Book Review – The Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron

The Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron

The Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron

Quoth the blurb:

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 Legend of Eli Monpress includes the novels: The Spirit Thief, The Sprit Rebellion, and The Spirit Eater.

As the blurb says, this is a collection of the first three books in a series.  It starts off just showing that Eli is awesome (although he gets surprisingly little page time) but over the course of the three books a larger world with bigger stakes is revealed.  It’s the bigger stakes that will have me coming back for the next book in the series.

The first two books are heists, which are pleasant enough, though not as tricky as I might expect heists to be.

The first thing that I noticed when I started reading this collection was that every character was the best in the world at something.  If they’re a wizard, they’re the best wizard in the world.  If they’re a swordsman, they’re the best swordsman in the world.  I guess it makes it possible for the plot to include more epic events if all of the characters are the world’s best whatever, but I miss the ordinary people which should make up the vast majority of the population.

The books get better as they go – at the beginning of the first book the characters aren’t described well enough to tell them apart, but that quickly ceases to be a problem as the quality of the writing improves.

It’s kind of a boy’s adventure in that everyone’s motives are fairly straightforward and conflicts are generally resolved with fights.  It comprehensively fails the Bechdel test, which is surprising considering the author’s a woman.

The magic system doesn’t pass cursory examination – if everything in the world has a spirit then how can a Spiritualist stand to eat or drink anything?  Even being a vegan wouldn’t be enough.