The Spirit Thief (Book 1)
By: Rachel Aaron

Quick-take: Tropes, but enjoyable.

Dan's Review

Eli Monpress is a thief and a wizard. He is an incredibly talented wizard, and from that, he makes an excellent thief. The book starts with him breaking out of jail in a way that only Eli could do. Afterwards, he meets up with the rest of his clan and the adventure continues.

Shortly after his jail break, Miranda the Spiritualist (basically, a "good" wizard), appears to offer her help in recapturing Eli. In the process of doing so, she ends up teaming with Eli to apprehend an even worse wizard. Epic battles ensue.

This book is full of tropes, but I don't really mind. I enjoyed this book. Eli is charming, which I understand is the main point. He is the carefree prodigy. Miranda is basically a Hermoine... strong morals, deep knowledge, but pragmatic. However, unlike Harry, Eli actually has the knowledge too. He isn't just reacting and getting lucky through brute-force innate ability (my main complaint of the Harry Potter books).

This book is one of Rachel Aaron's earlier works, but I can see her style in full display from my reading of Heartstrikers. She created a rather tight magic system, and the story is very efficient. Very little is discussed that isn't used later. I appreciate efficient storytelling.

Unlike Julius from Heartstrikers (has powers, but succeeds mostly by wits), I think Eli may be a bit too strong. The book hints along the way by Eli displaying next-level wizardry. However, towards the end as the boss fights enter phase 1, 2, and 3... instead of jaw-dropping ability, Eli seems to be approaching god-like. There are hints of why this is.

Score 4/5. I plan to continue with the next book. I enjoyed book 1, and I am partial to completed series.

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