Children's Literature - Kris Sauer
In this conclusion to the four-part "Relic Master" series, sixteen-year-old Raffi is faced with innumerable challenges as his apprenticeship with Master Galen nears its end. As the book opens, Carys has been separated from the core group of Raffi, Galen and the Sekoi. Captured and dragged off, her past as a member of the Watch threatens both Carys and her companions. As the fate of Anara hangs in the balance, Raffi undergoes his Journey only to come face-to-face with the embodiment of evil, the Margrave. Captured and brought to the Pits of Maar, Raffi must deal with the truths of his world while his friends join together to try to save him. No doubt a satisfying conclusion to the series, readers new to the world of Anara may find starting with this volume a bit confusing. Lacking the historical background that is often reviewed within the first few chapters of most series, the uninitiated reader is left to guess at the back stories and virtual reality of this fantasy world as well as the character motivation and implications of much of what develops. Still, this is a fast-moving text and Raffi's adventure is exciting. The conclusion is both unexpected and satisfying in the way it hints at the complicated nature of relationships. Many of the characters nonetheless feel a bit flat, particularly without the benefit of their backstory, although the sardonic dwarf leader Godric and the determined orphan girl Carys might just compel readers new to the series to go back and read on for more. Committed "Relic Master" fans will no doubt enjoy this final tome, while readers of fantasy may well find enough here to commit them to the previous three volumes by this acclaimed writer of the genre. Reviewer: Kris Sauer
The conclusion to Fisher's science-fantasy quartet satisfies, despite failing to answer a number of nagging questions.
Embittered by the events of the search for the Coronet, Relic Master Galen drives his companions mercilessly to destroy the Margrave, the shadowy abomination behind the Watch. His scholar Raffi bears the brunt of Galen's obsession, and—tortured by visions of the Margrave's beckoning—breaks in both mind and spirit, falling into the clutches of the Watch. As Galen, Carys, the Sekoi and all their allies launch a hopeless attack upon the Watch stronghold, Raffi confronts the last twisted Relic of the Makers and must decide who needs rescuing most. Despite important roles for the other characters, this is very much Raffi's story, as his failures and fears are outweighed by the open-hearted compassion that allows him to accomplish for the world Anara what learning, cleverness and strength have not. In a surprising inversion of the standard tropes, the climacticdeus ex machina(or perhaps more properly,deus machina est) leaves open most of the mysteries of the world and the Makers, while providing emotional closure to each character's narrative arc.
Readers who came for the adventure will be left pondering the fragile alliance between mercy, justice, duty and responsibility.(Science fiction. 11-16)