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The Spirit Thief (The Legend of Eli Monpress) by Rachel Aaron
Cover Artist: Photo: Face by Veer; Castle by Shutterstock
Review by Mel Jacob
Orbit Mass Market Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780316069052
Date: 01 October 2010 List Price $7.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Rachel Aaron's new fantasy series begins with The Spirit Thief. It follows Spiritualist Miranda Lyonettete on the trail of Eli, a wily thief with the ability to talk with inanimate objects. He wants to become the thief with the highest bounty on his head. He's also a wizard of sorts.

A giant ghosthound accompanies Miranda along with various spirits who serve her. Eli travels with a master swordsman, Josef, and Nico, a child-like woman with a demonseed. Others shun Nico, fearing the demon within. Fiercely loyal, she uses the demon powers to protect Josef, but the use of her power causes strange things happen.

To enhance his fame, Eli concocts a plan to kidnap the king of Mellinor and hold him for ransom. To release the king, he asks for a good-faith payment in gold with a large sum added to the bounty being offered for him. The kidnapping goes without a hitch.

Miranda travels to Mellinor to arrest Eli, but becomes embroiled in local politics including an accusation of murder by the king's exiled brother who plans to take over the kingdom.

Most of the emotions in the novel come from Miranda and the humor from Eli. Unlike some humorous fantasies, the humor arises more from the situation and characters and isn't over the top. Some aspects represent the usual features of a fantasy with good versus evil. While the evil Renaud has no redeeming qualities, Eli and Miranda along with their allies draw the reader into their unequal struggle.

Aaron's spirit world and characters offer a fun read. Readers may look forward to two sequels, The Spirit Rebellion (October 26, 2010), The Spirit Eater (November 1, 2010), and The Spirit War (2011).

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