Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Spirit Rebellion by Rachel Aaron (reviewed by Mihir Wanchoo)

Official Author Website
Read An Excerpt HERE
Order “The Spirit RebellionHERE
Read FBC Review of "The Spirit Thief"

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Rachel Aaron lives in Athens, Georgia with her family. She has graduated from University of Georgia with a B.A. in English Literature. She has been an avid reader since her childhood and now has an ever-growing collection to show for it. She loves gaming, Manga comics & reality TV police shows. She also blogs on a semi-regular basis on the Magic Districts website along with a host of other authors.

CLASSIFICATION: The Spirit Rebellion is a classical fantasy novel set in a medieval world; the book is similar to its predecessor and invokes tales popularized by Terry Brooks and David Eddings.

FORMAT/INFO: The Spirit Rebellion is 441 pages long divided over twenty-four numbered chapters. Narration is in the third person via many different characters such as Eli Monpress, Miranda Lyonette, Nico, Josef Liechten, Slorn & Duke Edward. The Spirit Rebellion is the second volume in a series of five books. November 1, 2010 marked the mass market and e-book publication via Orbit Books.

ANALYSIS: Rachel Aaron’s debut book “The Spirit Thief” won me over with its simplistic story and energetic pace. I was psyched to read “The Spirit Rebellion” and the rest of the series after reading the first novel. I did get my hands on the next book and I dove in anticipating another round of fun and further unveiling of the world of Eli Monpress.

The story begins with a prologue which is set many years into the past. It introduces readers to a small boy who is rebelling against the nature of his teachings and eventually runs away from his teacher. Also involved in the prologue is a very important character to the first book and who meets the boy. This meeting between the two figures is critical to the series and die-hard followers of the series will be able to figure out the identity of the boy.

Following the prologue readers are quickly brought into the current world just a few days after the events of “The Spirit Thief". Miranda is on her way back to the Spiritualist headquarters where her appearance is greeted rather rudely by the others. Miranda is also quickly presented with a choice that goes against her very nature.

On the other hand Eli and gang find themselves seeking company of an eccentric sort who can help them with Nico’s coat. Slorn is another intriguing character and is the person whom Eli turns to, for his remedies. They strike a deal to help each other out as Slorn wants a rather peculiar blade and Eli wants a new coat for Nico. The main plot kicks in with the introduction of Duke Edwards who’s the ruler of Gaol. He has a plan to catch to Moonpress and of course Eli can’t resist a trap which is specifically designed for him. Trouble begins when Eli, Josef and Nico arrive in Gaol and on another track Miranda also makes her way to the same place but for a different reason.

This book is similar to its predecessor in its style, content and prose. However, there are some major changes that weren't present in the first book. First, there is a slight shift of focus of the story from Eli to Miranda. Second is the ability to get readers to know and understand the characters in the story. Nico is another character whom we get to know about a bit more as in the first book we got to know her abilities and in this book the reader gets a proper understanding of her background and the future she faces. The third is that readers get to see a background of the world that the novel takes place in. We learn more about the League of Storms and why they are so worried about demons and demon seeds.

Rachel Aaron has quintessentially channeled Terry Pratchett in her world, by making things as quirky as possible. This was a massive plus point for me as I was constantly looking forward to reading about the nature of the spirit world. The writing is just as smooth as the first book. What was particularly exciting to see was how she showed that while the characters face similar challenges from the previous volume, they are indeed mortal and their opponents are more dangerous than they were thought to be.

Negative points are negligible in the sense that these books are light classical fantasy books which utilize obvious tropes and don’t do anything new in terms of genre development. People who are expecting these books to announce the new face of fantasy will be disappointed. These books are meant to be light reads which will grab the reader's attention and have them asking for more of Eli, Nico and Gin.

Ultimately, I was as pleased with “The Spirit Rebellion” as I was with “The Spirit Thief". The back-to-back release schedule also helps a lot as the wait is reduced considerably and one gets to plunge merrily in this wonderful adventure. Overall, this was a rather excellent sequel and a very good book, setting up the third book rather nicely as Eli’s bounty looks all set to increase. Readers can expect one thing from the author: she will knock your socks off with her wild and exhilarating stories.

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