Sunday, 2 September 2012

Review: The Spirit War

The Spirit War
The Spirit War by Rachel Aaron

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have to say, I enjoyed the first couple of Eli Monpress books more than the second and third, because the first two were all about the caper. Three and four have become very serious, and in many ways standard, epic fantasy, filled with the clash of kingdoms, desperate magical battles and a sinister dark threat to the world.

It's well done, but it's not really what I signed up for based on the start of Book 1.

The other annoying thing, to me, is that four out of five significant characters are alienated from their parents (the fifth, Nico, doesn't know who her parents were). One or two, fine, but four (Eli, Josef, Miranda and Slorn)? It's pushing the theme too far. And there's really no counterbalancing situation where there's someone who gets on well with his or her parents, or a couple who are in love and together (not separated by tragedy and eventual death). The whole book is full of dysfunctional people, from the goddess Benehime on down. They don't just have issues, the have ISSUES, which somehow don't quite prevent them from saving the day when the crunch comes, but very nearly (and, of course, the day only needs saving because of ISSUES).

I'll definitely read the forthcoming book, which I take by the title, Spirit's End, to be the last one. I'm invested enough in the story to want to know how it ends. But I'm liking the characters less in every book.

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