About the Book:
Author: Bronwyn Eley
Series: The Relic Trilogy #1
Publication Date: Sept. 7, 2019
Synopsis: As the personal servant of the powerful Lord Rennard, the Shadow’s life is all but forfeit. Rennard possesses one of five rare and dangerous Relics – a jewel that protects his bloodline, but slowly poisons everyone else in its proximity. When the current Shadow succumbs to its magic, nineteen-year-old blacksmith Kaylan is summoned to take his place.
It’s an appointment that will kill her.
As the time Kaylan has left ebbs away, hope begins to fade… That is, until she discovers a plot to destroy all five bloodlines in possession of the Relics.
A rebel force plans to put an end to Rennard’s rule and Kaylan suddenly finds herself embroiled in a cause that might just be worth fighting for. But no cause is without its costs…
As her life hangs in the balance and rebellion bears down on Edriast, Kaylan must decide where her loyalties lie – and how she’ll leave her mark on the world.
Relic is a YA fantasy with an interesting premise and protagonist. A magical stone called the Relic is worn by Lord Rennard. Though it protects his bloodline, it slowly kills everyone around him. When Kaylan is chosen to become the Shadow of the Lord, she is taken from her family to serve the mysterious Lord Rennard, and her life is irrevocably changed. Kaylan knows being so close to Lord Rennard will result in her death, and nefarious rebellions, as well as the ire of her master, could prove just as deadly as the relic.
Kaylan is a well-rounded, dynamic character who goes through so many trials and tribulations. Kaylan is not an entirely reliable narrator, and I often questioned her decisions and reactions to her actions. That being said, I feel like the Relic has a lot to do with her complex and sometimes contradictory decisions. Kaylan’s life drastically changes when she is chosen to be The Shadow, and you definitely feel for this teen who has little choice and less hope. I also like that the story is told in the first person because you get the thoughts and feelings of Kaylan, which adds such depth to her character.
I did feel that the pacing was slow at the beginning, and I found it difficult to become fully immersed in the story, but when I was about twenty-five percent through the story, it definitely picked up the pace. I also wish some of the magical elements and world-building were developed a bit more, especially regarding the Relic. However, the characters are well-developed and interesting, and the messages of friendship, survival, and family are strong.
I particularly like Kaylan’s best friend and her love interest. The relatable characters and relationships are my favorite aspects of the story. I also like how the friendships and Kaylan’s family offer some happiness and levity in an otherwise strict and unforgiving society. This is a place where freedoms are restricted and punishments are severe. Seeing close, loving, and supportive relationships thriving juxtaposes the harsh and often cruel world that they live in.
The story is a bit darker than the typical YA fantasy, and if you are looking for a happy ending, this is not the book for you. I like that the plot is unpredictable and keeps the reader guessing, and I was definitely surprised at some of the events and deaths that occurred, especially at the end. I think Relic will appeal to readers who like dark fantasy with interesting magic systems and likable characters. Thanks so much to Netgalley, Talem Press, and the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
- The characters. They are interesting and dynamic.
- The magic and world. I’m hoping these will be further explored and developed in future books in the series.
I think readers who like dark YA fantasy might enjoy this read.