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  • Posted August 27, 2013

    Although I had some minor problems with Relic, I mostly enjoyed

    Although I had some minor problems with Relic, I mostly enjoyed it, and I'd recommend it to fantasy fans who are looking for something unique.

    What I liked:

    Hands down, my absolute favorite thing about Relic is the setting. How often do you read a YA book - with fantasy elements, no less - set in the West? It's a creative and enthralling setting, and Collins writes the descriptions of the land very well. I'm usually not a fan of westerns, but Relic has changed my mind about that!

    Also, the plot held my attention pretty well. The opening chapters are very gripping and action-packed. The plot slows down slightly in the middle of the book, when Maggie and her sister are staying at Alvar Castilla's home. I felt like I was waiting for something to happen, but the plot picks up quickly after that and there are lots more developments. And there's an awesome little twist at the end that I didn't see coming!

    I liked most of the characters in Relic, especially the minor characters. Maggie got on my nerves here and there, but I really liked her little sister Ella and her friend Adelaide. I thought Alvar Castilla to be very stereotypical at first, but he turned into a rather fascinating character with hidden layers to him.

    What I didn't like:

    I did get annoyed with Maggie sometimes. I like that she thinks things through and is very practical, but she makes some foolish decisions that I didn't like. For example, staying at Castilla's house and letting herself get swept away in a life of luxury. It didn't really fit her "sensible" character and I got irritated with her at times.

    And I wasn't crazy about Landon, the love interest. He seemed too much like your typical YA love interest to me: he's a bit of a "bad boy," but of course he has a sweet side and immediately falls in love with the heroine. So I just wasn't really a fan of the romance.
    Another small issue is Maggie's sister Ella. Great character, and I loved the relationship between the two, but I wish she'd had more development. Maggie was always going on about how much she loved Ella and wanted to take care of her, but Ella was never really in enough of the scenes. I would've liked her character to have a bigger role.

    Still, these are just little things I noticed, and for the most part Relic is an entertaining story with a brilliant setting and creative fantasy elements. I can't wait to read more of this author's work!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2013

    Relic by Renee Collins has an awesome setting. The world has bee

    Relic by Renee Collins has an awesome setting. The world has been blighted by a long forgotten catastrophe that buried mythical creatures and the magic they possessed beneath desert. The bones of the extinct creatures, the dragons, unicorns and sirens, are revered for their residual magic. A piece of any is known as a relic and with it, a talented practitioner can perform magic.

    Someone is using a powerful relic to scour the land with unnatural fire and the local Apache are being blamed. It’s well-known that they object to the mining of relics. They see the extraction of the bones as disturbing the Sacred Ones.

    Maggie, who loses her family to one of these fires, has an affinity for relic magic. Properly trained, she might be able to figure out who is using the relics for evil purposes. Before she can realise any such goal, however, she has to settle herself and her sister into a new town, find reputable work and figure out what to do about a very attentive cowboy.

    Relic is an odd combination of western, romance and fantasy. I’ve never read anything quite like it before. The magic system is different and intriguing. I love the concept of the relics, the bones of mythical creatures and the residual magic. I also like how Collins tied the magic to the type of bone. Unicorn horns heal and siren bones are used for water magic and beguilement.

    What did not appeal so much was the western flavour. It was well done; the setting felt authentic. Just wasn’t my thing. I do think Relic has a lot going for it, however. It’s different. In a market where books for teens are plugging one dystopian setting after another, the western setting and definite parallels to the conflicts between pioneers and American Indians makes a refreshing change.

    Written for and originally posted at SFCrowsnest.

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