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Review: The Spirit War by Rachel Aaron

Friday, July 06, 2012

The Spirit War (The Legend of Eli Monpress, #4)The Spirit War by Rachel Aaron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really like this series. It's more action than anything else, generally light and an easy read, but with touches of thoughtfulness that add enough depth to keep it interesting. And I like the way pieces of the big picture keep being gradually revealed, it definitely has kept me very curious while each individual book has had its own interesting story as well.

This one had a good twist with Josef's past. I liked how he responded to his mom and the situation on the island. And I really felt for poor Nico, finding out about the wife was rough, even though they had never even met; she's so young and naive in many ways. 

And yet, for a really long book there wasn't a lot of character development, again. It's mostly action, and filling in pieces of the puzzle. There also wasn't a lot a lot of Eli and his mischief in this one. And poor Miranda is always the last to know, about a lot of things. I'm kind of tired of her always being a dupe, I'd like to see her take control of something. I still love Gin, of course, minor character though he is; how could I resist what's essentially a giant talking mystical greyhound?

The moral questions were interesting though. When the enemy is legitimately terrifying and doesn't respect anyone's rights, is it OK to use similar tactics? It was good use of fantasy to explore real world issues through what really is otherwise just a fun story. Is there room for idealists in wartime? Are there moral lines that just shouldn't be crossed, even of it means losing? It's nice in a book when good triumphs over evil and the point gets made that morals need to be upheld and that there's always a better way to do things, but what if there isn't? What if upholding your morals actually meant losing to the monsters? Not just dying but getting enslaved or seeing the ones you love tortured? Are there really lines that shouldn't be crossed? Anyway, in the book there were the constant tensions between Spiritualists Miranda and Banage on the one side and Sara and the Council of Wizards on the other and how they think it's appropriate to use spirits. There was also Slorn vs. the Mountain and the issue of demonseeds when it comes to research and containment vs. destruction. They were interesting questions that could be interpreted to apply to issues in our world.

I really like how fully developed the world and the system of magic were. There's so much depth to the story at this point, it's quite fascinating. It has the ring of mythology with the stories of the gods and stars that are being revealed and yet there's a feeling of realism that's really interesting. I'm really looking forward to seeing how the series wraps up in Spirit's End in November 2012 and finding out what's really on the other side of the sky and how all plays out.

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