The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron


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 for now. He'll just steal something that no one will miss - at least for a while. Like a king.

Once in a while you happen along a particular book that just has it all: great characters, enjoyable storyline, good storytelling and above all, enough well placed humour that puts a smile on your face while you're reading. Rachel Aaron's The Spirit Thief is one such book.

I was looking for a book with thieves/rogues as the main character and I stumbled upon The Legend of Eli Monpress. My first impression was that the description of Eli was possibly a bit overdone, as he was portrayed as the greatest thief of his time AND also a wizard. However, early on in the story it becomes apparent that Eli does not indulge in boasting about his powers, yes, he is sometimes smug, but that is just his character. Above all he is a thief though, and his character clearly illustrates this with his dialogue, and his interactions with the other characters being devious, sly and humorous.

From the very first paragraph I was hooked, Aaron's wizards are a wonderful creation. The magic in The Spirit Thief is achieved by communicating with spirits, and each part of the world has a different spirit within itself. It is his talent for spirit communication that sets Eli above and apart from all the other wizards - he is somewhat special in this regard.

Eli is accompanied by two different characters, a swordsman Josef and a demonseed, Nico. These characters each have their different personalities and their interactions with Eli and among each other make for the most humorous of dialogue. Josef is pretty direct and does not need all the details that Eli finds important to complete his goals. Nico, however, remains more in the background, her history and intentions as yet unrevealed.

I have read many books recently that focus more on the darker aspect in fantasy, so The Spirit Thief was a nice change of scenery. The Spirit Thief does has its “dark” moments, where there are battles between swordsman and magicians, but there was none of the gruesome/gore scenes. Instead, the use of spirit magic makes for a lighter tale that I found extremely enjoyable. The Spirit Thief's storyline feels natural and not at all forced, the dialogue and action scenes move along nicely, and Aaron throws in the unexpected that makes things that little bit more exciting. The Spirit Thief is a great opening to a new series, the character are well thought through and their backgrounds interesting. If Aaron keeps this standard up in the books that follow then the series will be sure-fire winner!

Review by

3 positive reader review(s) for The Spirit Thief

Our interview with Rachel Aaron

Rachel Aaron is the fantasy author behind the Legend of Eli Monpress, a series that has been read and thoroughly enjoyed by Fantasy Book Reviewer Jasper de Joode. Jasper caught up with Rachel in April 2012 and asked her some [...]

Read interview


All reviews for Rachel Aaron's The Legend of Eli Monpress series

The Spirit Thief

by Rachel Aaron

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 [...]

Series: The Legend of Eli Monpress: Book 1
Published: 2010

Score: 93

Our rating: 9.0 | positive reader reviews


The Spirit Rebellion

by Rachel Aaron

Eli Monpress is brilliant. He's incorrigible. And he's a thief. He's also still at large, which drives Miranda Lyonette crazy. While she's been kicked out o [...]

Series: The Legend of Eli Monpress: Book 2
Published: 2010

Score: 93

Our rating: 9.2 | positive reader reviews


The Spirit Eater

by Rachel Aaron

With the pressure on after his success in Gaol, Eli Monpress, professional thief and degenerate, decides it's time to lie low for a bit. Taking up residence in a tiny s [...]

Series: The Legend of Eli Monpress: Book 3
Published: 2010

Score: 95

Our rating: 9.5 | positive reader reviews


More Rachel Aaron reviews

Nice Dragons Finish Last

by Rachel Aaron

As the smallest dragon in the Heartstriker clan, Julius survives by a simple code: keep quiet, don’t cause trouble, and stay out of the way of bigger dragons. But thi [...]

Series: Heartstrikers: Book 1
Published: 2014

Score: 69

Our rating: 6.9 | 0 positive reader reviews


The Spirit Thief reader reviews

from Australia

So easy and fun to read read all the series in 2 weeks. Utterly brillant.

from Sydney

What david said ^^^^^^^^

from Los Angeles

I'm sick and should be in bed so this will be short. This is a very fun, clever, and creative book. There is plenty of action. A great deal of wit. It differs from a lot of modern fare in that it delivers plenty of action and tension without the grotesque or hyper-violence common in other books. The tone then is very different, very fun, and many of the characters are very likeable. Highly recommended to fans of fantasy and magic. (perhaps more later---I need to lie down).

9.8/10 from 4 reviews

Write a reader review

Your rating out of 10

Books you may also enjoy

King of Assassins

by RJ Barker

THE KING IS DEAD, LONG LIVE THE KING . . .Many years of peace have passed in Maniyadoc, years of relative calm for the assassin Girton Club-Foot. Even the Forge [...]

Series: The Wounded Kingdom #3
Published: 2018

Score: 97

Our rating: 9.7 | 0 positive reader reviews


Red Sister

by Mark Lawrence

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. [...]

Series: Book of the Ancestor #1
Published: 2017

Score: 98

Our rating: 9.5 | 3 positive reader reviews



by Jay Kristoff

The epic conclusion of the internationally bestselling Nevernight Chronicle from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.The greate [...]

Series: The Nevernight Chronicle #3
Published: 2019

Score: 90

Our rating: 9.2 | 0 positive reader reviews


The Shadow Saint

by Gareth Hanrahan

Thieves, dangerous magic, and a weapon built with the power to destroy a god clash in this second novel of Gareth Hanrahan's acclaimed epic fantasy series, The Black Ir [...]

Series: The Black Iron Legacy #2
Published: 2020

Score: 0

Our rating: 8.7 | 0 positive reader reviews