I write this review for my cousin, who died due to disease last week. She was so young, so full of dreams. She was a warrior until the end. And I think she will like this book.
May her soul find peace.
I got another chance to review and be part of the book tour hosted by Caffeine Book Tours. I must say I am very excited to read Katie Zhao’s debut novel. I am part Chinese but my family did not wholly embrace the culture. I am sad that I was not able to learn the language (you must know I really love learning languages).
This is my first time being a part of a blog tour! I am one of the lucky bloggers who get to review Bronwyn Eley’s debut novel Relic. This is hosted by Caffeine Book Tours. Please check out other bloggers who are part of this tour in this post.
I received this ARC from Talem Press as part of the Caffeine Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.
In a fictional city of Edriast, Kaylan, an apprentice blacksmith, was chosen as the next shadow – a job more of a curse than a blessing. She knows that the appointment was a countdown to her end like the shadows before her and she was not wrong. She serves Lord Rennard, the owner of a Relic, a powerful magical jewel that protects him (and his bloodline) but poisons everyone else. As she tries to fulfill her tasks as Lord Rennard’s personal servant, she finds her life, as well as hope, ebbs away the longer she stays as his shadow.
Kaylan was caught in the middle of a plot to destroy the bloodlines in possession of the Relics. She wants to be the last of the shadows but she knows it will be difficult. She was not prepared with the price she has to pay.
The Book Cover
When I first saw the image, I was like, I guess the girl in this cover is the protagonist with the relic. Will she be kind of a knight because of the chain mail or something else? Was it the required garb for a shadow?
My initial thoughts on the book cover was confirmed at the end of the book but it did not prepare me on what was she wore entail.
I think that the success of a fantasy novel lies on the ability of the writer to world build. As a debut novel, Eley achieved the goal of making the reader be immersed in the narrative; however, there will still be more to show as some of the elements of the world created are not yet revealed. As I read through the novel, I was reminded of The Hunger Games with the way the Shadow was chosen which was through lottery for anyone who is over the age of 10 but in a medieval society.
The first chapter is a prologue that makes you wonder about who are the shadows and why such system is in place. We see the story unfold through the eyes of Kaylan. We know the characters through their interactions with her and see the events as Kaylan experiences them. This makes our knowledge of the world of Relic as limited as Kaylan knows it.
The characters are
identifiable. The supporting characters provide her help at each turn of her
life. They make her think about her decisions and her future. Their
interactions with her helped shaped her character.
protagonist, demonstrates strong love for her family and close ties she has
with her friends. She is admirable for her strength to fight a p and conviction
to do what she can for everyone she holds dear. She is a strong character but
not the perfect, super woman type. Kaylan is flawed and human, who gets to
learn and grow through her experiences and interactions.
Rennard is the Lord
of Edriast. He is the villain but he makes you think whether you will
completely hate him or feel sympathy with what is happening to him due to the
influence of the Relic he wears. It makes one conflicted like those close to
Shae is the ultimate
bestfriend who supports Kaylan and understands her due to being childhood
Markus is the Master
of the Hunt – charming and protective. He is the voice of reason of Rennard and
can calm him like no other.
Jesper is Rennard’s
wife. She is cunning and persuasive. She keeps Kaylan survive. At first, I
thought she is just another wife of the tyrant but she becomes lovable as we
know more about her.
Keithan seems like
another way to make Kaylan develop, a man who has knowledge but limited with
the help he can give. We see him more than that. His history was just as
difficult and sad.
The conflict in
Relic is more than man versus man. It is also against the society or the system
as depicted by the rebellion and the desire to wipe out the bloodlines in
possession of the Relics since they are the most powerful and they rule the
society. It is also against one’s own self as Kaylan constantly shows. And
against the supernatural – the Relic itself.
Family ties and friendship are the most dominant in the novel. How the protagonist treasures his younger brothers and friends she made really warms the heart; however, nothing prepared me with the last chapters. Finding the will to fight despite a seemingly hopeless case is also depicted. While we have positive themes, the novel also shows tyranny, abuse, deception, mental and physical decline and paranoia. Humanity versus supernatural.
I cannot wait for the next book. When I read the blurb, I was intrigued by the need to have a shadow. Imagine being a powerful ruler holding an immensely powerful magical item only to require someone to be by your side at all times. For what reason or for whom is it really for? I also have questions hat need to be answered. The novel made me curious of so many things and I expect that the next books will answer them and help me make sense of the world of Relic. It has also romance but not entirely the focus of the story. Somehow, it added to Kaylan’s conflict.
Despite the interest in the plot, I feel that the pace of the story was slow. I understand that it was to introduce the world, the characters and the relationships, as well as establish the conflict but there were times that I can help but wonder when will the action come in. BUT. Reading the last few chapters was a wild ride.
Reading Relic was like roller coaster that slowly takes you to the peak then lets you experience thrill, fear, excitement as it descends. Then you realize that the ride already ended but you want more.
I rated it four stars. I recommend this to readers interested in fantasy with Hunger Games tones and to those who want to read fiction that can evoke emotions – feel what the characters are feeling.
Bronwyn joined the military right out of high school, where she learnt (among other things) to disassemble and reassemble a rifle blindfolded. After that, she spent a lot of her time travelling around the world. Her favourite places (so far) are Scotland, Mongolia, Iceland, and Ireland.
Bronwyn finally found her natural habitat when she landed her first job in the publishing industry. While she has always been a writer, it was only when surrounding herself with books that she realised her life’s dream was to become an author. Relic is her first novel. Bronwyn lives in Sydney and spends her time eating chocolate, reading and practicing her martial arts.
Interested in reading the rest of the reviews on this tour? You can find the link of the Blog Tour here. Please join the #CBTTC Twitter Chat hosted by Caffeine Book Tours (@CaffeineTours) on the 21st of September at 9am EST if you want to hear more about the book and the bloggers of this tour.
Let me know what are your thoughts on this debut novel. Are you adding this to your TBR?
Thank you for the interest in this tour! Until then.