Eli Monpress, the self-proclaimed greatest thief in the world, is ecstatic that his bounty has been raised again; but he is shocked when he discovers that his friend and hired sword, Josef Liechten, has just surpassed him. Josef's bounty turns out to be a summons from the queen of Osera, who just happens to be Josef's mother. Astounded that their friend is technically a prince, Eli and Nico accompnay Josef to Osera to discover what the queen wants. However, they soon find themselves embroiled in a tense political situation. The Immortal Empress, who rules a vast empire not far from Osera, is planning a large-scale invasion, and Osera is pitifully underdefended. Meanwhile, the Spirit Court is refusing to fight in the impending war; Miranda is imprisoned in the Shaper mountain and not at all comfortable with the truths she is learning; and Eli is facing a crucial test that pits his will against the powers that run the universe.
I do love this fast-paced fantasy series, and The Spirit War is no exception. I like that this book focuses a little bit more on Josef and his background, although all the major players still have several chapters devoted to them. In fact, one of the down sides to this book is that there's almost too much going on: the plot jumps around so often that it's hard to keep everything straight. Since it's been months since I read the previous books in the series, I didn't even remember who some of the characters were! I definitely think this is a series that should be read all at once so that no details are missed. That said, I think this book does an excellent job of revealing the major mysteries of the series bit by bit. It also sets up the final book nicely; I think I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I'm definitely looking forward to reading book #5 when it comes out in November!