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REVIEW: 'The Spirit Eater' by Rachel Aaron


   Eli Monpress is Clever. He's Magnetic. And he's a thief.

    With the pressure on after his success in Gaol, Eli Monpress, professional thief and degenerate, decides it's time to lie low for a bit. Taking up residence in a tiny seaside village, Eli and companions seize the chance for some fun and relaxation.


 



   Nico, however, is finding it a bit hard. Plagued by a demon's voice in her head and feeling powerless, she only sees herself as a burden. Everyone's holiday comes to an untimely close, though, when Pele arrives to beg Eli's help for finding her missing father.

    But there are larger plans afoot than even Eli can see, and the real danger, and the solution, may lie with one of his own and her forgotten past.

    If only Nico could remember whose side she's on.


Review

   Eli Monpress might be the star of this series, but in this volume he seemed more a secondary character. The book suffered none for it however, as every character in Rachel Aaron's work is as strong as the main. The demonseed Nico, as seen on the cover of the book, might be considered the star this time; though her friend Josef as well as returning Spiritualist Miranda play solid roles as well.

   The overall story takes a darker turn than the last couple books. Both because of the growing reader knowledge of the demon threats to the world and the lack of Eli's lighthearted quips. But the direction is welcome as the characters and world have become more than just liked, but familiar and loved. We have come to see a much larger story unfold than just Eli's capers from book to book.

   Though I try to keep reviews somewhat spoiler free, I'll dance a little on the edge here since I would assume anyone following this closelly would have read the previous two books: We get to meet a few new characters in the game and a few characters from the past return as well: Slorn and Sted playing key roles. We learn more about Josef's sword "The Heart of War", Eli, The Shaper Mountain and the god-like figures in background of the saga.

Bottom Line:

   This series has been one of my favorite this year. I can't think of a series where I've liked every single character as much as I do in these books. My concerns in the review of first volume of Rachel Aaron overusing magic and powerful characters in the series has come to seem silly to me as she has weaved her tale with a masterful balance. I couldn't recommend this book more to anyone interested in a fun fantasy adventure series.

2 comments:

  1. What's the setting of this book like?

    I read the previous reviews and I'm guessing we're not talking a modern world, but I'm curious as to the population of this world. Is it mostly human and demons, or what other types of creatures are involved? Supernatural? Elves and stuff?

    Otherwise it seems like an interesting series.

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  2. The world is made up of humans, no elves or dwarves or anything. The demons are more of a "possession" type threat where they take human hosts. The other "creatures" in this world consists of the spirit world. Trees, animals, inanimate objects, rivers, etc. all have their own "spirits". The wizards of this world (or spiritualist as they are often called) have the ability to speak to the spirit world and influence them. Good wizards work with the spirits and often form partnerships, bad wizards use their will to control them. There are also a few other ways of working with them, Eli for example is considered a wizard, but does neither of those... he just "talks" the spirits into doing things the same way a conman would sweet talk someone into something. But that spirit interaction really gives you the fantasy creature sense as well as this worlds version of magic. (ie You don't cast a fireball if you are a wizard, but you might have a fire spirit in a charm that you have partnered with that you can unleash to attack someone) Miranda, the main wizard character also has a "ghosthound" as a mount, which is some sort of giant spirit dog... which so far seems to be somewhat unique.

    Normal humans cannot see the spirit world or interact with it really (unless they are close to death sometimes); so they see the world pretty much as we do. Only "wizards" can.

    The demons eat spirits, which is the main reason they are so dangerous. You can't fight them with a spirit, b/c they would just consume it. The third book has come a long way in explaining a lot of the demon portion of the world.

    The world itself is pretty standard fantasy fair... no guns or flintlocks; though sometimes there are strange little inventions with wizards. Or wizards could have the spirit of something powering it, like a wagon that moved itself for example (but it seems that sometimes those objects are harder to "wake up" and get to do stuff than spirits of living natural things. Mostly the setting is somewhat mid-evil with large cities and small villages; the land is made up of a unified group of kingdoms. This helps have a somewhat central government and gives the story some support as the wizards have their own council and laws that reach across the lands. And there is also a unified bounty system that Eli plays on trying to constantly get his bounty higher and higher.

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