Relic

( 16 )

Overview

After a raging fire consumes her town and kills her parents, Maggie Davis is on her own to protect her younger sister and survive the best she can in the Colorado town of Burning Mesa. In Maggie?s world, the bones of long-extinct magical creatures such as dragons and sirens are mined and traded for their residual magical elements, and harnessing these relics? powers allows the user to wield fire, turn invisible, or heal even the worst of injuries.

Working in a local saloon, ...

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Relic

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Overview

After a raging fire consumes her town and kills her parents, Maggie Davis is on her own to protect her younger sister and survive the best she can in the Colorado town of Burning Mesa. In Maggie’s world, the bones of long-extinct magical creatures such as dragons and sirens are mined and traded for their residual magical elements, and harnessing these relics’ powers allows the user to wield fire, turn invisible, or heal even the worst of injuries.

Working in a local saloon, Maggie befriends the spirited showgirl Adelaide and falls for the roguish cowboy Landon. But when she proves to have a particular skill at harnessing the relics’ powers, Maggie is whisked away to the glamorous hacienda of Álvar Castilla, the wealthy young relic baron who runs Burning Mesa. Though his intentions aren’t always clear, Álvar trains Maggie in the world of relic magic. But when the mysterious fires reappear in their neighboring towns, Maggie must discover who is channeling relic magic for evil before it’s too late.

Relic is a thrilling adventure set in a wholly unique world, and a spell-binding story of love, trust, and the power of good.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
01/01/2014
Gr 8 Up—A fantasy-filled alternative U.S. history title set in the Colorado Territory in 1867. Sixteen-year-old Maggie's parents never returned from a trip to town, and her older brother just died in a fire from which she and her younger sister barely escaped with the help of an Apache teen. Maggie and Ella end up in a small town populated by prospectors. Relic prospectors. Fossilized unicorn horns, the bones of kraken, bits from griffins and werewolves, and trolls are buried in the mesas all around. People who are rich enough to own relics (like hacienda boss Álvar Castilla) or talented enough to harness their magic (like Moon John and Maggie) can gain advantages such as fire-starting or invisibility. Highly dangerous shadow relics are forbidden by law, but that doesn't mean they aren't available on the black market. Maggie takes a job as a waitress in a saloon and makes friends with Adelaide, a fancy dancer and occasional prostitute. She meets Landon, a cowboy who steals her heart, and she wonders about the fate of the Apache who saved her life. The writing can be predictable (hearts "burst," eyes "plead," feet "are rooted," and emotions "choked back"), but the story has enough inventive action and romance to keep teens interested. The ending offers a reveal that practically guarantees a sequel. Offer this one to older fans of Patricia C. Wrede's Thirteenth Child (Scholastic, 2009), another fantasy-filled alternative U.S. history. Fans of Westerns will enjoy the frontier atmosphere, if they don't mind the occasional appearance of ghost coyotes and magical goblin belts.—Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX
Kirkus Reviews
2013-08-15
Plot trumps characterization in this Wild West fantasy. When mysterious attackers burn their hometown, survivors Maggie Davis and her younger sister, Ella, seek refuge in a nearby town. Local law enforcement assumes the burnings are Apache attacks against relic-mining communities, as the Apache culture views relic use as religious desecration. Relics are the expensive fossils of magical creatures such as dragons and goblins, and they give the wielder access to the creature's residual magic. When a few Apaches--including the one who rescued Maggie and Ella from their town's fire (the first of Maggie's many rescues)--are captured, Maggie must solve the mystery before they are executed. While local nuns take in little Ella, Maggie needs employment--preferably not as a prostitute. She only barely finds a position at the local saloon when its young, handsome owner--Álvar Castilla, the wealthiest man in town--invents a hostess position for her. She befriends a showgirl/prostitute with a heart of gold and flirts with a heroic cowboy while avoiding a controlling stock villain. The text often tells readers that Maggie is strong, yet more often than not, other characters must push her along through the plot. The ending demands a sequel, but only readers willing to forgive slipshod characterization for the innovative worldbuilding will look forward to it. Simplistic characters undermine an exciting, creative fantasy world. (Fantasy. 14 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781622660148
  • Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
  • Publication date: 8/27/2013
  • Series: Entangled Teen Series
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 630,329
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.06 (w) x 8.09 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Renee Collins graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in History, and currently lives with her family in the shadow of the Colorado red-rock cliffs, thugh she hasn't unearthed a relic. Yet. Relic is her first novel.
http://midnightmeditations.blogspot.com

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 16 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(12)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2013

    I received this as an ARC Get ready to dive into one of the mos

    I received this as an ARC

    Get ready to dive into one of the most intriguing and tantalizing reads of the summer! There is nothing RELIC can't offer you if you like a good ol' twist of magic, charming and sexy cowboys, a young and gorgeous Indian warrior with a flair for saving, a damsel in distress, a sleazy boss who makes your skin crawl, a young wealthy gentlemen ready to make you an offer you can't refuse, a witty best friend with all the right moves, and the sizzling heat of the old Wild West.

    Every page reveals a new twist that promises you an action packed, edge of your seat read! Filled with gripping emotions, RELIC promises a heart that flutters with anticipation and sweaty palms that become slick under the grip of your e-reader as you hold on for dear life in this roller coaster of plots, devotion, heartbreak, excitement, intrigue, love and betrayal.

    Three young delicious sexy boys, a beautiful girl searching for all the answers, a best friend who leaves you laughing, AND MAGIC. Anyone who knows me, understands that I'm a sucker for anything magical and with RELIC I got everything I love all in one charming and charismatic book. How can I not love it?

     Still need a little something to show you that this book has it all? Hmm..I think I can help with that.

    "I pressed my lips to his and drank deeply. Landon hesitated for a moment, but then surrendered to the desire I knew boiled inside him. His arms hooked around me. I climbed onto his lap, straddling him with my legs. His hot breath flashed my cheek as he kissed me hungrily."

    Hands down, RELIC is by far my new favorite and I won't be surprised if it becomes your new obsession too. Be warned though, clear your schedule. Once you crack the spine of this epic fantasy, you will be hooked and won't be able to shake it until the very last page...and even than it will cast a spell on you and haunt you in your sleep.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 27, 2013

    I received this as an ARC When I first started this book I wasn

    I received this as an ARC

    When I first started this book I wasn’t sure what to expect and I’m not going to lie it took me a little bit to figure everything out. Have you ever watched a T.V. show where it takes like 8 or 9 episodes of the 12 episode show to figure out what the heck is going on? And you are just so intrigued that you have to continue to find out and understand. Well this book was like that for me, but in a good way.

    The book takes please out in the 1700-1800ish Wild West era. Maggie Davis is our wonderful main character and I love everything about her. Her wonderful way to attract the wrong attention, they way she stands out and up for herself and others. The protectiveness that she shows those closest to her, and her fierce undying fire to follow her dreams.

    After tragedy strikes Maggie’s home town, Maggie tries to start over in Burning Mesa with her little sister Ella. I have mixed emotions about Ella and her bratiness, on one hand I understand it, but on the other suck it up. So as Maggie earns her keep and money working at a local saloon she ends up making friends with the last person in the world Maggie ever though she would, Adelaid the show girl at the saloon. I should mention that Maggie is very conservative during this time frame and Adelaid is pretty much the exact opposite.

    The richest man in the area is Alvar Castilla and when he finds out about Maggie’s special talent with relics he immediately becomes interested in her. He invests a lot into all different types of relics, especially rare ones. One of my favorite scenes involves, Fairy Relic Powder, and when I read about the vals vuelo de Espana I was so involved and taken with the story that it was all I could do to not imagine myself being there during that time.

    There is a lot that goes on in this book. We learn a lot about the Apaches, especially Maggie’s friend Yahn, and their rising revolts on the towns. We also get to learn about Landon. OMG I love Landon. He is the perfect mix of cowboy/western/gentlemen/ladies man/sweet talking/smooth shooting/riding man of my dreams. If I could go back in time to be in this era, it would be worth it to just get a chance at being with Landon.

    So if you haven’t picked up yet relics are the main gist of this story. The way the history of relics and their uses is described just pulls the reader in to want to know more. It’s pure magical and one of the greatest forms of imagination I’ve ever seen. Two things that get me more than anything else is any form of magic and love. Adding some awesome history to that and AMAZING writing only makes this book so much better. I loved that this book wasn’t cut short and fully explained everything it needed.

    Of course there are a lot of plot twists that keep the reader guessing until the end about what is going to happen. Although at one point Maggie got pretty mad (which doesn’t really happen) and all I kept envisioning in my head was that she was going to have flames shooting out of her arms and destroying everything in sight to get to her destination.

    I’ve never quite read a book like this and I’m so excited that as a new author I was able to get the chance to read this amazing book and help promote it. I can’t wait to see what will happen next for Maggie.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 24, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Relic by Ren

    ***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***




    Relic by Renee Collins
    Publisher: Entangled Teen
    Publication Date: August 27, 201
    Rating: 4 stars
    Source: eARC from the publisher




    Summary (from Goodreads):




    After a raging fire consumes her town and kills her parents, Maggie Davis is on her own to protect her younger sister and survive best she can in the Colorado town of Burning Mesa. In Maggie’s world, the bones of long-extinct magical creatures such as dragons and sirens are mined and traded for their residual magical elements, and harnessing these relics’ powers allows the user to wield fire, turn invisible, or heal even the worst of injuries.




    Working in a local saloon, Maggie befriends the spirited showgirl Adelaide and falls for the roguish cowboy Landon. But when she proves to have a particular skill at harnessing the relics’ powers, Maggie is whisked away to the glamorous hacienda of Álvar Castilla, the wealthy young relic baron who runs Burning Mesa. Though his intentions aren’t always clear, Álvar trains Maggie in the world of relic magic. But when the mysterious fires reappear in their neighboring towns, Maggie must discover who is channeling relic magic for evil before it’s too late.




    What I Liked:




    I am happy to say that I liked this book! One of my many bookish goals this year is to read all of the Friday the Thirteeners books (check out their blog! They have cool stuff every Friday!). I own all of the books that have been released (ten of them) in some format, but as of right now, I've only read... five of them. This is one of the five!




    Anyway, this one was pretty great! I love historical fiction. This book takes place in the old western Colorado times when people hated Native Americans and were totally prejudiced against them. Maggie's hometown is one of several that were burned down - supposedly by Apaches. But Maggie knows better - her Apache friend from school saved her. The Apaches are not the ones behind the fires and violence and death.




    Maggie meets the illustrious Alvar Castilla in a relic factory. Maggie has a strange affinity for relics, as she is able to sense them better than most. Alvar discovers this when they meet, and offers Maggie a place at his home, in exchange for her services with relics. Maggie declines. Though she doesn't love her job with Adelaide at a saloon, she loves her friends, and when she meets Landon, she starts to fall in love with him.




    But the law officials starts to move against the Apaches. And then Maggie's sister gets into trouble, and is in desperate need of medical attention. Maggie accepts Alvar's offer to live at his house and become acquainted with his relics, for Maggie's health and well-being.




    So, this book is basically split into two parts: Maggie's time at the saloon, with Landon, and Adelaide, and figuring out how to help the Apaches. And then, Maggie's time at Alvar's hacienda, learning about relics, and wondering about her life and how she can help the Apaches.




    I love the historical aspect of this book. Ms. Collins does her research so well - I can tell she knows what she's talking about, in terms of Old Colorado. Maggie's voice is unmistakable, and completely authentic, in my opinion. 




    The plot of the story is pretty good. I was interested the entire time, right up until the end. The end kind of did not hold my interest, and I sort of skimmed it. I mean, I read it, but not as thoroughly as I read the rest of the book. But Ms. Collins definitely takes her readers on a ride! Everything about the relics and the powers and the mystery is so intriguing! I almost forgot that somehow, the burning towns have to connect to the relics. It all comes together at the end!




    The romance is sweet. Poor Landon has to deal with Maggie and her shenanigans. First, she flat-out rejects him. Then she likes him. Then she leaves him (and everyone) when she goes to live with Alvar. Then she gets jealous because she's seen with someone else. Then they have a totally hot make-out session. Then... the climax and the end of the book (in terms of the romance) was surprising. Read it to know what I mean!




    All in all, I enjoyed this book, and I'm pleased to have had the chance to read it early!




    What I Did Not Like:




    There were small things that bothered me. Like, for one, I really hated Maggie's sister. She's conceited, selfish, a total brat, rude, ungrateful, and she's like, seven? Ten? Somewhere around there. It's not like she was SPOILED when their parents and brother were alive. I don't know or understand why she expected royal treatment the duration of the book. Gosh, I hate her so much. HATE. HER.




    And like I said above, I kind of lost interest in the very end of the book. I didn't read it quite as closely as the rest of the book, mostly because I seriously did not understand what was going on. I re-read the end twice, and I still don't understand some thing. Whatever. I get the gist of things.




    And I totally feel bad for Alvar, despite his sleaziness. 




    Would I Recommend It:




    Yep! If you like historical fiction books, check this one out! This book shared a different time in history than I'm used to, but I really liked it and I'm satisfied with the historical aspect of the book, as well as mostly everything else!




    Rating:




    3.5 stars -> rounded up to 4 stars. I like giving debut authors the benefit of the doubt. And I really did enjoy this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2013

    Unique, and breath taking! I'm not going to lie, this is nothi

    Unique, and breath taking!


    I'm not going to lie, this is nothing like what I was expecting, which is a good thing. As my first line states unique, that word fits this book like a glove. Blending a genuine old west setting with a magical element that keeps every character on their toes, really kept me into this book until the absolute end.


    Maggie, to me, was a great heroine. Attempting to find balance after such a life shattering event is hard, but she does what is necessary while maintaining moral, values and a good head on her should. Taking a job, making an honest living....that is until the very handsome Mr. Castilla makes her an offer she finds that not even she can turn down.
    No she doesn't turn into his mistress (I thought that's where it was going), she starts learning about the different degrees of relics. From standard Sirens, to deadly Banshee, even the ultra rare - and outlawed - vampire relics. There isn't a single one that Mr. Castilla hasn't obtained. Maggie starts to realize there's something extremely special within her. The way she can feel a relic is unlike any other, and of course Mr. Castilla wants to collect her rare ability like he collects rare relics!


    There was a part, about 85% of the way through that I felt was a tad bit rushed....and unveiling of sort, if you wish to call it that....I wish that a little more time could had been spent digging into that secret, but I understand how the story line & side plots must all run their own course.


    So now I HAVE to talk about Landon, I swoon! <3333333
    Imagine wranglers, boots and a cowboy hat....mmmmmm...you get the picture. This boy stole my heart, and still hasn't given it back. The gentleness he holds for Maggie, the lengths that he'll go to just to ensure her safety, well being & dignity gives me chills. Every man should take notes from him!

    Overall I really enjoyed this book! Relic was a deep breath of fresh air for me, it took any expectations that I had & morphed them into my wildest dreams. Take you favorite myths, splash them with magic, now add a dash of mystery, shake it all up & that will give you Relic!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2013

    Relic is a fantastic, fun read from a talented new author, Renee

    Relic is a fantastic, fun read from a talented new author, Renee Collins. The plot is fast-paced from the first page, and there wasn't a moment that dragged. For the most part the characters are vivid and realistically written, and the dialogue was western-flavored without being overwhelming.

    One of the strongest aspects of Relic was the setting. The Western spin is an angle that's not too common in fantasy, and it provided a rich backdrop for the action of the novel. I loved the atmosphere of the book - Collins did a great job.

    I was also glad to see a premise/magic system that hasn't been done before. The idea of Relics (bones of magical creatures) providing people with magical abilities is - as far as I know- unique. Considering how much they featured in the plot, however, I would have liked a little more explanation as to how exactly they worked - it seems to vary based on what's needed for the plot. Individual relics seem to work on contact, or by ingestion, but there are also guns which are somehow powered by relics, and that's never really explained at all.

    Considering he was the major love interest, I would have liked to have seen more of Landon. I also would have liked him to be a bit more involved in the investigation of the burnings/mystery of the unknown relic/something! There's a scene were he chastises Maggie for getting caught up with Alvar and life at the hacienda, but it's not like he's doing much of anything either...plus, his relationship with Maggie felt a bit rushed.

    There were a few hints that Maggie might see Yahn as a potential love interest as well, which I thought was silly and unneeded, but that's probably just my bias (I strongly dislike multiple love interests).

    I liked that I couldn't figure Alvar out - one moment he was kind, the next entitled and demanding. There were some moments where I felt his characterization was a bit too inconsistent...and I found the explanation of his behavior to be a bit of a cop-out.

    I prefer my villains not to be 'evil'...to have some sort of motivation, however twisted, for what they are doing. That doesn't appear to be the case for the ultimate antagonist in this book.

    Despite these nitpicks, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Relic, and if there is a sequel - the ending seems well set up for one - I will certainly read it!

    Full disclosure: I received an eARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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  • Posted September 2, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    RELIC is unlike any fantasy novel I've read before. For one thin

    RELIC is unlike any fantasy novel I've read before. For one thing, it takes place in the Wild West. I've never read any fantasy novel from this time period before. The use of relics composed of the bones of extinct fantastic beasts is also innovative and new, at least to me. The book is just the right length, too. I prefer my fantasy novels longer, because I lose something when they're too short. Characters, setting, world-building...something is always underdeveloped. RELIC clocks in at 400 pages, but it reads so fast that I could easily believe I read half that in the time it took me to devour this book. When it came to the end, I wanted more. Despite a full-circle ending, there's enough room for a sequel should Renee Collins choose to write one, and I already want it if she does!




    Collins chooses to throw readers straight into the action from page one. Maggie has been left at home in charge of her two younger siblings while her parents went to a political meeting. The only problem? They never come home. Maggie sees fire on the horizon and riders with torches heading her way. She rounds up her brother and sister, and together they flee to their safe place. Even that is no longer safe, though, and right when they're about to be devoured by fire, a young Apache warrior,Yahn, swoops in to save the day. Maggie loses so much that fateful night, but is determined to live and survive. She goes to Burning Mesa, a local town, looking for work in a relic refinery, only to be propositioned by a shady man looking for a new girl for The Desert Rose, his seedy saloon. She refuses to degrade herself in such a place, and manages to get a job on the wait staff instead. Her visit at the relic refinery doesn't go unnoticed, however, and more eyes are watching her than she can imagine. Maggie has a way with relics, a way that people will go to great lengths to control. She finds herself in a dangerous game of survival as towns continue to burn and the truth behind her abilities begins to come out.



    More on my blog A Backwards Story!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2013

    First off, I want to say how much I LOVE the magic system Renee

    First off, I want to say how much I LOVE the magic system Renee Collins has created in this world. As someone with a fascination for shiny new toys in the fantasy game, I deeply appreciated the vivid worldbuilding encapsulated in these glittering pieces of bone. I finished the book half-convinced that relics were, in fact, real, and very nearly able to feel one lying heavy around my very own neck. I also enjoyed the Wild West setting of the story, something I haven't seen much of in the fantasy genre.
    That said, I found that the rest of book fell a little flat. I had a little difficulty connecting with Maggie, the main character, although I did enjoy her distinctly Western storytelling voice. I took a loooong time warming up to Landon, her love interest -- to the point that I found myself hoping he was just a stepping stone on the way to someone else. And the plot, well, it wasn't a page-turner for me, but the fascinating magic system and general enjoyability of the book means I'll be reading the sequel if there is one.
    I rate this book an evening huddled around a smoky campfire, roasting marshmallows and telling ghost stories while roaming packs of coyotes howl at ... whatever it is that coyotes howl at. Assuming that coyotes howl. Which maybe they don't.
    Clearly I'm not the one writing a Western.

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  • Posted August 28, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    ¿Relic¿ is a book that is magical, exciting, and unique. It comp

    ‘Relic’ is a book that is magical, exciting, and unique. It completely stands on its own, not reminding me of anything I've read before. ‘Relic’ is a Western style fantasy, an alternate history that contains magical relics, which are the bones of long dead magical creatures. There’s the cowboys and saloons you would expect in a Western, but there’s also magic and magical predators.

    The book is also a mystery, with Maggie trying to figure out who is burning towns and why. Maggie’s parents and her brother were killed in the razing of her village, so she has a personal stake in figuring out who the culprit is and making sure they pay. ‘Relic’ also has a romantic element, though it’s a light part of the story, and there’s some chemistry with other characters. Landon is the swoony cowboy character, while Álvar is a mysterious benefactor who has a dangerous sexiness to him. That being said, this book doesn’t contain a love triangle at all, which I appreciated.

    Maggie is a great main character. She’s bright, brave, and totally competent. She wants justice and will work hard for it, but she’s also not afraid to ask for help and admit when she's in over her head. I loved reading her story, and I found ‘Relic’ to be a completely fascinating novel. It’s intense with action and magic, and the story line is incredibly interesting. I appreciated how there was a full conclusion to the mystery element with just enough larger plot dangling to make you want to read more in this world. I fully enjoyed this fantastical debut, and I can’t wait to read more from Renee Collins.

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  • Posted August 27, 2013

    Relic is an uber-creative alternate historical fantasy. The mag

    Relic is an uber-creative alternate historical fantasy. The magic system and world-building in this story are amazing. The opening chapter is COMPLETELY GUTWRENCHING--I immediately felt for Maggie's situation. The characters felt both historical and very true to the world. I didn't connect with the romance as much as I would have liked, but overall this was a great read.


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  • Posted August 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A Relic is a historical fantasy western - definitely not your av

    A Relic is a historical fantasy western - definitely not your average book genre, yet somehow it works, really well. I had heard about the book and was
    intrigued but wasn't too sold on the setting. After reading Relic, I'm eating my thoughts on that completely. 

    This book works wonderfully. The fantasy-western setting is truly breathtaking and is a great backdrop for the
    characters that Collins has created. 

    There are great scenes in this book that really move the story along and keep the reader engaged and
    entertained. But at the same time, I felt as though there were just as many that were somewhat of filler scenes.
     I realize that not all scenes in a book can be action but I felt the ups were very up and the downs were very
    down. 

    Relic is a great read. Surely the only novel, that I know of, in this genre. And well worth the read. 

    I received an ARC ebook copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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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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  • Posted August 27, 2013

    Disclaimer: I received a copy of this title from the publisher i

    Disclaimer: I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This has in no way affected my opinion of the book.




    So, I did my regular old milarky of accepting a review book without even reading the blurb again. However, there is nothing quite like the feeling when you know you’ve opened the pages into a land of something pretty special. Because Relic just seemed so fresh to me. It’s unique to other books I’ve read lately. It’s original. And the characters? Man, the characters are great.




    Young Maggie leads the way in Relic, and from the off we connect with her—how can one not as she witnesses a fire destroy her home, followed by her brother’s sacrifice so she and her sister can be rescued by an Apache and live, and she suspects her parents are ravaged by the same fire that has stolen her life. And all this happens within the first few pages. This is such a powerful opening, ensuring young Maggie has our attention, our empathy, and our hearts, and demands we sit up and want to fight her corner. And she does a great job of clinging tight to us the entire way through. From one catastrophe to another, Maggie faces challenge after challenge and trial after trial, the overcoming of each one seeming to lead her to the next. Even when a potential love interest is woven in, Maggie is challenged—though that’s mostly by herself, her naivety and insecurities.




    Landon is an AWESOME cowboy. He’s cute. He’s flawed. He’s pretty ‘real’, and I enjoyed his company easily as much as Maggie did—and possibly more. However, he’s not the only male on the scene, and the reader is left confused about that—not so much who she might be wooed by, but with whom she’s meant to end up.




    Because there’s the Apache, who is equally as awesome as Landon, and with a much deeper and meaningful connection to Maggie, which the reader has a tough time trying to interpret. I mean, even once it all comes to light and that element of the story unfolds, it’s difficult to tell just how ‘deep’ a connection there is between Maggie and him, and on what level they’re meant to be drawn together.




    And then we also have rich dude, who shouldn’t even pay the likes of Maggie any mind but is being ‘charitable’ to her from the off: Alvar. From the get-go, the reader doesn’t quite know what to make of him. Is he genuine? Isn’t he? Does he want more from Maggie? Or is he honest in his intents? He sends off so many mixed signals—for good reason—that I don’t think even he knows whether he’s coming or going. And Alvar keeps you guessing right up to the very end—because he is one of the best mysteries to be unfolded within this book.




    Which brings us to the plot. It was, in a nutshell, great. The intricate weavings and tightly tucked in threads, and the twists and turns and surprises, and betrayals and lies and deceit, and the so-greatly-portrayed characters that anybody could be behind the burnings—all of this keeps the reader turning those pages with an eagerness to discover exactly where we’re all being taken.




    My only complaints regarding Relic are: 1) I wasn’t sure completely of the world building. Like: is it set in an evolved version of our own world? Because it appears to be (though I’m not from the US to recognise if the places were real). But, then, if it’s set in our world, what time period is it set in. Or has the author taken complete creative license on this front? Although not knowing this didn’t really stop me enjoying the story, I did keep pondering from time to time, and it would have been better if that was completely clear. And 2) I wasn’t wholly sure for a little while on Maggie’s age. By the time I noticed her age mentioned, I’d been reading a while. If it was mentioned prior to that, it wasn’t done so prominently enough to embed in my brain. And I had trouble grasping her age. In parts, she seemed a little older than she was meant to be. I understand that dramatic circumstances in a life can force a person into maturity, but she seemed mature from the off, rather than growing into that. I think I wanted a little more of her naivety to show through—especially regarding certain aspects of the book that would be considered inappropriate, in this day and age even, for a 16 year old to be around (because it was like none of the laws of our world today applied in this created version of it). But, again, this only stalled me for minor ponderings and didn’t exactly mar my reading pleasure.




    Anyway, those small gripes aside, I truly am greatly looking forward to the second instalment. I mean, more cowboys, and Wild West type scenery, and action, and legacy, love, loss, and betrayal, and magic, PLUS a fantasy-like feel to the writing that flows with little trouble? Dude, sign me up.

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  • Posted August 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    A very unusual blend of, historical, paranormal and mystery, fan

    A very unusual blend of, historical, paranormal and mystery, fans of Firefly and Charmed should enjoy this book.

    With a setting of the Old West, Relic already starts out unique. Add in the bones of mythical beings--unicorns, people--, Native Americans, magic, and a mystery well you have truly unusual book recipe, but one that works. At least it did for me.




    When mysterious fires destroy her home, Maggie and her sister are left to fend for themselves. Maggie is able to find work as a maid of sorts in a saloon/brothel. But there is something special about Maggie. She has a strange affinity with the relics (bones) and their magical properties and the wealthy, young relic baron Alvar takes notice.




    Soon Maggie is whisked away to his hacienda, separating her from her friend Adelaide and new love Landon, to learn more about her gift and how to use the Relics. But not everything is as it seems at the hacienda and Maggie is drawn into a mystery that could cost her more than she is willing to risk.




    While there is enough action to keep the novel moving forward, I wouldn't call Relic fast-paced. The focus is definitely more on the characters and their development, and I really enjoyed watching Maggie's confidence and personality bloom and change. Adelaide was a thoroughly enjoyable compliment to Maggie and her quick-tongue provided for several laugh out loud moments. The romance between Maggie and Landon develops slowly, taking back burner to the mystery surrounding the fires, and seemed to come as a bit of a surprise to Maggie. Landon is a sweet and funny cowboy but there is another character I actually preferred over him. (No spoilers here :D)




    Throw in a couple surprise plot twists, and you have the makings of a very enjoyable, unique read. 

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  • Posted August 27, 2013

    Relic is a first person account of the early life of Maggie Davi

    Relic is a first person account of the early life of Maggie Davis, a sixteen-year-old girl, and her baby sister Ella, who live in a world very loosely based on the old west of America. Maggie and Ella have a rough start in the book as the first chapter introduces us to them through the death of their family and destruction of their hometown. The story follows the girls as they find a way to survive in the harsh world of that day and get wrapped up in a web of magic, deception and intrigue.




    Maggie is a genuinely likable main character who starts off as your typical teenage girl with no special powers or skills, just a love for information about relics. She struggles with the conservative values her family has tried to instill into her while making friends who are decidedly less conservative in their values. Her main goal in the story is to take care of her baby sister, at any cost, but she is pulled into a situation that is far larger then either of them.




    The novel is well written with clean and well-edited prose. I did not notice any issues with typos, or grammar, so if there are any they were not enough to kick me out of the story. Relic is written at an easy to read level, which should be easily approachable by the vast majority of readers. I did not come across any words that I needed to use the dictionary for, nor were any of the grammar constructions hard to follow. I would guess it to be at a sixth grade level of difficulty in reading. I would put the level of reading difficultly as similar to my own books.




    As far as the content goes, the book should be safe read for any teenager and up. There is a little bit of language and some very suggestive scenes, but nothing that would give me as a parent pause before letting a teenager read the novel. I would be careful of a pre-teen reading this novel, and suggest that parents pre-read this book and decide based on the maturity of their children.




    Over all I enjoyed the book, but there were two weaknesses with the telling of Maggie's story. The first issue has to do with the first chapter. It felt too contrived, almost like the author was forcing it in just to give a back-story to main character. In my opinion the book would be stronger if the first chapter was dropped completely. It would take very little editing to get the backstory into the story, and nothing would be lost.




    The second weakness is that the ending felt a bit like a rushed wrap up. It was a good ending, and one that definitely leaves the door open for a sequel, but still it felt a bit rushed. I do not want to spoil the ending for anyone, so I will not give any details. You will just have to read it to find out what I mean. It was a good ending, but not a great one. It did not end on a cliffhanger, but there were definitely loose ends that lay the groundwork for a sequel.




    As I mentioned, over all it is a good story and it is told well. I think teenagers and up who enjoy YA fantasy with a strong romantic under current will enjoy this book.




    I was given an Advanced Reader Copy (aka ARC) of Relic for the purpose of this review via an online promotion.

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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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  • Posted July 15, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Good story

    I thought this book was very appealing. Definitely a new one for me. It's like a old western story with magic. A Cowboy and Indian (...well Native American...more correctly- Apache) story that I was able to get into and enjoy.

    The story takes on a tragic start for Maggie and her sister Ella. Fire is everywhere and in order to live, she must trust an Apache named Yahn (which then people thought they were the enemy). They end up in a town called Burning Mesa. Looking for work in the relic refinery she catches the eye of the wealthy Álvar. He offers work at the saloon but he secretly wants her for something else. In the saloon she meets and becomes friends with Adelaide, meets a strapping young cowboy named Landon, and hatches a plan to find out about more about the fires.

    I like how the relics had different magical powers and interesting to read about where they came from. I also liked how I didn't know who was the cause of the fires and why this person did it until the end of the book. The only thing I didn't like is how easily Maggie was caught up in the relic world and forgot about everyone else. But not a biggie, she wises up quickly.

    The way the book ending it definitely left room for another book. Not 100% sure if there is one or not, but if there is I will read it in a heartbeat.

    *A big thanks to Entangled Teen for the Arc*

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