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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Spirit's End by Rachel Aaron (Reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Official Author Website 
Read an Excerpt HERE 
Order “Spirit’s EndHERE 
Read FBC's Review of "The Spirit Thief
Read FBC's Review of “The Spirit Rebellion” 
Read FBC's Review of “The Spirit Eater” & “Spirit’s Oath” 
Read FBC’s Review of “The Spirit War” 
Read FBC’s Interview with Rachel Aaron

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Rachel Aaron lives in Athens, Georgia with her family. She has graduated from University of Georgia with a B.A. in English Literature. She has been an avid reader since her childhood and now has an ever-growing collection to show for it. She loves gaming, Manga comics & reality TV police shows. She also blogs occasionally on the Magic Districts website along with a host of other authors.

OFFICIAL BLURB: Eli Monpress is clever, he's determined, and he's in way over his head. 

First rule of thievery: don't be a hero! When Eli broke the rules and saved the Council Kingdoms, he thought he knew the price, but resuming his place as the Shepherdess's favorite isn't as simple as bowing his head. Now that she has her darling back, Benehime is setting in motion a plan that could destroy everything she was created to protect, and even Eli's charm might not be enough to stop her. But Eli Monpress always has a plan, and with disaster rapidly approaching, he's pulling in every favor he can think of to make it work, including the grudging help of the Spirit Court's new Rector, Miranda Lyonette.

But with the world in panic, the demon stirring, and the Lord of Storms back on the hunt, it's going to take more than luck and charm to pull Eli through this time. He's going to have to break a few more rules and work with some old enemies if he's going to survive. 

CLASSIFICATION: The Legend of Eli Monpress is a classical fantasy series set in a medieval world of sorts; the style and settings of the story invoke tales popularized by Terry Brooks and Scott Lynch with a huge slice of Terry Pratchett.

FORMAT/INFO: Spirit’s End is 560 pages long divided over twenty-five numbered chapters with a prologue and epilogue. Narration is in the third person via many different characters such as Eli Monpress, Miranda Lyonette, Nico, Josef Liechten, Sparrow, Benehime the Shepherdess, the Lord of Storms, Alric, Sara, Etmon Banage and a few other minor characters as well.

November 20, 2012 marked the Trade paperback and e-book publication of Spirit’s End via Orbit Books.

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: I’ve been waiting to read this book since Rachel first wowed me with her debut back in 2010. The Spirit Thief was a lighthearted caper that cajoled the readers as much as Eli did the spirits of his world. The story introduced a thief who wanted to reach a specific bounty. Over the course of the next three books, the author revealed her plan and the direction of the storyline while deepening the world and enriching the character cast. Since this is the fifth and last book in the Eli Monpress saga, it goes without saying that the review will contain spoilers for the previous books so beware those who haven’t read up to the 4th book.

Rachel Aaron's very entertaining saga comes to an end with this huge tome, compared to the first three, the last two books were much larger as they had to deal with events that were consequential to the character actions in the previous volumes. That's the theme of this book "ALL ACTIONS HAVE CONSEQUENCES"; each and every character is bound to it. Be it with Eli and his thievery, Nico with her demon, Josef with his kingship, Miranda with her spiritualist oaths or the Shepherdess with whatever she has been supposed to do. This volume has every character dealing with the consequences of their previous actions. The character cast is at its widest however once again the author shows her deft grasp of the story by not making the plot run off course. The plot has so many threads however all of them nicely coalesce to give the readers an action-packed, world-shattering climax.

The main story deals with Eli and Benehime, the latter’s fascination with the former has been a strong point for the story however in this book we learn more about what truly does Benehime want. The readers will definitely be surprised as I was as with the stark revelation of her true nature and plans.Miranda has problems of her own with the spiritualist court. Josef and Nico are finding more about the limits of their powers and weapons. There are many more characters about whom the story deals with as well. The gist of this story is about the secrets of this world primarily who/what are the Shepherdess and the other powers? What/where is the world? What lies beyond the veil? All these secrets are the crux of the series and previously in her interview, Rachel has said this about them:

"The Shepherdess and the “what is going on with this world” questions are the big plot of the series, and the closer we get to the end, the bigger these problems get. They play a big roll in book 4 and book 5 pretty much is nothing but dealing with these problems because things are really going to hell."

The story effectively dwells on these very plot points and then proceeds to resolve them in a very big "Michael Bay" way.

With the previous volumes, each book dwelled on a single character to fill in their background details, for this book we don’t get a specific character but the world itself. Many mysteries, which have been beguiling the readers, are revealed to the fullest extent. This was what I liked so much about the book, the book has such a tight plot that it does everything and then some. The story, plot pace and characterization is top notch with this one, the story has many things going for it and with this being the last book, the author manages to tie in everything in to the story and so full marks to her for making the ending a thoroughly satisfying one.

Now onto the points that didn't get me all so warm, namely Benehime’s characterization. I wouldn't be remiss if I said that her reasons while showcased are a bit flimsy. Ultimately I realize that there had to be a villain for the story and she was the one, however I'm not entirely convinced for her reasons to do what she has done so far and does in this book. Another point that might not go down smoothly with readers is the issue of character deaths, obviously I can’t talk much without spoiling the plot and so I would wait to see what the readers think about it. I think with the series being the way it is, the ending is somewhat predictable but the way the author makes the story reach its final destination, it just feels right. Dealing with massive revelations about the world and its backstory, Rachel Aaron does manage to give us a fitting end to the saga. Be ready to have your mind blown with the ingenuity of the characters alongwith the author’s plotting skills as things bear fruit, which have been laid to root since the first book

CONCLUSION: Spirit’s End brings an end to a wildly entertaining and action-filled series that has charmed and beguiled its fans to the fullest extent. Rachel Aaron is an author who has shown her flair for writing entertaining stories with good characterization. The Legend of Eli Monpress is a debut series that will be remembered as one that offers wholesome entertainment and also one that mixes comedy, fantasy & SF in a smart mixture to give the readers a really entertaining read.


Paul Weimer said...

Yet another series I need to read...


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