***Warning: SPOILERS for previous books in this series!***
At the end of The Spirit War, the only thing that stood between the tiny island kingdom of Osera and total annihilation was Eli Monpress. To save his friends, Eli did the one thing he swore he’d never do: ask the Shepherdess for help. Now Eli is forced to live in the Shepherdess’ isolated realm and submit to her marks of favor while the world around him falls apart. Someone is stealing stars, the world’s strongest spirits, which is throwing the lesser spirits into a panic. Miranda is trapped in a power struggle with the Spirit Court, Josef is taking up the reins of kingship, and Nico is still fighting against the demon inside her. But this scattered group of allies must band together to face their biggest challenge yet, which just might be the end of the world.
As the convoluted summary should make clear, this is definitely not a stand-alone novel! Rather, this book is the conclusion to the Eli Monpress quintet, and it finally resolves the overarching plot elements of the series. It was nice to get some answers to the big questions raised in previous books about who is really running the universe and what the powers of Eli’s world are up against. That said, I was a little disappointed in this book; it felt bloated and unfocused, and it spent too much time on action sequences rather than character development. I absolutely loved the first three books in this series, and I think it’s because they were very tightly focused and had a clearly defined world. In the last two books, the story became a bit too epic, if that makes sense. The uniqueness of Eli and his world were sacrificed to the tired fantasy trope of a huge good-vs.-evil battle. Overall, I’m glad I read this book because it concluded the series, but I wish Aaron had taken things in a different direction.