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The Dark City (Relic Master Series #1)

The Dark City (Relic Master Series #1)

4.6 21
by Catherine Fisher

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Welcome to Anara, a world mysteriously crumbling to devastation, where nothing is what it seems: Ancient relics emit technologically advanced powers, members of the old Order are hunted by the governing Watch yet revered by the people, and the great energy that connects all seems to also be destroying all. The only hope for the world lies in Galen, a man of the


Welcome to Anara, a world mysteriously crumbling to devastation, where nothing is what it seems: Ancient relics emit technologically advanced powers, members of the old Order are hunted by the governing Watch yet revered by the people, and the great energy that connects all seems to also be destroying all. The only hope for the world lies in Galen, a man of the old Order and a Keeper of relics, and his sixteen-year-old apprentice, Raffi. They know of a secret relic with great power that has been hidden for centuries. As they search for it, they will be tested beyond their limits. For there are monsters-some human, some not-that also want the relic's power and will stop at nothing to get it.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this postapocalyptic tale, the scattered remnants of the Order struggle to keep ancient technologies alive, despite the efforts of the thuggish Watch to destroy them. Relic Master Galen Harn has lost his powerful extrasensory abilities in an accident, but he struggles on with the help of his half-trained teenage apprentice, Raffi. Galen hears rumors that the Crow, one of the founders of their civilization, may still survive in Tasceron, "the burning city, the city of the Makers.... a web of a million streets, alleys, bridges, ruins." He and Raffi set out to find the city, accompanied by Carys (who, unbeknownst to them, is a Watch agent) and one of the catlike Sekoi. This first volume in the Relic Master Quartet is a gritty and enjoyable tale of adventure, poised on the dividing line between science fiction and fantasy; Dial will release the three subsequent installments (originally published in the U.K., beginning in 1998) in June, July, and August. While perhaps not as captivating as Incarceron and Sapphique, this should easily please Fisher's fans, as well as those hungry for dystopian reading material. Ages 12–up. (May)
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up—In this quartet opener, Galen is a relic master who has recently lost his powers, and he must rely on his apprentice Raffi, whose mystical abilities are still developing. They are sent on a quest by a bandit lord who wants them to find a nonhuman Sekoi thief in exchange for the return of a precious relic. The Sekoi seems to be traveling to the city of Tasceron, which has been plunged into perpetual gloom. Galen hopes to find a cure for his condition in this city that was once home to the relic masters and is now a stronghold of the Watch. Along the way they meet Carys, a young woman who claims to be journeying to Tasceron to rescue her father from the Watch but who is in fact a spy. Fisher's flawed characters are more accessible than fantasy heroes with incredible powers. In this moody book full of mist, swamps, and darkness, the threat of the Watch hangs over the secret relic masters and innocent villagers alike. Besides the Watch, the characters face challenges ranging from mystical riddles to fearsome creatures. The author's earlier successes and the general popularity of dystopic fiction should guarantee an audience for this one. On top of all that, it's a great read.—Eric Norton, McMillan Memorial Library, Wisconsin Rapids, WI
VOYA - Walter Hogan
Fisher, author of the best-selling Incarceron (Dial, 2010/VOYA February 2010) and its sequel, Sapphique (Dial, 2011/VOYA December, 2010), published The Book of the Crow quartet in the U.K. between 1998 and 2001. The series is just now becoming available in the U.S, retitled Relic Master. All four volumes are being issued during the summer of 2011. The reverse of each volume's dust wrapper features a large, colorful map of one-quarter of the Relic Master terrain, to encourage readers to collect all four books. Fisher excels in the creation of rich secondary worlds. Here, her swords-and-sorcery setting is Anara, a world which has fallen into darkness and fear following the overthrow of an enlightened emperor. A brutal regime now employs the dreaded Watch to maintain absolute control while attempting to root out all traces of the Makers, ancient builders of the great civilization now lying in ruins. In The Dark City, Book 1, a fugitive keeper of the old Order, Galen, and his young apprentice, Raffi, seek a legendary relic that might renew their land. Along the way, they are joined by Carys, a girl assigned by the Watch to spy on the keeper but whose loyalties begin to shift as she journeys with Galen and Raffi. The old master and his two young companions manage to infiltrate the very heart of the Watch in the haunted, crumbling city of Tasceron. Their quest through a very dark landscape achieves a partial victory and concludes at a bright interval, leaving readers eager for the adventure to continue. Like Incarceron and Sapphique, the Relic Master series is set in a grim, dark, medieval world, connected by a portal to a more advanced civilization. Other similarities include a deep, Tolkien-esque back history, and third person narration from multiple viewpoints. The main difference between these two fantasy epics is that Relic Master is more approachable for young readers, without the philosophical complexities generated by Fisher's sentient prison-world, Incarceron. The Relic Master quartet will please fantasy lovers of both sexes, from middle school up. (Relic Master) Reviewer: Walter Hogan
Children's Literature - Annie Laura Smith
Can Galen, a Master of the Order and Keeper of Relics, and his sixteen-year-old apprentice Raffi save Anara, a world mysteriously heading towards devastation? They need to find the secret relic to save their world before the governing Watch uncovers it. In this dystopian fantasy, the Watch attempts to destroy the last remnants of the ancient Order which originally defined their fantasy world. Can the ancient relics that emit advanced powers enable Galen and Raffi to harness the great energy as a force for good again? This story is filled with mystery and adventure, as good fights evil. A table of contents page shows that the story is told in five sections. Each section is preceded by a black and white numbered illustration and a relative statement. Additional illustrations and statements also appear within the sections. The first illustration and statement set the tone for the novel: "The world is not dead. The world is alive and breathes. The world is the whim of God, and her journey is forever. — Litany of the Makers." This story is the first book of the "Relic Master Series." Additional books include: The Lost Heiress, The Hidden Coronet, and The Margrave. Reviewer: Annie Laura Smith
Kirkus Reviews

A gripping fantasy adventure, the first of a tetralogy, satisfies but does not surprise.

Raffi, the novice "scholar" sworn to the surly Relic Master Galen, finds little joy in their now-outlawed Order's sacred task of seeking out the ancient technology of the vanished Makers. After one such exploding "relic" stripped Galen of his mystical powers, a vicious thief lord bullies the pair into pursuing a member of the catlike Sekoi race into the post-apocalyptic city of Tasceron, which just might harbor a magic powerful enough to heal Galen. Meanwhile, the Watch, fanatical enemies of the Order, has set one of their murderous agents on their trail... Fisher takes a hoary science-fiction trope—the Lost Colony revering the ancestral "Starmen" as gods and their forgotten gadgets as holy objects—and melds it with the standard quest fantasy, complete with the archetypal naive-yet-powerful apprentice, the wise-but-bitter mentor, the roguish spy-with-a-heart-of-gold and the vaguely elfin alien. Yet her mastery of detailed and exotic worldbuilding, every scene hinting at intriguing secrets and untold back story, blends these speculative staples into a tale redolent with humor, wonder and suspense. Genre-savvy readers will undoubtedly predict every plot twist pages in advance; nonetheless, they will also demand the sequels.

Well-crafted storytelling provides more than the sum of its parts.(Fantasy. 11-16)

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Relic Master Series , #1
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.50(d)
HL540L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years


Meet the Author

Catherine Fisher is an acclaimed novelist and poet, and has written many fantasy books for young people, including the popular "Oracle Betrayed" series. She lives in Wales.

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The Dark City: Relic Master Series, Book 1 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
skstiles612 More than 1 year ago
Galen Harn is a Relic Master. He travels from place to place removing powerful relics left behind. His student Raffael Morel has been with him for four years. He is Galen's eyes into the world around them. An accident has taken away Galen's powers and he must rely on the lessons he has taught his student. They press deeper into dangerous territory trying to find the one thing that will set the world right again. The Watch is determined to destroy the order and will therefore destroy the world with it. Along the way Galen and Raffi are joined by a spy named Carys. She was taken from her home as a very young child and taught that the Order no longer exists and those few relic masters who claim it does are frauds and must be destroyed. She has set out on this mission hoping to capture, dead or alive, Galen, thus proving herself to the Watch. What she got in return was her faith shaken in what she was taught to believe. The only question left is what she will do with the knowledge she now possesses. I was held from beginning to end. I am left wanting to know more about the Sekoi and what they are. Hopefully we will find out more in the next book. I can't wait for these four books to come out, one each month starting in May so that I can put them on my shelves at school. I can see now that these will be snatched up quickly. Anyone who loves fantasy will absolutely love these books. I am excited to have had the opportunity to read this one in advance so that I can tell the whole world about it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
terilhack More than 1 year ago
Catherine Fisher brings us into a future world that carries items of lost power that only a few can use. This take us into the story of the Relic Masters, a dying breed of people that carries the memory and the power to use these unearthed items from the past that can cause a great toll upon humanity with their use. While certain groups want to horde the Relics and cause strife upon others, there are those few who want to save them and remember. The world of the Relic Masters is so full of description and the characters are created with a certain amazing feel that Catherine Fisher creates for us as the read. I love the layers to her characters and how we may perceive them one way as they are introduced in the story, but we quickly see them change and flow so intricately into the framework of the story that we love the changes we soon find out about them. Each of our three main characters in the Dark City: Galen, Carys and Raffi, are soon going to find out how close their futures are entwined together. At the start we meet up with the ailing Galen, a Relic Master who has lost his power, and Raffi the budding apprentice. While we are not sure the extent of the powers that these keepers of the relics hold, we soon learn about a great potential. As Galen and Raffi set about to investigate a set up relic hold, they are tossed into a race for survival and a new companion. Carys moves into the story and she is an amazing character. There is not too much that I want to give away, but I have to sat that I loved Carys character and what she begins to find in herself and her thinking while being on this adventure with Raffi and Galen. Fisher begins weaving a tale of epic proportions in The Dark City, Relic Master 1, that make us want more. We are lucky though that there will be a release from this series every month so we do not have too long of a wait until we are able to join back in this amazing adventure. Lovers of Incarceron will be enthralled by The Dark City. I carries some of the great qualities that were loved in her prior series, and an amazing set of characters. The Dark City will capture readers into its pages, eating up the story, and caught in the feeling of adventure within.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a great book just fineshed the series and suggest that you should read it also
Nikkayme More than 1 year ago
Relic Master: The Dark City is one of those incredible, high fantasy creations that completely immerse the reader in a new, sprawling world. Magic litters the pages and creatures - good and bad - dote the various landscapes. Catherine Fisher's world of Anara is fully-realized and expertly crafted. If her descriptions don't bring the world to life enough for you, though I don't know how they wouldn't, the fold out map will sure help. The two main characters, Relic Master Galen and student Raffi, are both strong in their own respects with individual voices and personalities. The introduction of two other important characters is handled well and with care. Both Carys and later the Sekoi play much larger roles than what one would think when they first appear. This group's journey is enthralling; from Galen and Raffi's first encounter with Carys, to their venture into a burning city. The magic will keep any reader glued to the page, but with high fantasy, comes a new world that, while interesting, can become confusing. Anara is a huge world with a detailed past. This past can be difficult to keep up with and I found myself confused between the history of the Makers, the Watch, and each group's important figures. The quotes at the beginning of each chapter help to keep the history in line, but throughout the story, Galen, Raffi, Carys, and the Sekoi each tell us about the history as they know it and it all becomes a bit muddled until the end. Still, The Dark City is fantastical and full of wonderment. The magic surrounding the relics and keepers like Galen and Raffi will hold readers throughout the series. Unlike most book series, all four books in the Relic Master series will be released this year. Come June, I'll be continuing on with the series to see just what happens to these characters I've so quickly grown fond of.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im reading incarceron and its amazing but should i read this book?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I guess I'll consider...
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JakeTheAuthor More than 1 year ago
I absolutely hated Incarceron, but all the reviews for this are high. The plot of this is well planned...I'm just not sure about this.
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TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Relic Master Galen Harn and his apprentice, Raffi, know that all is not well the moment they set foot in the settlement that had boldly requested their help a few days before. Drawn by curiosity and the possibility of discovering a relic, the pair nevertheless decides to venture into the castle-like fortress that is the settlement's stronghold and soon come to regret the decision. After an unpleasant meeting with the leader, Alberic, Galen and Raffi are off once again - this time in search of a thieving Sekoi who had ravaged the settlement, and the Crow, who, if found, would prove to be very helpful to Galen indeed. Carys, an orphaned girl in search of her father, soon joins the group on their journey to the dark city of Tasceron, where both the Sekoi and the Crow are rumored to be found. However, the Watch is always present at every turn; their deception knows no bounds. Having read and tremendously enjoyed Ms. Fisher's INCARCERON duology, I was, to say the last, excited to get my hands on the RELIC MASTER series. While INCARCERON seems to be geared more towards young adults, THE DARK CITY reads more like a middle grade novel to me, albeit an intense and still relatively interesting one. The world-building present in THE DARK CITY is subtle and yet comprehensive. The use of magic by Galen and Raffi, while not extensively clarified, was explained enough to be understandable and not overwhelming. The cast of characters were quite darling, also, with their own little quirks and secrets. Even though the plot tended to drag noticeably in the beginning and middle parts of the novel, I think the ending was a success overall. Book one of the RELIC MASTER series will appeal to middle grade fantasy lovers and readers who are willing to plunge into the fantastical world of the magic-wielding Order and the seemingly omniscient Watch.
James Williams More than 1 year ago
I really like Raffi great character ,hope Galen gets his cure (i havent finished the book yet).
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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TacoTK More than 1 year ago
My first book from Catherine Fisher. I'd have to say this was a great book!! A lot of surprises that kept me awake late in the hour. Can't wait for the second book!!!
ch90 More than 1 year ago
so ya