandfather! What do you think of the Avar, and his budding relationship with Maia?

I really enjoyed this aspect of this week’s reading.  It felt like they took almost shy steps to begin with but eventually their relationship developed so well and I can’t help thinking that will make such a huge difference in relationships with the goblins moving forward.  Avar was very easy to read – a real force of nature tupe character that swallows up page space as soon as he arrives on the scene.  And, finally, I loved that he left a small army contingent behind to look out for his grandson.  Sometimes actions speak louder than words.

Another plot against Maia is foiled… Were you surprised by the reveal of Tethimar as the one behind the late emperor’s murder? And what are your thoughts on this reveal, in light of the way this part of the story played out?

I wasn’t so much surprised by Tehimar’s involvement in the plot but I was surprised at his method.  It seemed a little crazy storming the dais with a knife – a death wish by any other name really.  In fact, I’d say the plots against Maia were probably, for me, the weakest part of the storyline.  I think I was expecting something with some thought or subtlety – that being said I guess Tethimar was driven a little crazy with hate.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m very, very happy that neither plot succeeded but I was a bit surprised at the weakness of both attempts.

For all of the enmity that’s shown to him, our emperor has a much more hopeful nickname by the end… Looking back, are you satisfied with/pleased by the way Maia handled all of these situations in which he had to make or break relationships? Was there anything you were left questioning or that you feel should have gone differently?

Maia is the absolute star of the piece.  I love the way his character has grown during the course of the book.  I love the way he handles himself, others and situations.  He is genuinely caring and even when he lacks confidence his interactions are a joy to read about.  He’s strong when you least expect it and also forgiving.  I can’t help but notice how everyone has warmed up to him, he even turned the ‘we can’t be friends’ issue on it’s head and found a compromise.  And I especially like the ending with the bridge analogy.  The bridge became something much more than a structure.  It helped Maia achieve confidence in himself, it demonstrated his progressive attitude to change and to listen and it also worked as a comparison with the bridges he was building with others.  Even when he acknowledged that he wasn’t able to build bridges with everyone.

I went into this read not really knowing what to expect and ended up loving this.  This is not a sweeping epic drama, it’s much more character focused and Maia is a great character to read about.  I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Thanks to Wyrd and Wonder for this fantastic month long love of everything fantasy and also to Lisa for hosting this readalong which definitely gave me the motivation I needed to pick this up.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison : readalong, week 3 #wyrdandwonder, #TheGoblinEmperor

ReadalongGE

Today is the third week in the readalong for the Goblin Emperor and things are certainly hotting up.  This is part of the Wyrd and Wonder event taking place during the month of May.  The details of Wyrd and Wonder are here and the readalong details are here.  As always, beware of spoilers which will be lurking and I hope you’ll join in with the discussion if this is a book you’ve already read.

Here’s the reading schedule at a glance:

  • Week 1: Wednesday 6th May, Chapters 1 through 9
  • Week 2: Wednesday 13th May, Chapters 10 through 17 (end of part 2)
  • Week 3: Wednesday 20th May, Chapters 18 through 26 (part 3)
  • Week 4: Wednesday 27th May, Chapters 27 to End (part 4 & 5)

Lisa at DeerGeekPlace is hosting the readalong .  The questions will be posted weekly in  a Goodreads group page, and will also be tweeted out weekly from the @wyrdandwonder account using the hashtag #TheGoblinEmperor, as well as the standard #wyrdandwonder tag.  so without further ado – to the q&a and don’t spare the horses:

These chapters open with a very candid, yet significantly warmer than most, conversation between Maia and Arbelan, and from there things begin to change as Maia learns to act with more confidence. Do you think Arbelan’s kinder treatment of him is what sparks this, and if so, how much of an impact do you think it had?

I enjoyed the chapters where Maia seems to be gradually becoming more confident and in particular his discussions with Arbelan and Idra.  What really comes across with all the interactions is how stiffly everyone seems to be at first (or at least almost everyone).  Everyone has a court ‘face’ and I can’t help thinking I would be so miserable in such a place, never knowing what people are really thinking, all the scheming behind the scenes.  Well, we know it’s a lonely existence so frankly whenever Maia tries to hold out an olive branch, and it’s well received, it’s a good moment.  Plus these new ‘friends’ are helping him to learn so much and are showing him that not everyone favoured the last emperor.

The river bridge scheme proves to be a delightful plot point to push a lot of character interaction forward, as well as opening up the scope of this world. Were you surprised by the developments involving Lord Pashavar?

I like the bridge storyline to be honest, it’s interesting and helps to show the split in Maia’s court.  Lord Pashavar being a fine example.  Maia seems to like Pashavar or more to the point respect him maybe?  The dinner and discussion they shared was quite revealing.  Again, it drove home the fact that not every action of the previous Emperor was thought well of.  He was stubborn and his advisors didn’t necessarily always agree with him. It was really interesting to find out a little bit more about the history of the place and it was also a little revealing in terms of Pashavar – who I don’t dislike, but feel he’s maybe very set in his ways and not very receptive to change, although maybe he can be persuaded by reasonable arguments?  Time will tell – of course the part of my brain that screams ‘trust nobody’ can’t help reading dark thoughts into why Pashavar is so set against the bridge scheme.

Like a train gathering steam, a great deal of plot drama happens here. Let’s talk about Shevean and Chavar. Were you surprised by their gambit? And how do you feel about the way it all played out (ie. Idra’s decision to put his foot down)?

This bit actually really surprised me tbh.  I guess it shouldn’t have, it was obvious that things were building up and would eventually just pop from the tension but I have to say I was really shocked at how quickly things happened and how quickly they were resolved.  I thought Chavar would have been a bit more cunning or thorough with his plotting.  I’m relieved he and Shevean have eventually shown their true colours although I can’t help thinking that this can’t be the end of the threat to Maia. It simply doesn’t feel ‘cunning’ enough.

We get another surprising turnaround from Ceredin, Maia’s intended empress-to-be, as well. What are your thoughts on her by the end of these chapters, compared to her initial impression?

I liked that she showed a little more of her own personality, I think I could like her very much.  Yes, this is an arranged marriage and she is carrying out her duty but I have hope for her and Maia.

The story, and perhaps the danger, is not quite over yet … any thoughts on what might be in store in the final chapters?

Well, there still feels to be quite a lot hanging in the balance.  Things are moving forward but there is a definite feeling of danger lurking.  One thing that struck me was Mer Celhar’s sudden disappearance.  He could have made an interesting discovery in his investigations or he could have been taken out of the picture because he’s getting too close to the truth?  I’m inclined to think the first explanation is the more likely and he’s rushed off to find something out or uncover some truths.  This also leads me to wondering who could have been involved in the explosion.  Is Chavar now out of that scenario or was this scheme just another part of the plan (a plan B) to put in place a young emperor who could be managed easily?  And there has been, suspiciously, no mention of Chavar’s son since the abdication attempt.  It concerns me.

 

 

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison : readalong, week 2 #wyrdandwonder, #TheGoblinEmperor

ReadalongGE

Today is the second week in the readalong for the Goblin Emperor.  This is part of the Wyrd and Wonder event taking place during the month of May.  The details of Wyrd and Wonder are here and the readalong details are here.  As always, beware of spoilers which will be lurking and I hope you’ll join in with the discussion if this is a book you’ve already read.

Here’s the reading schedule at a glance:

  • Week 1: Wednesday 6th May, Chapters 1 through 9
  • Week 2: Wednesday 13th May, Chapters 10 through 17 (end of part 2)
  • Week 3: Wednesday 20th May, Chapters 18 through 26 (part 3)
  • Week 4: Wednesday 27th May, Chapters 27 to End (part 4 & 5)

Lisa at DeerGeekPlace is hosting the readalong .  The questions will be posted weekly in  a Goodreads group page, and will also be tweeted out weekly from the @wyrdandwonder account using the hashtag #TheGoblinEmperor, as well as the standard #wyrdandwonder tag.  so without further ado – to the q&a and don’t spare the horses:

So many verbal encounters. So much political muck! Let’s start with Princess Sheveän, who seemed so very outraged at the idea of the late emperor’s body being ‘desecrated’. Do you buy that as her reasoning? Or do you think she was making a scene for another reason?

I don’t really understand what that was all about tbh. I mean she seemed absolutely furious didn’t she?  Perhaps she’s hiding something or maybe she just really doesn’t like Maia and is all too eager to pounce on anything he does and find fault with it. At this point – I suspect everyone (almost).

Cala and Vedero both have some hard but pragmatic advice for Maia here: Cala’s concern is for the emperor being seen to be weak for treating his nohecharei as equals when their job is to protect him; and Vedero’s situation is different but her concern is basically the same as Cala’s. She seems alarmed at the idea that Maia might go against society and tradition by refusing to bargain for a marriage for her. How do you feel about these scenes, and the conversations between them? Are they being too harsh and/or cynical, or is Maia simply being too naive?

I think that the scene with Cala giving Maia advice was very touching.  I felt so sorry for Maia because he does seem to have latched onto the two as friends and so with that in mind I think the advice was good – particularly if he wants to keep the two of them close.  I think if he makes his feelings towards them too obvious in public then somebody will find a way of replacing them by saying they’re not doing their job properly.  And then he could be left with two people with a very different agenda. The same with Vedero – I think she was genuinely trying to give good advice to Maia, even if it isn’t advice that she likes herself.  Maia is being naive but that’s understandable given he hasn’t been brought up in court or with expectations of ever being there and so it’s good that he has some people around him to give advice.  But, I like that he still makes his own decisions, the case with Vedero being a perfect example.

Setheris attempts to come at Maia from his more abusive position, clearly intending to railroad his cousin into giving him a position at court he feels is worthy of him. Yet Maia sticks to his intention of sending Setheris somewhere he will not have so much easy access to the new emperor. Do you think, with that, that Setheris’s days of troubling Maia are over?

It’s interesting because Setheris has tried his bullying tactics now and they haven’t worked, so he’s seeing that Maia can and will stand up to him.  I don’t think he will be happy though and I definitely don’t think that’s going to be the last we hear from him.  Perhaps he will try something more subtle.  Maybe he’ll pull Hesero out of his bag of tricks and see if she can work her magic on Maia.

A discovery is made that the sabotage of the Wisdom of Choharo may have been caused by the Cetho Workers League – a “dissident group”. Do you think this will lead to a resolution of the investigation, or did the plot just thicken?

I think the plot did just thicken.  Clearly there are unhappy people in the empire and I’m sure that’s going to be due to a catalogue of unfair treatment from the previous Emperor.  I don’t think the Workers League will be responsible for the crash but I do think that someone will try to use them as a very convenient scapegoat.  It’s just too easy to pin this on a bunch of unhappy people and point the finger, plus it skirts round the issue of what they’re unhappy with and removes them from the picture.  Maia will probably be interested in hearing what others have to say and making change for the better so if the crash can be pinned on them it removes any justified complaints they might have.

Maia’s grandfather is coming to court for Winternight, though this seems to please Maia far more than it pleases Chavar … What do you make of Chavar’s open disagreeableness during the dinner at the ambassador’s home? Is it plain arrogance (albeit the racist kind), or do you think his disapproval of goblin folk runs deeper than that?

Well, I think there is a lot of racism at this court – and it’s not particularly well hidden, but with a new Emperor, and one that is half Goblin, people will have to be more careful.  Hopefully, Maia’s kindness will help people to see things in a new light – but such changes don’t usually happen overnight.  I imagine that Chavar’s open opposition to all of this runs slightly deeper.  He’s probably worried that the goblins will now use the opportunity of Maia being Emperor to their own benefit.  Or perhaps he’s worried that Maia will have more of an ear to what the goblins have to say?  It’s also another potential ally for Maia.  I’m really looking forward to the visit though, for Maia’s sake and also to learn more about his family.

 

Next Page »