Book Review: Relic

Book Review: RelicRelic by Heather Terrell
Series: Books of Eva #1
Published by Soho Teen on October 29th 2013
Pages: 288
Buy on Amazon

The truth will test you...

For fans of Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games: high fantasy and dystopia meet in this high-stakes tale of a civilization built on lies and the girl who single-handedly brings it down.

When Eva’s twin brother, Eamon, falls to his death just a few months before he is due to participate in The Testing, no one expects Eva to take his place. She’s a Maiden, slated for embroidery classes, curtseys, and soon a prestigious marriage befitting the daughter of an Aerie ruler. But Eva insists on honoring her brother by becoming a Testor. After all, she wouldn’t be the first Maiden to Test, just the first in 150 years.

Eva knows the Testing is no dance class. Gallant Testors train for their entire lives to search icy wastelands for Relics: artifacts of the corrupt civilization that existed before The Healing drowned the world. Out in the Boundary Lands, Eva must rely on every moment of the lightning-quick training she received from Lukas—her servant, a Boundary native, and her closest friend now that Eamon is gone.

But there are threats in The Testing beyond what Lukas could have prepared her for. And no one could have imagined the danger Eva unleashes when she discovers a Relic that shakes the Aerie to its core.

Sometime in the future, the world as we know it, our customs, our beliefs have been lost. All that remains is the New North. A society of survivors left over from the remains of our society. A group of people who have tried to learn from the past's mistakes. A society who strives not to make the same mistakes again.

Billed as for fans of Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games, I instantly had high hopes for Relic. Did it deliver on being anything like either? Um… no. So, before we go any further, let's put one thing to rest. If you are looking for this tale to be anything like Game of Thrones, or even The Hunger Games, you might want to rethink why you want to read Relic. If it is just because you want another book similar to Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games, you may want to look elsewhere.

From the beginning, Relic had me captivated. The world that Eva introduces was nowhere close to what I was thinking I would be seeing. A cold, unforgiving landscape. People that have a gross misunderstanding of the previous society's world, which was weird and really interesting at the same time. For example, these people for some reason believe that Apple (yes, the giant tech company) was the previous society's God. Fascinating! While part of me was really confused by the ideas this society had of the previous society and its workings, the other part of me was really interested in trying to understand how these people came to have their understanding of the previous society's day to day objects, for which they sometimes had no context for. Basic items like pain killers, which actually could have been beneficial to this society, had been dismissed as evil. But I wasn't sure why. And that was one of the biggest problems that I had with Relic.

Relic poses some really interesting questions. Such as, how would future societies view our society with little to no understanding of it? Would they, like Eva's society, view everything as basically evil? It is a possibility, and I liked that idea in Relic. My problem was that I never did understand how they came to the conclusions they had. Apple, a God? Ok, I will buy into that idea for a moment…but why? What it is about these products that lead to this conclusion? Relic never says. In Apple's case, only passing mentions about people gazing into its screen. But how did they know they did that? I am sure that there was some other relic that may have told / shown them this, but it is never mentioned. Small missing details like these, which could have solidified the understanding of this society, as well as, add to the world-buliding were strangely missing. Leaving me to guess at why they had the ideas and beliefs that they did.

The Testing

If Relic is anything like The Hunger Games, it is because of the Testing competition. But even comparing those two seems like a bit of a stretch. All they really have in common was the survival of the fittest type situation, where the main character must depend on herself against the elements and defend herself from the other competitors. Unlike The Hunger Games, Relic's Testing never truly felt life or death to me. It was was engaging. Interesting. And by far, my favorite part of Relic. However, it was hard to take Eva seriously. In a matter of weeks, she is transformed from a Maiden to a warrior / survivalist, but none of that training is really revealed. It is discussed / mentioned here and there, but the opportunity to really see Eva transform was missed. Leading her character to overall feel flat and even one dimensional at times. In way, Eva did have growth, but like other aspects of Relic, it was either brushed over or not explored enough to really make a difference.

Final Verdict:

I adored Relic. I really, really did. So much so, that it was impossible for me to put down. I kept telling myself, 'you have to work in the morning… go to bed.' In which my head constantly came back with, 'just one more chapter!' All the way, until I finished it some hours later.

Are there issues with Relic? Yes.

Were they bad enough to the point that I ever considered quitting the book because of them? Absolutely not.

Relic really was a rare treat for me. I loved the concept. I loved the characters. I loved the reveal / twist. It was just that some elements needed to be tighter or more explored. I am hoping that with the next installment I will get more of that.


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