Sunday, January 9, 2011
The Spirit Rebellion
The Spirit Rebellion is the 2nd book in Rachel Aaron's The Legend of Eli Monpress. It follows The Spirit Thief.
In the first book of this entertaining series readers were introduced to the charming wizard/thief Eli Monpress and his two partners in crime: swordsman Josef Liechten, wielder of magical blade Heart of War and Nico, a young woman who carries a powerful malevolent demon in her slight frame. People also met dogged young Spiritualist (sort of a magical mountie) Miranda Lyonette and her loyal ghost hound; Gin. Despite following Eli and co on a mad adventure in the kingdom of Mellinor readers were left with many unanswered questions. How did Eli come to be a wizard and a thief? How did Josef come by his legendary sword? What exactly is the true nature of the demonseed that infects Nico and why is she so devoted to Josef? I was also curious about the Spirit Court (the organisation that Miranda works for) and the true nature of her relationship with Gin.
In The Spirit Rebellion some of these questions would hopefully be answered. Although his caper in Mellinor was not entirely successful Eli wasn't too concerned. He and his two companions had escaped relatively unscathed, they were still at liberty, although the renumeration had not been exactly as much as he had hoped for he had made some profit out of it and he had achieved his main goal of increasing the bounty on his head, which seems to be a matter of personal vanity for Eli as much as anything else. Nico did however require a replacement for her magical cloak which had been destroyed in Mellinor.
Things weren't looking quite as hopeful for Miranda. Her failure to capture Eli had raised some suspicions about her in the Spirit Court (very pleased that readers got a look inside this organisation) and even lead an accusation of betrayal suggesting that the acquisition of the Great Water Spirit Mellinor had been planned along with Eli all along. Knowing that her accuser; Hern, was pursuing some personal agenda Miranda and Gin went on the run and would have to clear their names without the backing of the Spirit Court.
An old acquaintance of Eli's provides a new cloak for Nico, but as payment demands a Fenzetti blade, known for their magical properties. The only Fenzetti blade that Eli knows of is in the Duchy of Gaol, whose controlling Duke has erected a thief-proof citadel. This has got trap written all over it, but Eli never refuses a challenge.
Eli and Miranda are once again on a collision course and will they be forced to work together again to save themselves and another kingdom?
One thing I neglected to mention in my review of The Spirit Thief was the novel and fun magic system that Rachel Aaron has come up with for her series. The basic premise is that everything has a spirit (fire, water, wood, etc...), but only wizards and Spiritualists can effectively communicate with the spirits. Spiritualists bind willing spirits into jewellery, typically rings, wizards don't require channels like rings, but use their powers to talk to the spirits and coerce them into helping. Eli's success is largely built on his ability to charm spirits into doing almost anything he asks. Rachel Aaron writes the spirit sequences very well and it's obvious that she has a lot of fun with them. The conversation between Eli and a rather dim witted cart wheel was, for me, a comedic highlight of The Spirit Rebellion.
At some stage all the major protagonists will face death and danger. Eli and Miranda up against the Duke and Hern. Josef and Nico square off against the giant bounty hunter Sted, retained by the Lord of Storms to take Nico's demonseed.
Things become a little darker, but the light touch is still there and this series has been a delight thus far. I'm hooked and will soon be searching The Spirit Eater for answers to the questions that The Spirit Rebellion raised.