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. He’ll just steal something that no one will miss - at least for a while.
Something like a king.
©2010 Rachel Aaron (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"After a slow start, debut author Aaron pulls the action together and turns in a romp of a lighthearted fantasy starring an absolutely darling rogue." (Publishers Weekly)
This is the first book in a series and IMO, it is the weakest of the three. That said, this is a charming fantasy that introduces really entertaining and endearing characters and a really interesting system of magic. Because of that, and because I wouldn't want a first novel to turn people off of the series as a whole (which gets better and better with each book) I am still giving the story four stars for this review.
Basically everything is the world is imbued with a certain amount of 'spirit' or self-awareness and power. Most little spirits are asleep most of the time and owe a sort of allegiance to greater spirits who correspond to different elements such as Air/Winds, Earth/Mountains, Water/Rivers, Fire/Volcanoes, etc.
There are wizards who make deals to align with certain spirits to carry them around in rings on their fingers, making friendships and trading their protection for the ability to call on the spirits' powers when needed. These 'Spiritualists' also protect the spirit world and try to make sure that the spirits aren't being misused or taken advantage of.
Into this comes a Thief, Eli Monpress, who is determained to have the highest bounty ever taken placed on his head. He has a secret ability that helps him in his work that is explained during the book and is basically your charming rogue character- but he is REALLY charming and fun to listen to.
He travels with a swordsman who carries an 'awakened blade'- a self- aware sword that is unstoppable when it is in tune with its wielder. The swordsman, Johan, also has a mysterious young girl as a companion. She wears a huge magical coat and and manacles.
A young Spiritualist, Miranda Lyonette, who is talented and takes her work VERY seriously, is dispatched when the Spiritualist Court learns that Monpress has kidnapped the king of a country that doesn't even believe in magic. She rides off on her companion Ghosthound Gin (think sort of like the dragon in the Neverending Story- you totally want one, you know you do!) and they ride off to apprehend Monpress.
But things are much worse than either group bargains for and the Thief and the Spiritualist end up forming an uneasy alliance. One thing I particularly enjoyed is that the author stays away from any cliched romance and really is interested in developing each character as a person.
When you throw in things like an all-powerful demon trapped under a mountain, a mercurial Lady who seems to be the mystical protector of the world with an unhealthy interest in Eli Monpress, an eerie 'League of Storms' who have the job of hunting down smaller demon seeds which have escaped into the world, a bunch of panicked and mostly useless courtiers and a resourceful librarian- this story goes from action to farce to magic to combat and back very comfortably and I had a fun time following it.
I like heavy-duty real, gritty, violent fantasy very much. But after some George RR Martin or Joe Abercrombie, these books are really refreshing! Well written and the characters and world only get more interesting as the books go on. These are clever, and the combat scenes, while less gory than the authors I just mentioned, are well thought out and suspenseful. I've read all the books so far in the series and will be getting the others from Audible too. My 12 year old son is listening to this book now and also really enjoying it.
First thing I did after listening to this book was look for the sequel. I admit I'm not a fantasy connoisseur, as this genre is for me a bit of a guilty pleasure. But this story was quite amazing in my view. Eli is a wonderfully built character with a lot of humor, I loved Gin, the massive Ghost Hound, I loved Miranda... It all kept me gasping for air, not wanting to go to sleep and basically wishing those 8 something hours would not finish.
The narration is also very good, fluid and with a little role-play, just the way I like it. Kudos on the book!
Entertaining, Enjoyable, Enticing
When just what makes Eli special was revealed.
Luke Daniel's is why I chose this audio book. He's an exceptional narrator who brings life and nuances to a story while keeping the listener entertained. His trained voice contains such frolic and levity that its a sure bet the author's story will be well received.
The story was an interesting concept of a thief who is also a magic user, who is out to raise his bounty, nothing else. He generally seems like a nice enough guy, though there are points where is just wishy washy between good guy and callous jerk.
I enjoyed the concept and l where it looks like the story is headed. This is the first book of a trilogy, so I understand not explaining everything write a way. You want to dangle hints to make readers go deeper into the next books. However in this particular series I feel like EVERYTHING was left dangling and nothing was explained. Even about the world.
The world issues: Magic - there is spirit magic, where the mages work with the spirit of everything. Okay got it. They can't really use the human spirit and why isn't really explained in fact all you know if that they can talk to spirits, make deals with them, ask them to do stuff, or in some cases forcibly control them, and that is just plain wrong. that's it that is all you know about the magic in the world, until along comes another organization that is also mages but use a different type of magic or use spirits differently, or something. Its not really explained expect they are not huge fans of the spiritualist and the feeling is mutual.
Main character issues: He's mage, a spiritualist, But I guess was never trained as one? He's a thief, and apparently the greatest thief ever, but why he is a thief, or how he got his reputation, not really sure. He is stealing things to increase the bounty on his head, that's it. That's all he wants, but why? You can guess but its never explained. He has 3 odd companions (we'll get to their issues in a moment) but why they are together, where the loyalty between the three of them is coming from, is left completely open and it is a fairly strong loyalty.
Companion characters issues: Booth the Thief's and the main Spiritualist have companions, the thief has two. Both with VERY potent secrets of their own, which you do learn, (YAY information) some of them. But what you don't learn ANYTHING about is how these 3 ended up together, and why the bond between them is so strong, there is definitely a story there, you get hints at the very end about it, but nothing more, nothing to make you invest in any of them. The Spiritualist has a dog (ish) a very large, intelligent beast, with its own powers. A loyal companion as dogs are. except he is not a dog, and I venture to guess even more powerful then she is, yet she is his master and his loyalty complete, he will die for her and his faith in here is beyond that of servant to master. He is her companion for a reason, you can tell that and you figure out toward the end its by his choice. But what happened to her, or what is she, or what did she do for him to earn that, nothing is mentioned.
Perhaps all of these will be addressed in the next two books, but book one, which should hook you, left me with nothing to grip on the characters except questions, and I HATE series that drag you along and reveal everything at the very end, I like my information spread out or at least enough hints to make me WANT to delve in, there is nothing here to get me invested in the story besides the fact it could be a really great concept if fleshed out.
The book is fun, short, and reads like a fairy tail. Those are all good things after listening to over 100 hours of Game of Thrones books. If you have ever seen anime like Slayers, or One Piece, I would compare the book to that. They are fun, fast, with many action scenes. Which can be a huge plus, IF that is what you are looking for. This book was so different than what I usually read, I did enjoy it.
The narrator's voice is perfect for the tile character. He is also good all around.
Sci Fantasy has always been my preferred genre. This series where two firsts for me, the Author Rachel Aaron and the narrator Luke Daniels. Rachel has spun a tale with refreshing excellence. Her characters??? are a perfect fit to a entertaining story line. The added dimension that audible books bring to the listener is always a risk. I have found poor narration can ruin a good read. The depth that Luke provides to the characters, transports this series to a new level, enhancing a well written book to pure audible pleasure.
What a discovery this new to me author is! The story is fresh, the characters are totally believable and charming! Rachel Aaron's voice reminds me a lot of David Eddings but definitely with her own style. A completely charming, exciting story. I'm starting the next book right away!
In pursuit of truth, justice, and an end to spoilers!
This is a light, quick, easy read. Nothing too deep, yet nothing was missing. It's unusual to find a fantasy story that feels fully fleshed out in less than 30 hours of listening, but this one does!
There's a quirky thief and his entourage, a go-getter of a thief catcher and companion, a bounty hunter, and a royal family all tangled up in one big mess representing... two? Three? Four different sides? Wait, who's on which side? No romance at all, but magic, action, and mayhem.
The narrator did a great job juggling a bunch of very different characters. He was an excellent choice for this story!
Love to read and I am really enjoying audible. Fantasy and sci fi are my faves but I also enjoy period novels and historical fiction.
But I probably wouldn't have read all three books if it hadn't been for his performance. Story was so so and it was hard to get invested in the lead characters
This story starts out, and remains somewhat of a corny fairy tale type story. Not the usual dark paranormal reads that I prefer. It took me a while to enjoy this book, but as I listened on, the developing characters became more interesting. Kinda reminded me of some of the on-screen movies I've seen lately, that have comic book heroes and villains, where the bad guys meet their demise, but it's not too scary and you're never really worried for the main characters.
"An Original Tale of an almost Warcraft lore"
I'm big into fantasy sci-fi and I play World of Warcraft. I found this book very amusing and original. I mainly listen to audiobooks whilst I quest in WoW and its a great listen. I recommend it.
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