The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron, provided to me by IJustFinished for the purpose of review, has given me yet another series I must follow. It's that good.
We're introduced to a different kind of fantasy setting. One where magic is really the control or, better, the cooperation of spirits that inhabit everything - from doors, to grains of sand, fire, water, birds, rats, etc. A good wizard convinces these spirits to work for him or her and in return the spirits get energy from the wizard's soul. A corrupt wizard enslaves spirits to do his bidding, usually resulting in the death of the spirit.
The Spirit Thief, Eli Monpress, he just asks nicely and the spirits usually agree to help him out. Sometimes he has to resort to flirting with the spirits, or gossiping with them. Eli is the best thief, and his goal is to see his own bounty reach a million gold. One way to get started towards the goal? Steal a king.
Unfortunately, Eli's plan has unforeseen consequences. A wizard sent to bring him to justice, Miranda Lyonette, eventually has to help him make right those consequences, while Eli still makes off with the gold.
This book has it all: humor, action, a great story, an interesting setting, and some great hints at things that are or might be happening just off-screen within the larger world.
Two more books are forthcoming in the series and I must have them. For now, I think this might tie with my current favorite fantasy series: The Princess Series by Jim C. Hines.
The Spirit Thief comes out September 28.