Book Review: The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron


tst-coverEli 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.



This book was pretty fun. I’m a sucker for a lovable rogue and this book has it in spades.  At its heart, The Spirit Thief is an adventurous novel featuring a heist (or two). Eli is, after all (as he’s fond of reminding folks), a thief.

It was a quick book, but I do feel like the pacing could have been a bit better in places. There were scenes we spent with the villain and I have to say I’d have much preferred to have spent that time with Eli. Thinking about it, I wish we’d gotten to spend more time with Eli and his gang all around. I liked the character of Miranda as well, but I think it took a while for us to get back to Eli and his friends from the beginning of the book to somewhere near the middle.

Characters are really one of Aaron’s best strengths, but I do think her protagonists seem to be much more nuanced than her antagonists. I’ve read a few of her books now and I think her antagonists can get a bit mustache twirly at times, and to be honest that’s perfectly fine in some cases, especially in a kind of adventure story like this one. In this you have a villain totally motivated by greed and the thirst for power–as many villains tend to be. If you need your bad guys to have a little more depth to them you may be a tad disappointed here.

On the flip side, I think my favorite thing about this book is Eli’s character. On the surface it looks like he has a huge ego, and maybe he does, because he wants to have a huge bounty on his head for some reason. Is this because he wants more fame and to be recognized as the greatest thief ever? Or is it something else that’s driving this desire? He steals things, so you’d think ‘oh, obviously he’s not a good guy’ but then he’s out there charming spirits everywhere and the spirits are happy to do him favors because they like him and because he’s nice to them. That’s right, his greatest power seems to be his niceness. I love it. I just all around love how she’s written him as a charming thief. I also love his interactions with Miranda, how he challenges her on how the Spirit Court deals with spirits and shows her other possibilities. Miranda was an interesting character too and I can see the potential for both of them to have great character arcs.

The plot was ok, save the king and kingdom from a Big Bad–fairly standard. I did enjoy any and all heisting although I wish it had been a larger part of the overall plot.

I really did enjoy this one, but I feel like it had the potential to be even better, especially having read a bunch of Aaron’s work and seeing what she’s capable of. Still, and considering this was her debut, it was a good start to the series and I’ll definitely be continuing on. 3.5 stars.

7 thoughts on “Book Review: The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron

  1. Lisa (@TenaciousReader) says:

    I didn’t love this one as much as I would have expected from recommendations. I actually didn’t have a desire to keep reading the series. Glad this worked a bit better for you than it did for me (even if it didn’t quite live up to expectations)

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