Eli Monpress is clever, he’s determined, and he’s in way over his head.
First rule of thievery: don’t be a hero. When Eli broke the rules and saved the Council Kingdoms, he thought he knew the price, but resuming his place as the Shepherdess’s favorite isn’t as simple as bowing his head. Now that she has her darling back, Benehime is setting in motion a plan that could destroy everything she was created to protect, and even Eli’s charm might not be enough to stop her. But Eli Monpress always has a plan, and with disaster rapidly approaching, he’s pulling in every favor he can think of to make it work, including the grudging help of the Spirit Court’s new Rector, Miranda Lyonette.
But with the world in panic, the demon stirring, and the Lord of Storms back on the hunt, it’s going to take more than luck and charm to pull Eli through this time. He’s going to have to break a few more rules and work with some old enemies if he’s going to survive.
In true Rachel Aaron style, this series grew more and more epic and culminated in this final volume ending with a huge bang. I think this was my favorite book of the series as you really see everything come together here.
This last volume picks up pretty much where the previous one left off. Eli has found himself in a jam and at first seems resigned but then, because he’s Eli Monpress, quickly goes about finding a way out of this situation. One thing I really loved is that even though Eli does have a very strong character arc, he’s also super consistent in his goals. We get a ton of info here about his background, explore his relationship with his parents and also the Shepherdess. Eli is the type of character who has a devil may care attitude but a lot of that is a cover for more serious things going on deeper within and those are characters that I love. I’m glad that we got to see more of what makes him tick in this final volume. Other characters shone really well here too, especially Miranda. I honestly think Miranda and Joseph wound up being my favorite characters out of this in the end. They both had really great arcs and it was nice to see Miranda finally given an opportunity to take charge and see what she did with that.
The plot in this one is very much a carry over from the previous book and also ties pretty much all the loose threads of the series together. I think Aaron did a good job at closing out these threads without making things overly complicated or bogging down the story with ‘oh, have to tell you what happened with x’. This is the sign of a tightly plotted story and I appreciated that. Yes, there is a lot going on, but it never feels like things are unrelated to one another or that these storylines aren’t working together. This also made for great pacing. I never felt like there were any lulls, the action and various storylines kept things moving right along.
Another thing that Rachel Aaron does well which I’ve come to know as I’ve read a several things by her now, is that she’s great at slowly building up an overarching plot over multiple books and letting the story get progressively epic as it goes along. When you look back at the beginning of the story after getting to the end, you can see that she started laying things down early on. But it doesn’t feel that way when you start out–you think you’re getting a fun heist story! And while you do get that, this story has so much more to it when you get into the later volumes. Each character has their own arc that ties into the world building which then ties back into characters and the decisions they make. The more I think about this series now that I’ve wrapped it up, the more I appreciate what she’s done here.
Overall, this was a great ending to a series that I very much enjoyed. Aaron’s done it again, proving why she’s become one of my favorite writers over the last few years. I’ll definitely be reading more of her work in the future. 5/5 stars.