This review is about “The Legend of Eli Monpress” by Rachel Aaron, a compilation of the first three books in the series – “The Spirit Thief“, “The Spirit Rebellion” and “The Spirit Eater“.
Eli Monpress is talented, charming and a thief. He is the greatest thief of the age, and he’s also a wizard. And with the help of his companions he’s going to put his grand plan into effect. Because Eli won’t rest until he has amassed a fortune, and step one is to increase the bounty on his head. He’ll start small, though, something no one will miss. Like a king.
And so starts the adventures of Eli and his two partners. It is like someone made a land-bound medieval Jack Sparrow – without the rum – but it works. With excellent world-building, funny, fast paced writing and characters that you can easily love this is a great book series. The ideas are pretty different concerning wizards, and the spirits inhabiting everything is a great touch, and the spirits are as diverse, as funny and as sassy as any human characters walking about. Sometimes even more so.
The main bad character freaks the hell out of me, she is scary obsessed with Eli Monpress, and what’s worse is that she’s a goddess of sorts. And the secondary main character has such incredibly evil, warped potential that I really want to know what he is up to and what his role within the story is apart from the obvious one. And then you have those characters – like Miranda Lyonette, the representative from the Spirit Court who is sent after Eli to catch him – who both are and aren’t enemies all depending on the situation and your view of it. They can be quite fun or annoying to read about.
However. There are some things that though not directly bad did annoy me quite a lot. Eli Monpress as a character doesn’t seem flawed. Sure, he is cocky and unable to resist a challenge, but it all works out in the end after a bit of danger. He doesn’t seem to actually learn something from that. The same with Miranda Lyonette, and she annoyed the frick out of me in the end. One of Eli’s companions – Josef – at one point or another in the book has revelations about something big that seem quite… rushed. Glossed over. Kind of like “But we can’t… yeah, okay, sure.” It lost the potential and gravity in that. There are a few other smaller annoyances, but those are also more like pet peeves of mine.
Generally speaking it was a fun romp of a read, and at some point I’m probably going to read the two sequels – “The Spirit War” and “Spirit’s End” – at some point in the future.