Nutshell: Eli Monpress is looking for his next big score, and checking on his slowly burgeoning bounty, when he gets a shock. The most ordinary member of his crew is now the most wanted. The island nation, Osera, is offering the entire worth of their country for Josef. What’s more, Josef is turning himself in.
Meanwhile, Miranda Lyonette is finally getting some answers from the shapers. Answers that point to a dark conspiracy surrounding the very nature of reality. If only people would stop having their regular old wars, she could get some serious progress made on saving the world.
Nutshell: Eli Monpress is the world’s greatest thief, and today he has stolen a king. It might be the king of the smallest country in the Council of Thrones, but it’s still the most important person in the country. He and his companions — a swordsman with the greatest magical sword ever and a scrawny shadow child — have big plans for the king. Big plans.
Miranda Lyonette is a wizard from the Spirit Court. Her job is to rein in rogue wizards, such as Eli Monpress. She seems to have arrived in the middle of a bit of a crisis, however.
Add to the mix the King’s long-since-banished brother, and a wizard of the most despicable kind. He wasn’t expecting his brother to be stolen, but you can bet he’ll make the most of it.
Rachel Aaron sets up her characters like a chemist, and then ever so carefully and precisely spills them all together and lets them blow each other up.
Nutshell: Kote is just a quiet innkeeper. That’s all. His apprentice is just a young man from the village. That’s all. The village is a quiet, ordinary village where nothing happens. Ever.
The village is not being attacked by mysterious spidery creatures that the priest calls demons and Kote calls something else. The apprentice does not have goat’s legs and eyes with no whites. The innkeeper is not the famous Kvothe, called Kingslayer and a hundred other things in a hundred and more tales. He does not have a cloak of no particular color, or a thrice-locked chest of unburning wood.
He does not know the name of the wind.
Of course not.
But he will tell you a story.
Read-alikes: This is both very like almost all epic fantasy, and very unlike.