The Spirit Thief: The Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron

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The Spirit Thief: The Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: This is the first in a trilogy of Thief related fiction. The handsome and clever Eli Monpress is notorious for various reasons: one of which is that he's a wizard so has in-built help to carry out his audacious crimes.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Maybe
Pages: 352 Date: October 2010
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN: 978-0356500102

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I'm relatively new to the fantasy genre and it really is true - you should never judge the book by its genre (my quote). Having read a previous fantasy trilogy (more of that later) I was looking forward to reading this book which has a similar lay-out and publishing format.

The book kicks off with the terrific statement (which involves the main character Eli) - He'll just steal something that no one will miss - at least for a while. Something like a king. Great opener, I thought. And then the reader is given the low-down on Eli and apparently what he is not capable of, could be jotted down on the back of a fag packet, if you get my drift. What he wants, he blooming well gets - or does he? And alongside the narrative Aaron gives us a nice line in wit which is very much tongue-in-cheek and which sets the flavour and the tone of the book. So far, so good I thought.

Eli is on some complicated mission. It's also tricky, dangerous ... and he needs to call in well, all his powers as a wizard. So we see him on quite a few occasions having earnest conversations with inanimate objects. When he's talking to, for example, a door he puts across the rather scathing line to it that Indecision is the bane of all hardwoods. Fantasy with a capital 'F' indeed. The language used throughout by Aaron is modern, fresh and punchy but it's contained really to dialogue. Her narrative is not as engaging as I had hoped, given the impressive start to the book.

And deep in fantasy-land, Aaron throws out to her readers such phrases as The Council of Thrones and Rector Spiritualis and the like. Most of the pages in this story are swirling with action. The scene is set early on amidst castles and dungeons and long, dark, spooky corridors going ... well, I'll leave that for you to find out.

Enter Miranda. She's beautiful and brave and has a faithful ghosthound she uses as her mode of transport. Apparently, Miranda has a few thorny issues to sort out with this Eli character. Well, if only she could track him down ... The king and his castle are part of the plot and getting the king where he needs to be involves many problems of a fantasy-nature. And as you might expect, various spirits unleash their powers all over the place with varying degrees of success.

Almost from the word go, it's action all the way. That's fine, up to a point. I found that there was far too much action. Every page had a similar feel and it all made for a rather messy read. Too many characters doing too many things on too many pages. However, that said there are some good witty lines throughout which I enjoyed but I didn't really enjoy much else, I'm afraid.

I know I'm labouring the point here but it really did strike me that so many pages were similar. Very little light and shade. Consequently, I was not unhappy to reach the final chapter. Perhaps I've been spoiled with Gail Carriger and her terrific Parasol Protectorate fantasy trilogy but this book was just not my cup of tea. After a promising start it soon went downhill - and stayed there.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals to you then you might also enjoy Living with the Dead by Kelley Armstrong.

Buy The Spirit Thief: The Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Spirit Thief: The Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron at Amazon.co.uk


Buy The Spirit Thief: The Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Spirit Thief: The Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron at Amazon.com.

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