Eli is back! After what feels like a far too long a break, Eli, Josef and Nico are back, but before they can think up a new heist Josef's bounty is raised - to more than Eli's! Eli won't let this stand but first they have to return to Josef's home in order to confront his past. Meanwhile Miranda is learning some deep secrets at Shaper Mountain, and somewhere across the seas the Immortal Empress is stirring...
I really enjoyed the slow way in which each of their pasts and motivations has been revealed over the course of this series - answering questions but also raising more. This time Josef is the focus as we discover why he wants to become the world's greatest swordsman and what drove to leave behind his family - and has called him home again. The Shepherdess is also more prominent as we learn a lot more about her and how the spirit world works. While Eli is as charming as usual there isn't as much as before for him to put his charm to good use, as this time he and his friends are not skulking in the shadows but have themselves embroiled in politics at a global scale. Some of the light-heartedness has gone in exchange for full on war with the stakes much higher than ever before.
The writing is involving and drags you along - I really couldn't stop reading at times. I loved the action and the story. I loved Miranda's principals even as I rallied against them. I finally felt she caught up with the rest of us here as to what was going on with Eli and the spirit world. Plus Gin was a great protector as ever.
This is very fast moving with many more characters than ever before - which really rounds out the world. Even the bad guys are given time to explore their motivations. There are a lot of shades of grey - which if your hero is the greatest thief in the world is expected! A truly exciting read, with so many elements adding to a breath-taking finale. And my, what an ending! Yes, it's a cliff-hanger! I want to read Spirit's End now! But I have to wait to until November...*sob*
This is fantasy with a intriguing magic system, compelling characters, fast action and an element of fun. Just what I love!
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