- Rachel Aaron
Publisher: UK - Orbit
Eli Monpress is talented. He's charming. And he's a thief. But not just any thief. He's the greatest thief of the age - and he's also a wizard. And with the help of his partners - a swordsman with the most powerful magic sword in the world but no magical ability of his own, and a demonseed who can step through shadows and punch through walls - he's going to put his plan into effect. The first step is to increase the size of the bounty on his head, so he'll need to steal some big things. But he'll start small for now. He'll just steal something that no one will miss - at least for a while. Like a king.
The Spirit Thief is a fun romp of a fantasy novel. Anyone expecting deep character examinations or involving political storylines will be disappointed. Instead it’s an action orientated adventure with a charming but mysterious leading man and his equally mysterious companions. Most of the story is told through the point of view of Miranda, a ‘good’ wizard who is trying to catch Eli for ruining the reputation of the Spirit Court with his thieving ways. Eli’s character, past and motivations remain shrouded in mystery – hopefully for further examination in later books. The only thing he seems focused on is increasing the bounty on his head. In comparison Miranda is driven by her honour and morals – she comes over as a strong moral character, capable and intelligent. Her interactions with her ghosthound are a joy to read and I hope that she continues to follow in Eli’s footprints for some time to come in order to keep him on his toes!
The system of magic Rachel Aaron has created seems different (to me at least!) with everything having a spirit – not just living things such as trees and animals but also rope, stone, rivers, fire. The wizards have the ability to talk to spirits and ask them to help. Eli particularly seems good at gaining helps from spirits – in the first scene he charms the prison door into opening for him! The system isn’t explored in much detail but the abuse of spirits becomes an important point – is it right for humans to inflict their own will on other spirit’s souls? Mostly though the story is a variety of heists, fights and magical battles as Eli races around the kingdom of Mellinor causing trouble – and it is a lot of fun. I got caught up in the excitement and had a huge grin on my face at many of Eli’s antics. My one niggle is that I was left wanting to know more about Eli and his companions – I didn’t feel like I knew them that much more by the end than I did at the beginning.
In the end The Spirit Thief is like a Caesar salad - a great start to the meal that whets your appetite for more but not quite enough on its own. On the plus side the next two books in this five book series, The Spirit Rebellion and The Spirit Eater are out now and I’m hopefully they’ll fill me up – and I already have The Spirit Rebellion on my TBR pile! J
Recommended for fans of David Eddings and Patricia Briggs fantasy series. 8 out of 10