The Spirit Rebellion picks up shortly after the end of The Spirit Thief with Miranda returning to the Spirit Court having let Monpress go in exchange for his help and Eli and his friends looking for a replacement cloak for Nico, the demon seed. This is a more than satisfying second course from Rachel Aaron. We learn more about Eli's past as well as hints about the demon seed maturing in Nico. In addition there is some element of the politics Miranda has to deal with. I love her constant ethical dilemma between obeying the Spirit Court and doing what is best for her own spirits - even if she was feeling a little sorry for herself at one point. Luckily her spirit-hound is able to keep her from wallowing too much.
My favourite thing about this series are the conversations between characters - they banter, they complain and there is little exposition so it is through actions that you discover what is happening. The magic system of this world is fantastically original to me with everything having its own spirit - doors, roofs, wheels, wind, fire and even roads with wizards being people who can hear what these spirits have to say and able to persuade them to do certain things. This means that at times it's the `inanimate' objects that the characters are fighting against.
The writing is easy to slip into and you go through pages like a shark through the water - smoothly and devouring. Eli is a charming anti-hero with his swordsman playing more a straight hero role - at least as far as Nico is concerned. My one regret about The Spirit Rebellion is that Miranda and Eli didn't get to spend much time together - I would have a loved a lot more flirting and to see them rub each other up the wrong way! Now I've had my starter and fish course - I'm hoping for a strong third course (and a meal with plenty more courses to come!).
In this volume, as in the first, we have two intertwining stories, that of Eli and his troupe and that of the Spiritualist Miranda. There's a little more insight into Eli's character history and more detail on what's going on with Nico, and on the whole I find that it builds upon The Spirit Thief very well, but that it can also be read as a stand alone novel, as the story recaps the first within its pages, something not easily done so well as I find it to be done here. The whole series is well worth a read, or I hope it is at least... two down, three to go!
I would recommend this book to anybody that loves fantasy, I could not put this book down. Rachel Aaron is easy to read with a subtle wit and great charm, her characters come to life from the pages so easily and her storyline follows so well you will want the next book immediately.