In the city of Edriast, there is no deadlier duty than to serve as the Shadow.
As the personal servant of the powerful Lord Rennard, the Shadow’s life is all but forfeit. Rennard possesses one of five rare and dangerous Relics – a jewel that protects his bloodline, but slowly poisons everyone else in its proximity. When the current Shadow succumbs to its magic, nineteen-year-old blacksmith Kaylan is summoned to take his place.
It’s an appointment that will kill her.
As the time Kaylan has left ebbs away, hope begins to fade… That is, until she discovers a plot to destroy all five bloodlines in possession of the Relics.
A rebel force plans to put an end to Rennard’s rule and Kaylan suddenly finds herself embroiled in a cause that might just be worth fighting for. But no cause is without its costs…
As her life hangs in the balance and rebellion bears down on Edriast, Kaylan must decide where her loyalties lie – and how she’ll leave her mark on the world.
Relic is the absorbing first novel in The Relic Trilogy, a thrillingly dark YA fantasy series.
And now, for my review of Relic!
Before that, though, I’d like to thank Shealea over at Shut up, Shealea and Caffeine Book Tours for choosing me as one of the hosts of the Relic blog tour, as well as Talem Press for providing me with an advance copy. I’m so happy I got to read Bronwyn Eley’s promising fantasy debut for my first blog tour ever!
We are introduced to the world of Relic in the city of Edriast, where Lord Rennard, who has hold of the magical gemstone, rules with an iron fist. The narrative doesn’t stray from Edriast and we experience the city with its every aspect: from the imposing castle to the slums and lush companion houses, Edriast comes alive as Kaylan, a young Blacksmith apprentice and the narrator, navigates being pulled away from her life and dropped into one of danger, conspiracy and uncertainty. I must say I loved reading about Kaylan and Shae’s friendship, as well as Kaylan’s bond with her brothers. It establishes her as a family-oriented, selfless person as she later takes huge risks to ensure their safety.
“What had this city turned us into? Nothing but puppets to a grand master.”
However, she is not able to stop thinking of her own well-being as the elusive Relic’s power consumes her, slowly breaking her in body and in spirit. The supporting cast both inside the castle and in the city can ultimately provide little help for her, but they stay by her side and support her. One character in particular, Jesper, makes actual effort to save Kaylan’s life and becomes a genuine friend to her. This is a welcome change, because Kaylan is rarely treated with any sympathy by anyone throughout the book and it gets worse as the Relic takes its toll on her. She begins turning on herself as well. Her inner conflict and the rising stakes are depicted so well that I think the middle through the end is the strongest section of this book.
“I wasn’t some quivering animal caught in a hunter’s sight. I was angry. The words came out in a low snarl, deep from my chest, as if I really was a wild beast.”
We follow Kaylan through shady taverns, secret passageways and castle dungeons, the setting works with the story to create a claustrophobic, almost drowning atmosphere. In that aspect it reminded me a bit of Mervyn Peake’s Gormenghast series but although Relic spans only one city, the larger world is hinted at by the ending and the existence of four other Relics belonging to four other bloodlines. It’s good set-up for the future books and later parts of Kaylan’s journey.
I do wish we got to learn more about the magic system, because honestly, despite its destructive qualities I couldn’t help but wonder if the Relic could have any redeeming qualities. So far it has only brought death and ruin, but maybe there’s more to it. I especially liked that it was… personalized, at times. Almost playing with Kaylan’s mind the way a cat would with mice.
“It was as if it had a voice of its own. The Relic. It had no words, but it mocked me.”
Overall, if you are a fan of:
- Dark fantasy heavy on political intrigue
- Gormenghast-like claustrophobic worldbuilding
- Quietly festering beginnings and explosive endings
… you don’t want to miss this.
So, these are my thoughts on Relic! Continue scrolling for a playlist and moodboard inspired it, I had so much fun making them! Please let me know what you think in the comments as well as the upcoming Twitter chat (more info on that below!).
A Relic Playlist by Me ♫
Wolfpack by Johannes Bornlöf
Falling Too Far by Mellancolia
Walk Towards Silence by Kasper Schill
The Otherside by Wolf Colony
My House by PVRIS
Power is Power by SZA (ft The Weeknd)
The Killing Kind by Marianas Trench
All Die Young by Smith Westerns
Venom by Eminem
On My Way by Alan Walker (ft Sabrina Carpenter)
September 16 (Monday)
- Blog tour launch (from Shut up, Shealea)
- Post from A Bronx Latina Reads
- Post from hollylovesbooks
- Post from Sifa Elizabeth Reads
September 17 (Tuesday)
- Post from Heart’s Content
- Post from Laurensliterarylibrary
- Post from Sincerely Karen Jo
- Post from Words of Hannah Kay
- Post from Zany Bibliophile
September 18 (Wednesday)
- Author interview (from Shut up, Shealea)
- Post from The Book Piles
- Post from Gwendalyn’s Books
- Post from The Inked In Book Blog
- Post from Lost in Storyland
- Post from One in a Million
September 19 (Thursday)
- Post from Al-Alhambra
- Post from Lori’s Bookshelf Reads
- Post from Milles Rêves en Moi
- Post from Novel Nerd Faction
- Post from Sometimes Leelynn Reads
September 20 (Friday)
- Creative post (from Shut up, Shealea)
- Post from Belle’s Archive
- Post from Blissful Reveries
- Post from Book Geek Musings
- Post from Bookworm Muse
- Post from Open Pages
September 21 (Saturday)
- Post from A Bookworms’s Chapters
- Post from Bibliomedico
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- Post from Its Just A Coffee Addicted Bibliophile
- Twitter chat hosted by @CaffeineTours 9:00 AM Eastern Standard Time (EST)9:00 PM Philippine Time
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.
Author website —https://bronwyneley.com/
Facebook — http://facebook.com/bronwyneleyauthor
Instagram — http://instagram.com/letters_from_neverland
Twitter — http://twitter.com/bronwyneley