Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review: Relic by Heather Terrell

Title: Relic
Author: Heather Terrell
Genre: Young-adult, Dystopian
Series: Books of Eva #1

Hardcover, 288 pages
Publication: October 29, 2013 by Soho Teen

Source: I received an arc from the publicist in exchange for a honest review.

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When Eva’s twin brother, Eamon, falls to his death just a few months before he is due to participate in The Testing, no one expects Eva to take his place. She’s a Maiden, slated for embroidery classes, curtseys, and soon a prestigious marriage befitting the daughter of an Aerie ruler. But Eva insists on honoring her brother by becoming a Testor. After all, she wouldn’t be the first Maiden to Test, just the first in 150 years.

Eva knows the Testing is no dance class. Gallant Testors train for their entire lives to search icy wastelands for Relics: artifacts of the corrupt civilization that existed before The Healing drowned the world. Out in the Boundary Lands, Eva must rely on every moment of the lightning-quick training she received from Lukas—her servant, a Boundary native, and her closest friend now that Eamon is gone.

But there are threats in The Testing beyond what Lukas could have prepared her for. And no one could have imagined the danger Eva unleashes when she discovers a Relic that shakes the Aerie to its core.

Relic isn’t like most dystopian novels out in the genre nowadays. It isn’t violent (no fighting or killing involved) or action packed like most…but it doesn’t make the book any less interesting. Every year there is a ‘Testing’ where young men from prominent families participate in to find relics of the past society (before the flooding about 240 years ago). These relics are suppose to teach/educate the people of Aerie the evil ways of the past society and what eventually caused the wipe-out of most of population save for a few people (which makes up the current society of Aerie). Eva, daughter of an Aerie ruler is the first woman ever to participate in The Testing, taking her deceased brother Eamon’s place. Whoever finds the most important/worthy relic win the high position of Chief Archon. Eva not only is carrying out Eamon’s final wish to take part in The testing but also prove to everyone that a Maiden-lady is also capable of participating in The Testing. 

Relic grabbed me right off the bat. The prologue shows Eamon somewhat preparing for The Testing a few months prior and that during one of his climbs he falls to his death…except it wasn’t accidental. The big question from the start is who murdered Eamon and what did he know that was worth killing for?

Eva, Eamon’s twin sister is a strong-willed protagonist, which is one of the many reasons why I love dystoians. Eva is always questioning the society rules, and of course wanting more to life than to be a Maiden/Wife. Most of the people of Aerie and the male testers couldn’t believe that Eva, a woman was testing because she seemed too fragile. Not only did Eva hold her own in everything she did, she also did better than most of the testers that’s been studying/practicing for it all their life. 

The world-building/setting is quite straightforward. Aerie’s society lives by the Lex rules (which is based off the bible), and the reason for The Testing is to retrieve artifacts from before the flood to teach the people of Aerie the wicked ways that caused the downfall of mankind. Example some of the past ‘relics’ they found was Apple products (yes, as in the Apple ipad, or iphone that so many people use today), credit cards, pharmaceutical meds, and other materialistic products such as luxury handbags and cosmetic. Instead of a futuristic-dystopian that is depicted in most books out today, Relic is the complete opposite. It is as if the society went back to how things were 240 years in the past not the future. Terrell’s world is highly creative, and it’s kind of scary to see the truth in how much society worships these materialistic products. 

The novel started out strong and dragged a bit in the middle during the testing but picked up again toward the end. For most of the book Eva is out in the arctic tundra, utilizing her survival skills to stay alive and search for Relics embedded in the ice crevasses. Overall Relic was pretty good; it had a different kind of dystopian vibe going on…which is refreshing to read. Since this is the first book in a planned series, I hope the characters will be more fleshed out in the next books, and to learn more about the people of Aerie, The Healing, and who murdered Eamon. The book is well-written and the short chapters made for a quick read.  There are also a couple of pictures here and there in the book, which I also thought was pretty cool (based off ARC). I definitely recommend this book to other Dystopian book lovers. For those who are new to the genre, Relic would be a great start to the genre! 

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