Kio's Reviews > The Legend of Eli Monpress

The Legend of Eli Monpress by Rachel Aaron
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Mar 22, 12

bookshelves: recommended-by-friend, read-in-english
Read from March 15 to 21, 2012

"What happened?"
Eli shrugged. "The usual. You went down, Nico went crazy, I got us out."

Ironically, this passage from the books describes one of it's biggest flaws, but before we get into that...
The Legend of Eli Monpress is a volume of three books in which we are invited to explore a high fantasy world while following the adventures of master thief Eli and a spiritualist (wizard) called Miranda. Aaron creates a detailed and interesting world--and it does show that she's put the time and effort in to create depth--to serve as the backdrop while building up an earnest attempt at epic conflict.

On the whole I'd say it's quite good, but it's marred by a few issues such that this is a bit like saying someone is beautiful/handsome, except for the hideous scar that disfigures their face. Mainly, the plots are very formulaic. Book 1 is good, book 2 is practically a mirror image of book 1, and #3, while fortunately a bit different, is still too timid to try sticking its toes in another part of lake. Even the first book is rather predictable once it gets rolling.

The characters, while interesting and entertaining, seem to lack enough dimensionality to keep them so over 3 novels. And there's basically no character development for the majority of them, which certainly only contributes to this problem and keeping things predictable. The net effect is that it can drag on a bit tediously at parts, particularly after the first novel; you know what's going to happen, you know how the conversation/argument will end, you're just waiting for the book to get there already. That said, the author does not excessively draw out her prose like, say, Tolkien does, so tedium, at least, never more than a minor problem.

Fortunately the final title's conclusion sets things up to be a bit different for her next novel. Unfortunately, by having two opposed protagonists, if Aaron's going to keep their stories intertwined, she's probably painted herself into a bit of a corner.

On the whole I would recommend this title to fantasy readers, just don't go in expecting something on the level of Brust or Rothfuss, et al. A quick google and look at her website suggests that this is Aaron's first foray into the formally published world; these books really aren't a bad start to a career. With any luck, we'll see more variation and refinement from her works in the future.

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message 1: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Thank you for introducing me to Rothfuss

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