Review: The Legend of Eli Monpress

The Legend of Eli Monpress, Rachel AaronEli Monpress is a thief, a talented one. Who else would dare kidnap a king? It’s true he’s got the best swordsman in the world as well as a demonseed on his side, and yes, one might consider his abilities just the littlest bit magical, but that’s all details. Eli Monpress is the world’s greatest thief, and he’s on a mission to make sure his bounty matches his prestige.

Miranda Lyonette is a wizard, and she’s got a thousand better things to do than chase Eli across the kingdoms. Yet here she is, combing through backwaters and godforsaken swamps to bring the upstart to justice.

In a moment of incredibly inconvenient timing, a new foe arises — one neither Eli nor Miranda can defeat alone. Together with allies found in the least likely places, the intrepid adventurers and outlaws must become heroes.

So much fun

Rachel Aaron’s The Legend of Eli Monpress series was recommended to me by a friend, and boy howdy was it spot-on. I blitzed through The Spirit Thief, The Spirit Rebellion, and The Spirit Eater in just a few days, and the only reason I haven’t read the rest of the series is because they don’t have copies at my local library.

Monpress is interesting, of course, but the books actually focus more on his companions (Josef and Nico) and enemies (Miranda and the bad guys). They’re all great multi-faceted characters, each with their own marvelous and terrifying secrets.

The coolest thing about the series is the worldbuilding. Like in the world of Disney’s Pocahontas, everything in Monpress’ world has a life, a spirit, and a name. And I mean everything — including rocks, doors, torches, and paper. Wizards can enter into agreements with spirits, but only Monpress seems to have the ability to talk with everything.

The series is fairly bloody, and the bad guys dark, so I wouldn’t recommend it to kids under 12 or so. It’s a great series, full of adventure and scary parts and nicely-placed doses of humor. Any fantasy fan will enjoy it.

(I read this book as a part of the 2015 Monthly Motif Challenge. August’s challenge was to read a book that’s set in the future, on another planet, in another dimension, or in an unknown world.)

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