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The truth will test you...

For fans of Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games: high fantasy and dystopia meet in this high-stakes tale of a civilization built on lies and the girl who single-handedly brings it down.

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.

288 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2013

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About the author

Heather Terrell

10 books389 followers
Heather Terrell is a lawyer with more than ten years' experience as a litigator at two of the country's premier law firms and for Fortune 500 companies. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Boston College with a focus in History and Art History, and a cum laude graduate of the Boston University School of Law. She lives in Pittsburgh with her family.
Heather is the author of The Chrysalis and The Map Thief, which will appear in more than ten countries, as well as Brigid of Kildare. She turned her hand to young adult fiction with the Fallen Angel series, and continues it with the upcoming series The Books of Eva. The first book in the series -- Relic -- releases in October 2013.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 198 reviews
December 17, 2013
"We need to learn again of the hunger for Tylenols that poisoned our minds; the thirst for Cokes that weakened our bodies; the greed for MasterCards that toppled our rulers. All this evil spawned from the worship of the false god Apple...”
Um, excuse me? For fans of Game of Thrones? The Hunger Games? Not fucking likely. This is more like the result of feeding a copy of The Hunger Games through an industrial-sized paper shredder and mixing up the remnants with the stinking, rotting entrails of a long-deceased direwolf.

...ok, maybe not those. But one of their bigger, more threatening, less cute relatives.

The setting can only be described generously as mediocre. The heroine is a piece of fluff, so insignicant and insipid that I can't even hate her. Her internal monologue is an endless litany of anemic observations and internal monologue full of mind-boggling monotony. "I'm a Maiden! A Maiden must do this! A Maiden must do that! Woe is me! I'm a Testor! I'm such a bad Maiden!" Lol bitch plz. There is nothing about Eva that makes her a credible character, much less one capable of fulfilling the Testing process. She is untrained. She radiates wussiness. There is nothing about Eva that indicates toughness, ability, capability, and I am simply aghast at how easily she fulfils her tasks in this book.

Eva is determined. It means nothing. I'm determined to be the next Prime Minister of England (because Tom Hiddleston). I am very determined. And guess what? It means jack shit. Determination is nothing if you don't have the strength and the skills to back it up, and Eva has NOTHING with which to back up her determination to complete the Testing in memory of her brother.

And while we're counting down the crap, naturally, there's a love triangle between a dark native boy of a low social class and a perfect, high-society golden Guardian boy that goes fucking nowhere. You'll find out in the sequel!

I'm a pessimist. Some of you may secretly suspect that I'm a evil evil wicked terrible hate-filled person with blackness in her heart who thinks the majority of the people on this earth are a complete waste of air. You would be correct. With that said, I grudgingly concede the fact that humans in general are pretty fucking smart, which makes the entire premise of this stupid book absurd beyond belief. I'm a Buddhist. We believe in reincarnation. If I were destined to be reincarnated into a society such as this, I'd ask the gods to just fucking terminate my soul already. I don't want to live in a society and inhabit a body that could be so fucking gullible.

Summary: It's 200-ish years in the future? The polar caps melted, and the world is doom, doom, doomed, washed out in a ginormous flood. Billions of people have died; our current society would call it a tragedy beyond belief, a disaster, a horror unimaginable.

This moronic excuse society calls it "The Great Healing." They call themselves the people of the Aerie. I call them the New Taliban (explanation later). All remnants of modernity (our current society) is banned; Apple (the brand) is feared, reviled beyond belief as the instigator and root of all that is sinful, depraved, evil.

Viable land is only available in the North, where our current society is settled. Every 10 years, a new leader, a Chief Archon is selected to be the leader of their people through a process called Testing, and through the writing of an exemplary Chronicle. Eva and Eamon are twins; she is a Maiden, he is a Guardian, who has been training to be a Testor his entire life only to die several months before the actual Testing starts. Eva decides to perform the test in his place, despite a lifetime spent being a proper young Maiden, despite having undergone little training, despite her role she has been preparing for her entire life, as a "pretty, slender, and demure Maiden."

The Testing process can only be described as half-assed. It's a two-parter, composed of riding a sled through to the next part as fast as possible, which doesn't really seem to matter at all in the run of things because the speed doesn't seem to make a whit of a difference as long as you get to the next fucking part of the Test, and an excavation of an icy chasm in order to find a Relic. The entire thing is more luck than skill; if you happen to find a good Relic, you're golden, if not, you're shit out of luck.

Let's make this clear: the leader of the society is chosen based on the value of the Relic he or she happens to dig up. Eva's valuable contribution to society, her immensely prized Relic, the one that gets her so much praise and laudation is...


After a half-hearted testing process and the writing of a Chronicle that can only be charitably described as the type of fanfiction I wrote when I was 12, Eva succeeds far beyond her imagination. Along the way, there's some whisperings of doubts about society that's more of an afterthought than anything else. That's it. Until the sequel (no, thank you). There is no intrigue. There is little action. There is no danger. There is nothing in here remotely evocating anything similar to The Hunger Games and Game of Thrones and I fucking hate books and premises that make these incredbily grandiose claims that invoke those famous books in vain.

The Setting: Fucking cheap. Bloody cheap. A well-done setting is woven into the fabrics of the story, it does not rely on a fucking TIMELINE at the beginning of the book to describe the history of the dystopian society. It does not rely on a fucking textbook recitation and monotonous incantation of text in order to tell the reader about the past.
I raise my eyes and lift my hands toward the heavens, as my father asks the Four Sacred Questions for the Feast of the Testing.
“Why is this night different from all other nights?” he intones.
“Because, on this night, we ask the Gods to bless our Testors as they prepare for their sacred trials.”
It is utterly devoid of creativity, and I hate, hate, hate the use of rote "lessons" within the book to teach us about a society's past.

There is so much wrong with this book, and much of it has to do with the terrible, cheap world building. I said cheap, and I mean it. I have said it so many times in so many failed dystopian novels. The very backbone of a good dystopian novel is a credible premise, a credible society; this book fails on every single point. From a credible background to a plausible post-apocalyptic society to the setup of that society, nothing makes any bloody sense. This book doesn't build a dystopian society from the ground up, it starts with the idea of what it wants the society to be, and twists facts and events of the past around to fit its needs.

The current society is 200-something years in the future, and according to the timeline, a new religion was established some 10 years after the devastating events of the Flood. The fuck? Seriously? 10 YEARS? It takes a hell of a lot more than that to erase the memories of people, to instill within them the fact that this and that is evil, it takes hundreds of years, it takes the collective belief of everyone, I refuse to believe that the survivors are brainwashed so much that a whole new lexicon of gods and new definitions of good and evil can be established within that short of a time.

The dystopian society within the book is just terribly built. I don't even know how many fucking people there are remaining in this society. There are no customs, there are no descriptions, there is no mention of what their structure is besides that of the top people. We don't know how society works. We don't know how they live their life, day by day. We know they have a greenhouse where they grow food, but that's pretty much it. I don't know what the buildings look like, I don't know how society works, I don't know any fucking thing about this society besides the fact that it's unfair and I'm supposed to hate it because Eamon's journal mentions something vague about its falseness.

It's the fucking frozen Arctic. Right now, with all our current technology, humans still don't settle there. You know why? IT'S ONE OF THE HARSHEST TERRAIN ON EARTH. People don't settle there for a reason, few do, like the Inuits. It's a hard fucking life. You have to work your fucking ass off, hunting and gathering. If a new society fucking settles there in the future, I want to see some viable proof that their society can exist. As far as I can tell, the people in this book pulled their survival skills right out of a polar bear's ass. You see, they have ruuuuuuuules. It's the fucking New Taliban. Girls are called Maidens. They have RULES imposed on them, they have to be modest, short dresses are a no-no, if they could wear it (which they can't, cause...well, the Arctic, bitches), ever try to wear a fucking miniskirt in cold weather? If I had balls, they'd be frozen off by now and I'd be female by process of frosty castration. But yeah, this society concerns itself with stupid shitty little details like that INSTEAD OF FOCUSING ON SURVIVAL.

Come, Mr. Taliban, gather me some bullshit: Mirrors? Banned! Vanity is bad!!! Tylenol? How about Tyle-no! (That's paracetamol for you UK peepz) Apple is the literal root of evil because these fucking morons think that Apple is the cause for society's downfall, and any mention of The Ebiiiiiil God Apple gets you a clutching of pearls and some swooning.

Girls and women are treated like we're fucking pussies, man. Let's get one thing straight, when you need to survive, all thoughts of gender inequalities go out the fucking window. You would think in the harsh Arctic, women would be treated equally because you would need all women to work as hard as men to gather resources, food, supplies, right? It was that way in the American West, farmers and their wives worked side by side to survive.

BZZZZZZ. WRONG. This book says "fuck you" to that concept of gender equality. Instead, it has established a rigid, structured society where women are weak, wilted, fainting fucking flowery fairies. Here are some of those fucking gems for you, according to the Bible-like rule of books, the Lex:
"The Lex clearly states that a wife follows her husband’s commands."
"A Maiden should be more solemn: let no humor cross your lips unless invited by the Gallant, Gentleman, or Lord in your company."
"I think on the admonitions for Maidens: be ever pleasing to the eye and ear."
I don't bloody think so. This society wouldn't last a day in Canada, much less the Arctic.

Stop it with the whole ice cap melting thing already, YA dystopia: Cause it ain't happening. Five minutes of research will tell you this. All that will happen when the ice caps melt is that society will have to move further inland. It's not going to be like fucking Waterworld. Billions of people are not going to die from floods, let me ease your mind on that. No worries, because we'll die of starvation, war, and disease first.


Yeah. I know humans are terrible. I know we're destroying the planet, but we didn't get this way by being fucking idiots in the past several thousand years, so don't try to sell this book's sorry ass bullshit excuse of a society on me.

Humans are some puny-ass fucking creatures with neither extra horns nor legs or bulked up strength; pitch us against a hippo or a ginormous predator and chances are in favor of the thing with teeth and horns and a lot of fucking anger at the tasty snack that has invaded its personal space. But goddamn it, we have a huge brain capable of a tremendous amount of intellect, capable of higher thinking and analytical skills (even if such capacities go completely unused in some people. I don't want to name names, but their names rhyme with Lardashian). It's worked out so well that in nary a few thousand years, we've gone from Yabba-Dabba-Dooing cavemen to being on the verge of destroying entire ecosystems and bringing forth another Ice Age before it's due to naturally happen. So don't sell me on the idiotic premise of this book.

I can't help but feel like this book would have been better if it were rebranded and resold as a satire. Maybe it is a satire. Maybe I'm wrong all along.
Profile Image for Faye, la Patata.
492 reviews2,110 followers
August 18, 2013
Since we're way past the time when Paranormal Romance was the trend, many have deemed it proper to attribute their dystopian books to the one and only that started this "Dystopian Craze", the Hunger Games. However, when books get compared to this precious book in their blurbs and synopses, I instantly become wary and suspicious, not only because I'm against riding the success of another novel, but also because, more often than not, the excitement that was built would only result to mere and utter disappointment. "For fans of the Hunger Games!" "Like the Hunger Games!" "Similar to the Hunger Games!" I could just drown in the amount of blurbs that had these only to find out later that they were very subpar. I just find it absolutely sad that there are attempts to make a half-assed dystopian book just to ride the bandwagon.

I guess publishers has noticed this, so they decided to put in another great series to the mix to attract readers: Game of Thrones. My friends, if you've watched and read the books, you'll see that GoT is very, very complex. It features an intricate and intriguing web of relationships and scandals that can even shock the hardest of hearts. It features twists and turns that would make a reader cry and throw the books in good frustration.

Relic doesn't even come close. Did it frustrate me? Hell yes, it did.

I am utterly offended how it even dared to say it's for fans of the Hunger Games AND the Game of Thrones when its premise is so ridiculous and simple. I am offended how the blurb said it's a high fantasy when it's nowhere near like it. I'm offended how it promised me a good read when throughout reading it, I was either a.) bored out of my frigging mind; b.) laughing my heart out because of how nonsensical it was.

Okay, first, the premise. It was ridiculous. I understand the need to give something original, but holy mother of god, this is not something I would've considered for any book even if I were high on drugs. So some apocalyptic event happened that killed billions of people on Earth (not explained what it was yet), and a handful of people evacuated to the icelands in the North and found a new settlement called New North. Two hundred years later, the community became more backward than forward with the women doing maidenly, demure roles who can't possibly do hard work as the men, and the men being chivalrous and shit and blah blah blah. There is obvious marginalization and there are even classes where some are deemed higher than the others. Right, I'm expected to believe something like that when their ancestors just came from the world we have today. But alright, for the sake of this book, I'll go along with that.

Then, we find out that this new civilization worships some sort of sacred book that dictates their laws and traditions called The Lex. And their leaders tell the people that the world has ended due to certain evils. What are these evils, you ask? They blame the end of the world on man-made medicine like Tylenol, Advil, Prozacs for ruining the mind; on sodas like Coca-Cola for weakening the bodies; on cards like Visas, MasterCards, American Express for toppling rulers; and on the super tech company Apple... yes... that Apple with a quarter-bitten fruit as a logo. They believed their ancestors worshipped this god, with the tablets like iPads as their altars and shit like that.

Granted, the book explains later on (albeit rather shakily) that things are not what they seem and that there is a huge (gasp) lie, but sweet baby jesus, what the flying fuck is this??!! Sure, I've never seen something like this before, but there's a good reason why it has never been seen before, and it's because it's just beyond ridiculous. Am I supposed to take something like this seriously? When you're making a dystopia, the book has to make sure the premise is believable. You have to make sure that the reader would also think the setting is feasible in the future, and that you instill an internal fear of what is going to happen and what may happen. Tylenol, Advil, Coke, Mastercard, Apple... yeesh, yeah right. Take all of that and forget about wars of conquests, or religious wars, or attempts of making nuclear energy and weapons, just blame it on poor Santa Clause Coke for making us all obese and unhealthy.

The book tried to be serious and different, but it still read like the same formulaic books we've been given throughout the years. There's a hierarchy, some Triad leaders, and of course, there's the competition where the brightest of the generation go against each other in the cold wild to look for relics from the past that would remind the community the role these relics had in the destruction of the world two hundred years past. Eva, the main character, who only had a few months of training compared to the others who have prepared for this all their lives, go against them and all odds, to win for her deceased twin brother. Okay.

Here's the thing. The internal first-person narration of Eva was awful. Absolutely horrible. It was very monotonous and robotic, and very telling than showing. Paragraphs upon paragraphs, pages upon pages, I'd been given descriptions of what the main character was seeing, the description of the surroundings, what she was doing, etc. etc. that her personality, if ever she had one, wasn't shown. She was as bland as a cardboard, and as interesting as watching paint dry. Usually, when we have first person narratives, it should be more personal, more intimate. I should be given a deeper relationship with the character, but because it was so fucking dull, I didn't feel for her and didn't even root for her. I just wanted to get this book over with already. And the times where there were personal thoughts, it would be in the form of questions. ALL THE FREAKING TIME. Question after question after question, giving the impression that she's really deeper than what we think her to be, but I've always found this a cheap tactic.

There would be questions like (non-verbatim):

Is Jasper really who I think he is? Or did he just come up to me to make me believe he was really hurt or was he just spying on me?

What did Eamon mean when he said he must do what he must? Was he going to do something unthinkable?

There were a lot more but I've forgotten most of them. These are just some of the questions that I thought from the top of my head, but probably aren't the questions word-for-word. But, in any case, the deal here is the narration never felt personal to me. It was too formal for my taste. It was dull, it was lifeless, and I skimmed so much that I didn't even miss anything vital. And did I say she had no personality whatsoever? Yeah, that and kept on mentioning her twin brother all the time.

"But I'm stronger now because I have Eamon's strength with me."

"I struggle, but I remember that I have Eamon within me, too."

"This is not just for me, but for Eamon's dream as well."


And seriously though, the competition's supposed to be the hardest thing ever, but she's conveniently winning challenges after challenges without ever finding any real obstacle. As a character, she didn't grow at all. She was monotonous and dull from start to finish, and the scenes that were supposed to be exciting were dragged along by her lifelessness. It was just mind-numbingly boring.

And lol, the entrance of the romance in the end was so anti-climactic. Here we are, talking about lies and scandals and then, "Can you not see my feelings for you?" Dudes and dudettes, have you ever heard of the word "transition"?

Also, what is up with the jargon of words sprinkled all over the book? There were a lot of unfamiliar words placed here and there that I never really understood and never really thoroughly explained, like "upernagdlit", "inuit", "nunassiaq", and "quiasuqaq". DAFUQ, MAN?!

Overall, I'm sorry to say but I cannot recommend this book. You're free to read it for yourself and form your own conclusions, but I, personally, did not enjoy it, and would not wish my family and friends to endure the same torture. Do not let the blurb fool you - aside from the competition theme, it's not similar to the Hunger Games, and it's not even half as close to the Game of Thrones. If you're going to read this book with the expectation of reading something like those series mentioned, you will be sorely disappointed.
246 reviews
July 5, 2013
Really wanted more from this book -- I was told it was the next big thing in YA Lit so I knew not to believe that. However, I was expecting an okay kinda read. What I got was Hunger Games Ultra-Lite.

Great concept, but the plot was insultingly formulaic (and not very believable). Character development was non-existent. And the writing was boring.

I'm supposed to accept that Eva is a strident believer, yet she consistently breaks the social/religious laws that her people live by. I'm also supposed to swallow that someone with 4 months of training can compete in this ultimate outdoor survival competition with people who have been studying their entire lives? Not buyin' it.

Normally, you expect a character to grow and change as they go through their story, but Eva stays the same monotone cardboard cutout of a plucky heroine throughout.

The opportunity for excitement and terror and thrills were all there, but at no time did my heart rate increase -- not even when Eva hunted down the Musk Ox or when she discovered her Relic.

Yes, I learned a lot of Inuit words and know more about repelling down an ice cliff than I did before I read the book. But that's not why I read it. Sadly disappointed.
Profile Image for Kayla Beck Kalnasy.
331 reviews124 followers
August 30, 2013
So, I didn't really have an idea of what to expect from Relic by Heather Terrell, but I knew it wasn't going to be A Game of Thrones and/or The Hunger Games (nothing ever is). However, I was pleased with what I got. Relic is an imaginative mixture of post-apocalyptic quasi-dystopia with an epic quest aimed at a young adult audience. Sadly, there is no magic or fantasy. (Dear Game of Thrones Comparer, Here there not be dragons. Or incest.)

First off, I want to know why EVERYTHING has to be AGoT , THG , HP , etc. There are perfectly good books that stand well on their own. Relic was absolutely NOTHING like either book it is compared to except it has characters and words. And that's okay! It's a good book. However, Relic is NOT A Game of Thrones or The Hunger Games . It is Relic , and I demand that the comparisons stop.

*crickets chirping*

Okay then, to the book!

In the New North, the icy last human habitation on the planet, people have reverted to living in a medieval manner - women are demure cattle and left to their sewing or other womanly pastimes suitable for those unlucky enough to be born with vaginas, and men are everything else because they are men and penises are the best. (Yep, this vibe was there.) There is also a social hierarchy because gender discrimination is never enough. (Be honest - who doesn't love a good caste system?) My favorites were the bottom of the caste - the Boundary natives - who quietly abode the people of Aerie for Very Good Reasons. They are good, kind people, and I plan on running away with one of them if the New North thing ever comes about.

Eva is a Maiden (i.e. she doesn't have a penis and must do Woman Things) and daughter of the Chief Archon, as well as the main character of the novel. She has stepped out of the role expected of the women of Aerie (gasp!) by choosing to go through the Testing. This is not a testing like in recent YA novels or The Hunger Games - it is a quest young men (and Eva) must undertake in order to become an Archon. Eva does this as a way to stay connected with her twin brother Eamon, as this was always his dream. Because their holy book, the Lex, does not specifically prohibit the penisless gender from undertaking the challenge, she's the first Maiden to do so in 150 years.

The world-building and story itself was pretty good. The world has flooded because humanity was too obsessed with its evil false god, Apple, and used false remedies like Tylenol and other silliness. The people of the New North were those who were saved to live a more righteous life. The Archon-wannabes were extreme archaeologists for a month trying to find the best relic and tell the best story be chosen for the coveted job. It was interesting to read. I could say more about the New Northerners ideas about our world, but I don't want to spoil it. I just wish there had been some more character development.

I enjoyed Relic because it was not The Hunger Games or A Game of Thrones and a fascinating book on its own merit. If you're interested in reading about a girl who decides to become more than the vagina, take on an epic quest, and question what her society is based on, I highly recommend the book. However, if you're looking for The Hunger Games or A Game of Thrones , you should just go read them again. Relic is Relic and pretty damn good.

3.5/5 Stars

To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received an advance copy of the book briefly for reviewing purposes through Around the World ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The book was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.
Profile Image for Deb Lester.
617 reviews19 followers
November 7, 2013
Dystopian fiction meets high fantasy in Heather Terrell's first book in The Books of Eva series, Relic. Fans of The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones and The Inconvenient Truth will all find something to entertain and to make them think in this novel. In a post-apocalyptic icy world a young girl must test her survival skills and her beliefs about her society. This is a coming of age story that begs the question, is the history we have been taught real or is it colored by time and what the government wants us to believe? This is a powerful young adult novel that will have readers thinking beyond the box and outside the boundaries of what they already know. A great read!

I wasn't sure quite what to expect with this novel when I received it for review. My daughter is a huge fan of The Hunger Games series and I was afraid that this book would be too similar to peak my interest. Though there are threads comparable to Suzanne Collins' books here, there are some very strong differences.

When most readers look at a book from the dystopian genre there are several things usually present. Most dystopian literature is post-apocalyptic, as is this one. But most dystopian works feature a lot of violence and killing. Relic is different in the fact that there is basically no violence at all. The competitors in the testing are not competing to survive at the cost of the other Gallants. They are competing to see who can bring back the most influential relic, a piece of history frozen in time. I liked the fact that Terrell didn't need all the violence to make this story interesting. She kept the readers focus by attention to detail and great storytelling.

This is basically a quest novel. Eva's brother Eamon has met an early death as he trained for the testing. A maiden has not tested in over 150 years but Eva wants to honor the memory of her brother. She is underestimated by her family and her community but she has more heart than they believe she ever could. She faces the Arctic tundra and braves more than just the elements to bring back a Relic that may change the course of history for her people. Eva is a wonderful character. Resourceful and full of surprises. She challenges what she knows to be true at every turn and defies the odds against her. Terrell does a masterful job of giving readers a protagonist that is worthy of the title.

I liked the fact that Relic differs from other books in the genre in the fact that instead of being a highly evolved society, Aerie has basically went back in time instead of forward. When the Healing (flood brought on by the misuse of the Earth) cleansed the world, everything changed. But what Eva and the rest of her community have come to believe, may not be what really happened. I loved that digging up the artifacts allowed everyone to learn more about the Earth's culture before the Healing and what caused the destruction. I liked the idea behind the Lex and how those rules were set down. I also enjoyed the fact that Eva's discovery challenges the status quo and what everyone believes to be true.

Beyond being a great heroine based adventure story, Relic has a message. Perhaps sometimes we need people who think a little differently in our world. Being unique and different gives you a different perspective on the world at large. Don't always take what someone tells you as gospel. Search, investigate, think! I think this is a great start to a great series for teens and adults. I think Terrell does a great job of drawing the reader in and making them think.

In short, I want my kids to read this book. I want them to explore their own ideas and broaden their horizons. This is the kind of novel that does that. Well done!
Profile Image for Kat.
250 reviews7 followers
June 16, 2016
This book is so bad, I had to finish it to see how much worse it could get. I'm going to tell you the whole story here, so beware if you want to read this; you might not if you read this review.

Here we go: the gods have caused the ice caps to melt, leaving only a small patch of ice at the top of the globe, where The Chosen have been allowed to live. (There were indigenous people living there at the time, but The Chosen, being special and perfect, have taken over, pushing them to the outskirts and making them act as servants, naturally). Everyone is made to live in the image of "the golden age" of medieval Europe. Girls ("maidens") and boys ("gallants") have to act only in their specific prescribed ways, covering up except for hands and face (because any skin at all is scandalous), despite the fact that survival is paramount, and not letting females do anything is incredibly stupid when you're fighting for survival. As is renouncing technology, but I digress.

250 years after the flood ("the Healing"), Eva's twin brother has died in an "accident" (they tell you in the prologue it wasn't actually an accident but muuuuurrrrdeeeeer) while completing training for The Testing, where all the best, able-bodied 18 year olds compete for a place in the ruling class. Eva decides to take on her brother's work and enter The Testing herself. Despite the fact that women are basically arm candy that breed, she isn't technically forbidden, and trains REALLY SUPER HARD for 3 months, so we know she's got a real chance, even though all the other contestants have been training for literally years. No sweat! She *did* have the assistance of a Borderlands Person to teach her everything she needed to know.

Thus far, I'm interested, despite the issues. But the testing starts, and Eva takes her dog sled (?) and off they go. First, there's a survival-type race, wherein the testers have to hunt for food, create shelters, and get to the edge of the ice FIRST! And they get extra points if they get there first! (No, they get points if they get the best relic! Wait, no, they get points for the best story they write about their relics... Wait, no, there's no talk about points at all. So there's no reason to be first.) Anyway, on the way, Eva finds and manages to kill a musk ox along her journey, and also carry it back to camp, butcher it, and use its (uncured?) fur for warmth, cook it, and eat and feed the sled dogs, all in a couple hours because she has to stop moving by dusk.

We learn more about the Healing as she travels. Apparently the Chosen people believe that the world was flooded because everyone was always praying to "the false god, Apple" (wait, seriously?) and the demon minions MasterCard, coca-cola, and Hershey; and using evil medications like Prozac and Tylenol. (Depression, we are told, is a disease that only affects people who are corrupted by greed.) The symbolism is not what one would call Subtle.

So, then Eva gets to the testing site, and finally finds a Relic - a remnant from the world before, found frozen in the ice, that testers dig out at great personal peril to themselves. It's a color she's never seen before - PINK! (We have been told that there's a greenhouse for plants in her community, and that Eva really enjoyed botany... but apparently this doesn't include anything that flowers with pink blossoms, like peas.) It's the same size and shape as her backpack, and it has straps like her backpack. What could it be?! It's a backpack! (Shocker!) containing a wallet (with the dreaded MasterCard inside it), a book about ballet (with SCANDALOUS photos!), and some makeup... And also a compass, because reasons. Why someone who is fleeing for her life would choose these items is beyond me. If you have time to stop and get ziploc bags to keep your stuff safe and dry, and time to get a compass, you can stand to ditch the makeup and take something sentimental, like family photos. But no, the girl to whom the backpack belonged - her wallet tells us that her name is Elizabet - only had photos of her own self.

After excavating their relic, each tester has to write a story as to why this particular thing they found contributed to the downfall of society. Eva decides to write a narrative of the girl's life before the end, as if she were Elizabet. So dramatic! Especially the part where Eva knows so little about ballet that she says it's a ritualistic kind of burlesque, where she's hating her own life but it's her duty to get naked and pirouette (how does she know ballet terms and not what ballet is?), and how she steps over all the coca-cola and Hershey packaging in the streets while wearing high heels and mini skirts, before taking a Prozac to numb the pain of existence. She even uses the phrase: "Oh Apple, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name" despite the fact that her gods are the sun and the earth, and nobody has mentioned the bible at all, so where the heck did the Our Father come from, fer feck's sake?

Anyway. Eva sends this story off to her town (via carrier pigeon, which can apparently hold entire manuscripts at this point in history, and not just scraps of paper), before realizing that - ditzy witzy! - fiction is forbidden, and she could be put to death for writing fictional stories. Whoopsie!

Even after that's all done, she and the other testers are still trying to find more relics, because maybe the next one you find will be the best one ever. On the last day, she finds, near the backpack... A BODY! She just *knows* that it's Elizabet, and she can see that it's holding the ultimate in evil: a laptop (she thinks it's a prayer altar), with the horrible Apple logo right on it! She takes the altar, as well a USB necklace (which she calls The Amulet, and believes that Elizabet whispered prayers to it and kept it close to her heart). She's a skeleton! Or, skeletal. Not quite sure. BUT IT'S TOTALLY HER.

So she doesn't tell anybody about this discovery at all, and hides it in her stuff, and then the testing is over and they all go back home, where she is paranoid that they're going to kill her for writing fiction, but instead she wins the whole contest, just like anyone who trained for 3 months instead of years like the competition totally should win.

The Borderlands guy - who is totally in love with her, as all foreigners are wont to do with people who attempt to enslave them - sees the laptop and actually knows what it is. (Side note: she hid it in her stinky laundry, saying nobody would look there. Eva, you've got servants who LURVE you. They're not going to ignore your stanky stuff. But irrelevant, because apparently she didn't actually hide it so much as put it somewhere near the laundry, and the guy sees it.) He takes it away, promising to see if it has any secrets to reveal.

So, the guy (whose name I can't remember despite having finished this book only an hour ago, and i don't care enough to look it up) reveals that the Borderlands people don't believe any of the BS, and they actually know how to use technology. He has a solar charger that TOTALLY WORKS on a 250 year old laptop that had been frozen, unprotected, in ice for centuries, and he's able to recover photos and videos. He tells Eva everything, and she starts to believe, but keeps asking questions that made me realize that her stupidity isn't actually naivety, as I hoped, but actual stupidity. He shows her it's not an altar but a machine, that it's not evil but a piece of technology. Which is also evil.

But Apple isn't a god?! Oh, ok. But wait, why did they pray to Apple, then?! Oh, right, they didn't. But then why did they pray to MasterCard? Dude, catch up: it's not true. It's not until the guy figures out that she's not following that he finally says, "gee, it's a shame we don't have her necklace!" and Eva pulls it out, insisting that she still thought it was a prayer amulet, teehee.

So! She finally finds out that her brother had figured all this out and was a danger to the community, and she's like, "wow, what a coincidence that he happened to die in a freak accident right after finding that out!" (Holy crap, Eva.) She goes back home, finding that a guy she likes (their parents want them to marry, and the parents are the only ones who get a day, but that's fine because he adores her) has snuck out to follow her, and they get caught together- the punishment for which, for some reason is death. But she saves the day by proclaiming him her betrothed, which works because reasons. This guy (Jasper) was in the rest of the book, too, but he's mostly there trying to save the day because she's just a girl (a girl who can single-handedly kill a musk ox- she doesn't need saving. Much.)

End. But don't worry, there are sequels.

Someone, please. Deliver us from (the Books of) Eva.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Arianna.
381 reviews62 followers
October 15, 2013

Dear Reader,

I have to admit, I was a bit put off by this book's description. Yes, as Amber mentioned in her review of another YA dystopian-fantasy book: Here we go again, right? This is like the spate of vampire novels we saw spawn off of Twilight, or the many imitations of Fifty Shades. Enough already, right?!

The thing is, though, I also have to admit that I kind of like these dystopian-fantasy books. All of the ones I've come across since The Hunger Games have featured strong, smart, independent female protagonists whom the reader watches grow from child to adult over the span of the series. I have enjoyed the authors' ideas of future worlds -- the things which just might actually happen if we continue to live our lives or steer our societies the way we currently do. Some I like more (*cough* Divergent ) than others (*cough* Matched ), but whatever the book, they've all had that strong theme running through them all, and that can't be bad for all of those impressionable pre-teens and teenagers reading those books and identifying with such a good role model, right?

So, to speak specifically to Relic, of course you already know the overarching premise: a girl who is forced to grow up, to test her own limits, in a dystopian society which was caused by the result of a cataclysmic societal reorganization. She must break wide open the secrets and unreasonable rules which these seemingly-strong societies are, in truth, teetering upon. Etc., etc., etc.

But, this one was definitely its own take on the matter. In the first place, it's set in the Arctic north, which radically limits its people to the protection their society can offer from the cold and the wild outside the city walls. They are the only people left on Earth, following an epic flood. They live austerely; they are Luddites, live off the land, and many cannot read. And they believe society used to worship a false god called Apple. This last point annoyed me to no end: clearly, Apple would not be the company which every single person eventually "converted" to! But, I did like how the biblical connotations (the apple with a bite taken out, the flood) were all interconnected, and the author sufficiently explained her choice of imagining a Steve Jobs-inspired empire later on in the book. But I found that detail distracting for most of the novel, because I couldn't figure out if Terrell meant the company Apple, or the original-sin apple, and was confused every time she referred to it.

In any case, the society that had been set up post-apocalypse fascinated me; I would have loved to have learned more about it. Perhaps the other novels will reveal more of this society the author imagined. Additionally, I was very intrigued by the prelude to the book, wherein Eva loses her brother. A mystery is presented to the reader there which is actually never resolved by the end of the first book, and might be the one reason I'd sincerely want to continue reading the rest of the series.

This book read quickly, and took me on quite a ride -- a journey over the tundra on dogsled, a perilous climbing and excavation expedition, and even a secretive flight through Inuit territory. I enjoyed the constant exposure to nature all around Eva, and the survival skills that are touched upon. There were some things I felt could have been a little more fleshed out, and the characterizations certainly weren't the best I've ever seen, but, all in all, this was a fun little adventure.

Happy reading!,
Profile Image for Cheryl.
5,070 reviews183 followers
December 31, 2013
I chose this book to read as it sounded very promising and intriguing. However looks can be deceiving. While I did like the idea of the story, I found the characters dull and the story boring (lacking in any action). The story was all over the place without really any good explanation. For example, Eva is racing along in the cold wilderness as part of the testing and when she reaches the rest point one of her biggest competitors and suppose love interest, Jasper has already arrived. Eva wonders how he arrived before her as she never saw him once while she was racing hundreds of miles in the snow. Yet she drops it without a second thought. Really?! Then a mysterious man comes to Eva's aid but his identity is not revealed until later. Oh and there is the world that Eva is living in. It is suppose to be the new modern age in Finland but there is no concrete explanation as to why or how the people got there. The artifacts are to be a great discovery but Eva finds a picture of a ballerina and her body. Proving that the ballerina never made it to her destination and her love. Finally throw in the mix of the Bible and baby Jesus. This book is nothing like Game of Thrones or Hunger Games and should not be compared to either book. Ugh.
Profile Image for Tanya.
369 reviews2 followers
January 2, 2017
I just don't know what to say about this book. Is it about religion? Is it about Scientology? It talks about the Apple god, sun god, earth god and God in the Bible. Sounds like Eva lives in a cult and not much more to say about us it and I don't think I really care what happens.

Not the book for me!
Profile Image for Keith.
Author 4 books70 followers
June 11, 2013
Like every year, I came home from Book Expo America 2013 with a trunk full of books. They always look so good on the show floor, all new and shiny. One in particular, the ARC of Heather Terrell’s Relic, caught me by surprise, and not just because of its compelling story and characters. No, what first grabbed my attention was the reaction my 14-year-old daughter had to it. As if some sixth-sense drew her, she pulled the book from my luggage without so much as touching those around it, hugged it tightly, and announced in the breathy tones reserved for Suzanne Collins and Veronica Rossi, “This looks soooooo good!”

Now, I needed that book back, pronto. I promised the incredible Meredith Barnes of Soho a review, and I planned to have Relic read and reviewed as quickly as I could. To my daughter’s great disappointment, I demanded she return it, promising to hand it over as soon as I finished. I worried she’d nag me constantly to get my reading done.

She didn’t have to. Relic had me by the end of the prologue--whose events, by the way, are all over the promotional material. I knew what would happen, and I lived it anyway. Chapter one slows things down a bit, introducing Eva, the heroine, her place in this dystopian society, and all the important scene-setting requirements. Ms. Terrell does these with a deft hand, never over-playing, never focusing on anything that would detract from the pacing.

Eva is young, but tragedy has matured her. She feels real, and a little average. This trait, her every-woman-ness, plays well as the book’s events unfold. Instead of protagonist with some incredible advantage--hidden power, legacy, strength, what-have-you--Eva faces her challenges as anyone might, with just her courage and determination to see her through.

I particularly loved her quest for hidden relics in the New North’s frozen chasms. The tone is one of adventure and discovery, a nice change of pace from the dizzying action sequences I’m used to. That’s not to say Relic’s pedestrian. Far from it. Tension fills the pages, but unlike stories that put characters in jeopardy to increase the stress, here it’s the need to see what Eva unearths next that trait me riveted. Not once did I dare peak ahead to see ow she deals with her obstacles. Relic is all about the moment, and those moments drew me in so deeply, I rode the story from one to the next, relishing the anticipation. Not wanting to spoil it.

Physically, Relic’s world is well realized, but that’s nothing compared to the detail Ms. Terrell put into its society and history. I can’t go into details without venturing into spoiler territory. I’ll tell you that Ms. Terrell has a good deal to say about society. Occasionally, it closes in on preachiness without actually crossing the line. I quickly forgave the author, once the dominos started to fall. Eva’s reaction to them are pitch perfect. I believed each one, living her shock along with her.

This book is carefully and intelligently crafted, it finds its threads, addresses them, and moves on. Notice I said ‘addresses’ not ‘ties them up.’ This is the first of a series, and I for one can’t wait for the next one. As I raced toward the end, I both wanted to finish, and hated to. It left me wanting more, which is the highest praise I can give any book. Book two can’t come soon enough.
Profile Image for starryeyedjen.
1,640 reviews1,229 followers
November 3, 2013
There is so much wrong with that synopsis that I don't even know where to begin.  So, let's just take it from the top.  I have never read Game of Thrones and I've only watched the show on occasion, but as a fan of high fantasy, I can tell you that fans of that series will be sorely disappointed by that comparison.  There is hardly anything at all fantastical about this story.  The Hunger Games comparison is slightly more apt, as there is a competition of sorts that pits 18-year-old candidates against each other, but it is not nearly as cutthroat as this assessment makes it seem.

The dystopian world of the Aerie and it's existence apart from the rest of the world that survived the devastating flood, coined New North, is highly suspect. Especially when the reader soon learns that this divergence is due largely in part to our ancestors' worship of the false deity Apple.  That Apple.  All technology is shunned and the point of The Testing is to unearth the most worthy relic from that era, when we allowed technology to rule over all aspects of our lives.  It's not just technology but also medical advancements, like Tylenol and Prozac, that apparently led to our ruin.  The people of the Aerie seek to live a more substantial, righteous life, and they ostensibly take a lot of stock in that whole "those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it" thing.

I felt that this story was a tad too contrived, wholly derivative and entirely banal.  The summary would lead one to believe that this whole Testing business is going to be full of hardship and dangers unnumbered, but for Eva, everything comes to her unbelievably easily.  Mind you, prior to his death, her brother trained for years for this competition.  Eva has trained only months.  And yet she suffers very little for her inexperience and ineptitude.  I'm all for a strong heroine, but when she's competing against eleven other males who have been training for this their entire lives, it's a little difficult to believe that she, above all the others, is having the easiest go of it.

Maybe it's because Eva seems so perfect that I had such a hard time connecting with her character, but I also never felt like I got to know the girl, only the contestant.  And she wasn't very interesting at all, yet she has two potential suitors.  Though, let me clarify, there is little to no romance in this book.  The setup for a love triangle is in the works, but the emphasis in this story is solely on The Testing and the ramifications of the discoveries made because of it.

I daresay the only reason I finished this one was because I was listening to the audiobook while I was at work.  The narrator was not one I was familiar with but I did enjoy the presentation, as much as can be expected when the story isn't all that exciting to begin with.  I found the whole story rather laughable, and I seriously doubt I'll be continuing on with this series.

Thanks to SOHO Teen & Audiobook Jukebox for providing an ARC and an audiobook for review, respectively.

This review can also be found at The Starry-Eyed Revue.
Profile Image for Rob Slaven.
480 reviews53 followers
October 17, 2013
Firstly, let it be known that I didn't pay for this book. As usual I received it for free and this time directly from the publisher via the courtesy of a Shelf Awareness notification. Despite this kindness I give my candid opinions below.

The story of this book is really an amalgam of several that have come before. It operates in a post-apocalyptic realm, a'la "The Road" since this world has been overwhelmed by a disaster that reduces the population to a mere fraction of its previous maximum. A thread of "The Hunger Games" runs through it as it pits mere children against each other in competition for survival. It's all topped off with a bit of "Inconvenient Truth" (or the Bible, depending on your preference) as the world comes to a rather watery end because of mankind's rather irresponsible attitude.

Normally at this point I'd give positives and negatives but this is a book aimed for the teen demographic so I'll confine my comments to the simple question of, "Would I want my teenager to read this book?"

Tops on my criteria for such a question is whether the book has strong adult themes. I'll tolerate violence but frankly, I have low tolerance for sexual content. This book is as pure as the driven snow. No sex. No real violence. No drugs. It's purely a story of struggle and survival. Absolutely no complaint on that front.

Only slightly secondarily is the question of whether the book has any laudable lesson to teach. In this case, most of the book is background and setup. I spent a most of the time reading this book finding it fairly lame. At an adult reading level it takes all of three hours to get through and for two and a half I admit that I was waving the "so what?" flag in my head. Yes, the protagonist went on a grand adventure but so what? It was the last half an hour that makes the whole thing worth while though. One thing I've always taught my kids is to question the status quo and think outside your current context. In this book that lesson is brought visibly to the forefront at the end. For most of the book the world is tied quietly into a tidy little bow and at the end it all explodes into a paradigm changing mess that makes our protagonist rethink everything she's known before. That's a lesson worth teaching as far as I'm concerned.

So, to summarize, I was very pleasantly surprised. This was a great beginning to a series and it's one that makes me sad in a way because as a perennial book reviewer of 'whatever shows up on my doorstep' it's vanishingly unlikely that I'll ever see the rest of this series. "Relic" seems like a quality first step in what could be a fascinating continuation of an important narrative. Of the teen fiction I've read this year, I'm honestly tempted to pay my 14-year-old daughter five bucks to read this one. This is saying something since I usually put this genre quietly in the recycle bin as a protective measure against negative influences.
Profile Image for Abigail Singer.
165 reviews46 followers
September 22, 2014
Wow. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but wow.

I picked "Relic" up at BEA 2013 after overhearing someone at the soho teen book describe it to someone else. And man, am I glad I did. I couldn't put it down!

Eva's twin brother dies and she then takes his place in the Testing to find Relics of the forgotten past, from before the "Healing." I was expecting this to be like other "Hunger Games" inspired dystopian YA novels out there. Only, it wasn't.

"Relic" is a good read after finishing "Hunger Games" as there is that element of survival because Eva must survive the Testing. Yet, it has a completely different feel. Where other dystopian books focus on either the oppression of the society / breaking free of it, or the quest to oncover secrets, "Relic" is much more. Yes, Eva is searching out things from the past but what she finds won't be what she expected. While her world will get turned on its head, and she'll have to go against everything she believes in, it's realistic.

I particularly liked the religion of Lex in "Relic." At times it was annoying but it's something Eva stays steadfast to. It grounds her. When she gets presented with something that goes against the teachings, she still clings on to her beliefs. It's this aspect that I think makes her journey believable. That and when she acts out against the Lex, she's doing so to save herself or someone else. She has to be able to justify her actions.

While there is a bit of a love triangle in the novel, it's carefully crafted and a smaller portion, almost akin to the first "Hunger Games" book. At no point did I want to scream at it. It, like the rest of the book, flowed naturally.

I'm afraid I can't say more because that will spoil what happens to Eva and what she uncovers. But I can say this, "Relic" joins the ranks of books where if the plot was described to you, you'd shrug it off thinking 'Oh, that's been done' or 'that sounds boring.' But you would be surprised in its execution and world building.

I love the Apple god. Holy double metaphor Batman. In addition, the other references to things gone past and how Eva and her society view them. All beautifully crafted.

If it's before October 2013, add this to your "To read" list. If you're reading this after October 2013, trying to decide if you should read "Relic" or not, then stop reading reviews and go out and get the book!
Profile Image for Liviania.
957 reviews63 followers
October 31, 2013
RELIC begins with a treacherous mountain climb and a betrayal, resulting in the death of Eamon. I loved this beginning, and was sad that it took a long time to get to what I thought would happen earlier: other characters realizing Eamon was murdered. The main character, Eva, is Eamon's twin sister. She decides to take his place in the Testing, even though it isn't very maidenly.

Eva is from the future, living in the Arctic along with the other surviving humans. She's high class, and does have the right to compete in the deadly Testing for the prize of becoming one of the three rules. However, the reader can tell that Eva's society isn't quite what she things. There's the regressive ideas about humans, the way they treat the Boundary folk (how they refer to the Inuit people they stole land from), their bizarre history of the world. At the same time, there's things about Eva's world that it takes a modern reader a bit to clue in on.

I liked how RELIC combined a survival in the wilderness story with dystopian fiction, with a tiny dash of murder mystery (more to come in future books), and a meditation on how history is told and preserved. I was cringing at the archeology Eva practices, and I know basically nothing about archeology. But I can dig it, since her society is supposed to be flawed.

Plus, I really like Eva. She's got a bit of that not-like-other-girls thing going on, but she's cool in spite of that. She's willing to listen to people who know more than her, even when she's been told she shouldn't. She's curious, clever, and determined. She has empathy, and a powerful imagination. She has a love triangle, which is unfortunate, but thankfully doesn't take up too much of the book. There's Jasper, the fellow competitor who she's basically betrothed to, and Lukas, the boy from the wrong side of the frozen wasteland.

RELIC is a quick read with a gripping opening, an intriguing heroine, a tantalizing mystery, and a memorable setting. You never forget that Eva is in the Arctic and could die of one wrong move. I'll definitely be back for the second book, if only to find out who killed Eamon. (And, of course, to see whether Eva can get out of the predicament she finds herself in at the end of RELIC.)
Profile Image for Jessica (Goldenfurpro).
881 reviews251 followers
April 18, 2019
This and other reviews can be found on The Psychotic Nerd

This was not a bad book, by any means, I just had a few problems with it. The main problem was that I just couldn't take it seriously.
This book takes place in the future and what this society believes about us is really laughable. They believe that we worship the Apple god and that our MasterCards and other such things are works of evil. They basically thought that we would pray to blank screens to worship this Apple god.

To be honest, I can see this happening. I always question what future society would think of us and this book shows an idea like that where they come up with their own notions based on relics that they find. So, yeah, I can see it happening, but I just had such a hard time taking this book seriously because I know how untrue this all is.

If that was my only issue with this book, it would have a much higher rating. Because, like I said, it only bothered me because I couldn't take this book as seriously as I should have. But I also had some issues with The Testing.

I thought that The Testing was ridiculous (I also found it ridiculous that it was necessary for everything to be capitalized). The Testing was supposed to be dangerous, but it wasn't even close. Eva never faced any danger and she easily passed all the tasks even though she hardly had any preparation. It's even more ridiculous that she was in the lead in many challenges and other such circumstances (when, again, she hardly had any preparation!). There also was hardly any action throughout the book, which was a bit of a letdown.

I am disappointed in this book. Much of this book was ridiculous and unbelievable. I actually found the whole Apple god interesting, but it was very hard to take seriously.
As far as reading the sequel, I don't know. I get the feeling that I'll be able to take it more seriously, but I doubt that I'll like it very much.
Profile Image for Lesley.
318 reviews18 followers
December 3, 2014
Read as an ARC...Well, I suppose you can say it's like The Hunger Games in that it's a future dystopia and the main character has to do some wilderness-surviving (which is apparently super easy). But Game of Thrones? No. Not in even the remotest way imaginable. (At some point, I expect to start seeing "The next Game of Thrones!" on everything from baby board books to cookbooks, because apparently all a book needs to do is be a book to be compared to the currently most popular thing.)

I agree with other reviewers who found the internal monologue repetitious and who questioned why the main character wants so badly to become one of the people who upholds the laws of the society when she clearly has huge questions about those laws and breaks them all the time herself. But I have an even bigger problem with the overall premise: If the dystopian society hates the past (our society) so much, why is it such a priority for them to find the relics of that society? I didn't get how they felt that studying the relics would help them prove our society was bad. Shouldn't they avoid them at all cost? I also didn't get why they discounted the "Boundary" (Inuit) people's knowledge and skills when it seems not only necessary for survival but not part of our technology-oriented society. And, finally, I didn't get how Eva knows the things she knows about our society (for instance, what ballet is) if she's been so drastically sheltered from it. Big questions that make it impossible for me to just sit back and enjoy the small amount of adventure that there is--amidst all the internal monologuing and heavy-handed foreshadowing--or the amusing re-interpretations of things familiar to us like the Apple symbol.
Profile Image for Carolyn.
8 reviews2 followers
October 31, 2013
Ok, here we go. On Amazon, it says this book is a cross between The Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games, hoping to entice readers who love that sort of thing. It isn't. The only similarities are this: female protagonist in a dystopian world, some kind of testing and competition, rulers that are insidious in their desire to protect the status quo, a world where the people live in the style of the Dark Ages with patriarchal gender roles. That's it. It is an insult to both writers of TGoT and HG to even compare this book to those.

This is a sophomoric effort at best. Most of the characters were rather flat, when they could have been fleshed out so much more. The plot was rather predictable, and you know which way it is going to go at every turn, believe me, which bored me. Ditto to the transparent and trite future love triangle.

However, I did like the concept of people in the future misconstruing Apple as something we people of today thought of as God, and that the no-longer-functioning computer relics were glass worship alters. That our society was overdependent on Mastercard, Visa, Prozac and other "remedies" like Tylenol and Ambien, failing to see the true meaning of life. But this great concept also wasn't fleshed out as much as it could've been. Good concept, weak delivery.

I didn't even start becoming interested until the last 30-40 pages, when Eva started to deviate from the plan and show some initiative, making the trajectory of the plot start to also take off, just when the book was ending, which pissed me off. What we are left with is a small desire to see if the next book (yes, another @#$?&! series! Is the stand-alone book now dead, I ask you?)

See my full review on my blog at: bookescapebycarolyn.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Dixie Conley.
Author 1 book9 followers
February 6, 2015
I kinda liked this book, up until the heroine started lying about things. I can't abide liars, particularly clumsy liars who fail to recognize that a little bit of the truth would serve better than an outright lie. (Okay, so I'm not that honest myself, but telling deliberate falsehoods is just... babyish.) Then, of course, she kept doing it. By the end of the book, I was so fed up with her that I was glad it ended, because then at least it was over with.

The story is about a post-apocalyptic society in the Arctic that lives by strict rules and carefully avoiding the evils of Apple, tech, remedies and all the other evils of the previous world. There are three departments that people belong to, the lawgivers, the religious arm and the historians. Our heroine is determined to pass the test to become a historian because her twin, who died, was going to do that.

The testing itself is brutal, and probably the best section of the book. There's a sled dog race, wilderness survival and ice climbing involved as everyone tries to dig out the best relic from the past and make up the best story about it. The one who wins gets to be the leader of the historians for ten years.

Add in the lying, the constant trespasses against the community's laws, the two love interests, and the reality that the 'past' is actually a carefully constructed lie... well, the story got sucky. Suck suck suck suckfest. I predict that the next books will be about politics, trying not to get killed and the destruction of society in the name of truth, when in actuality, it merely needed to be tweaked a bit.
Profile Image for Kelly Hager.
3,097 reviews129 followers
January 5, 2014
I thought this was an incredibly fun story. As far as dystopians go, it doesn't really tread new ground per se, but it was fun to see the parameters of this particular world.

The fact that the citizens of this world are the descendants of survivors of a Noah's Ark-type flood, the Healing, and that they are a polytheistic society (referred to collectively as the Gods) was very interesting. What was even more interesting is the fact that the world destroyed is our world. And what was bitterly amusing? The fact that the people of this world, our world, were viewed as pagans who worshiped Apple and Coke.

This is the first book in a new series and I can't wait to see where book two goes. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a title, synopsis, release date or even Goodreads page, so I'm guessing that there's a long wait ahead of me.

Speaking of Goodreads, the reviews of this aren't great, but don't let that dissuade you. It isn't the new Divergent, but it doesn't have to be. What it IS, however, is a fun story well told. Recommended.
Profile Image for Melissa.
47 reviews21 followers
May 9, 2013
I received this book as a goodreads giveaway, so I was excited to start reading it. It is a fast-paced story and I flew through it very quickly. The only problem is that this book isn't due out until October, so I will have an even longer time to wait for the next book in the series. I enjoyed the storyline and the characters. However, I thought that parts of the book were pretty far-fetched. I won't elaborate on that though, since it would be a spoiler. Overall, I really liked the book and will probably continue with this series.
Profile Image for April.
Author 2 books76 followers
July 2, 2014
Unique and different. It kept my attention throughout and I enjoyed the characters. would have liked to have had the testing itself have a bit more "meat" to it since this first book in the series centered mainly around this aspect. All in all a good book and I look forward to the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Sophia.
10 reviews
September 12, 2014
This book has a girl that takes her brothers place a testor.
Profile Image for Amy Wainwright.
82 reviews17 followers
March 12, 2016
This book almost didn't catch my interest, but it finally picked up enough. Entertaining and interesting, I'm curious where the series will go.
504 reviews141 followers
September 27, 2014
First Look:  I originally picked this up for a dollar at a local book fair, thinking it was an alternate cover of this other book named Relic . Both came out in 2013. Both have similar covers. Both involve, well, relics.

Were Soho Teen and Entangled Teen just lazy, or what?

I'd rather have the other Relic, but since this one was only a dollar, I thought I might as well give it a go.

The premise starts out just like only a thousand other YA dystopian settings: because humankind is as evil as a Disney villain, we let climate change happen, and floods ravaged the world, creating war, starvation, and general chaos.  And that's where this book diverts: instead of sticking around to create the Hunger Games, the few survivors of humanity fled to create a new society in the Arctic.  Because...winter is coming?  Who knows?  From there, we see one of the most nonsensical settings I've ever read.

The new society has somehow morphed back into a place where women are treated as they were in the 1800s.  Young women are even called "maidens", which essentially means that they have to be demure, cultured, and reserved.  And they have to leave all the important things to the men.  Thanks, but no thanks.  Society doesn't just backtrack this quickly.

Characters:  Meet Eva.  She just lost her brother, and sometimes she's sad about that.  More often, though, she's concerned about things that are obviously more important, like whether or not that cute boy Jasper likes her.  She doesn't speak her mind because her society forbids it.  In fact, she spends almost as much time thinking about how society tells her to act as she does thinking about Jasper.

Yeah.  It's about as interesting as it sounds.

She has no depth, no personality.  She does whatever she's told, except when she decides to try a small little rebellion.  And then she's praised for it, for no reason, in a society that does not allow rebellion.  She doesn't have any traits to make her likable, since she hardly has any traits at all.

Everyone else is just as much of a cardboard cutout.  The only one who is slightly interesting is Lukas (who suddenly becomes the love interest, out of nowhere), but his story is pushed to the wayside.

Plot:  The entire plot revolves around something called the Testing, which involves sending several teenagers on a mad dog sled chase through the wilderness.  Then they must survive a night camped in the Arctic.  Then they have to mine "artifacts" from 21st-century civilization from the ice.  When they find something, they write a cautionary tale about it.  Whoever finds the best thing wins.  The second half of this Testing makes sense to me.  The first half doesn't.  If it's all about the artifacts anyway, why bother sending them on the life-threatening race?  If it's the artifacts that win them the Testing, why would they care about racing at all?

And yet, despite her qualms, Eva undertakes the Testing.  And--spoiler alert--she wins.  Surprise surprise.  Even though she isn't the fastest and doesn't find the best artifact, she still somehow wins.  Probably because everyone and their brother, it seems, wants to illegally help her.  Throughout the whole thing, there's absolutely no tension.  Even though she does encounter a few stumbling blocks, the plot is so predictable that they hardly matter.

The description implies that this book is about a girl who brings down a corrupted civilization by herself.  Who "shakes the Aerie to its core".  Another spoiler--this does not happen.  Sure, everyone loves her unconventional writing about her artifact, but once she gets back, it's just same old, same old.  Maybe this society-shaking happens in the next book, but then it shouldn't be mentioned here.

Uniqueness:  Meh.  We've all seen the climate-change-turned-society's-clock-backwards thing over and over.  Other than that, nothing about it feels like it copied from something else, but it has nothing unique enough to stand out, either.

Writing:  The narration isn't great, but more of my focus went toward how much I disliked other aspects.  Still, a few sentences are awkward.  So much of it is just Eva thinking, "Oh, I can't do this, I can't do that.  It's not what a Maiden would do!"  It gets old really fast.  It doesn't make me want to like the character, and it's annoying and repetitive.

Likes: N/A.

Not-so-great: Can we stop comparing books to Game of Thrones?  Game of Thrones is a TV show.  A Song of Ice and Fire is the book series.  A Game of Thrones is the first book.  If you're going to make a comparison to a book, please use A Song of Ice and Fire or A Game of Thrones.  Because they're books.  It's not that hard.

Anyway, this has absolutely nothing to do with either Game of Thrones or The Hunger Games.

Overall: This book just made me bored and annoyed.  The main character, Eva, has no personality.  She's a slave to the constraints placed on her by a sexist society, and she does nothing but mope or worry about following the rules.  The setting makes no sense.  The plot makes only slightly more sense, but the whole concept of the Testing leaves something to be desired.  Sure, it only cost me a dollar, but there are better ways to spend it.

Similar Books: It reminds me of Dualed, The Iron Thorn, and Firstborn.
Profile Image for Leah.
1,052 reviews58 followers
November 1, 2013
this review will go live on the blog 11/03

These days it seems as though every book is The Next Harry Potter or The Next 50 Shades. Relic is pitched as not only for fans of The Hunger Games but also as a new take on Game of Thrones. Those are some mighty big shoes to fill and unfortunately, Relic doesn't quite live up to its predecessors.

Eva lives in the barren, ice-covered New North. Two centuries earlier the gods deemed the world corrupt and wiped out nearly all of civilization. Those who survived the Healing relocated and began rebuilding their lives. The native inhabitants were relegated to servants and assistants, looked down upon for not being among the Chosen. A new form of government was created - a Triad - and every year a new group of 18-year-olds risk their lives in an attempt to win a seat.

The Lex, Aerie's holy book, dictates a code of conduct for its citizens. Boys and girls (here known as Gallants and Maidens) are never to be alone together without a trusted chaperone. Apart from the hands and face, all skin must be covered. Maidens have very little say - if any at all - when it comes to their Betrothal and seem to only exist as objects for the Keepers, Stewards, and Guards to protect. Also mentioned in The Lex are the evils of the pre-Healing world: the Tylenols and MasterCards that ruled the people and the false god Apple.

Each year Testors are sent out onto the plains to search for Relics, evidence of the destructive ways of the pre-Healing world. Chief among these Relics are any Apple products and discovering one all but guarantees the Archon Laurels - one of the highest positions of power. Eva's brother Eamon had been testing when he mysteriously fell to his death. In a move that rocked her family to the core Eva made the decision to Test in Eamon's place. With only three short months to train Eva knows she doesn't stand a chance against the other Testors - including her Betrothed Jasper. These Gallants have been training their entire lives and aren't planning on going easy on a Maiden. Out on the ice everyone's equal.

I'm not quite sure who Relic was written for, but it certainly wasn't the Game of Thrones crowd. I honestly can't see how that comparison was made at all other than GoT is wildly popular right now and the publisher wanted to latch onto that particular market. Terrell's writing is competent, if not a little bland and downright confusing. There are numerous words and phrases (masak, nunassiaq, upernagdlit, etc) that were used in everyday conversation and never explained. I was able to figure out a few through the context, but a glossary or translation would have been extremely helpful. Also frustrating was how sheltered Eva had been yet she knew what ballet was - even the Mariinsky Theatre and technical terms - and the terms girlfriend/boyfriend. That one especially threw me off. In Eva's world there are only prearranged marriages. There's no dating and if you wind up betrothed to someone you come to love you're one of the lucky few.

During the Testing Eva easily kills a massive Musk Ox and doesn't seem to have a hard time surviving at all. Just a reminder: a Testor spends his entire life preparing for this one week. Eva had only three months to train with Lukas, one of the Boundary (Inuit) people, and she breezed through it. With any main character you expect them to win the game or find the treasure, but there's also that element of tension. I didn't get that from Relic. Eva's told she won the Archon Laurels and that's that. There's no build up, no fear or danger involved.

Part of the Testing is a glorified archaeological dig. For the past 150 years Testors have been digging in the same spot and each year something huge is discovered. This didn't feel plausible to me at all. This Testing guns and Apple Relics were unearthed and Eva found not only a skeleton, but also many Apple products - including a computer. This computer had been buried in the ice for nearly two hundred years, but the second Lukas sees it - apparently the Boundary folk are well aware of the forbidden Tech - it starts right up. Remember when I mentioned how sheltered Eva has been all her life? Within minutes she's able to not only grasp the concept of computers and Internet, but she readily accepts it and decides that technology isn't so bad after all - despite being told her entire life The Lex knows best.

There's a chapter at the very end of the book - an epilogue of sorts - that is an extract from The Lex. It goes over the government and what each of the three positions stand for. Even after reading that I couldn't tell you what the Archon does or what the Basilikon means. I also didn't understand how the Testing works in relation to the positions. The Testing happens every year. The three members of the Triad holds the position for ten years. Eva's father is the current Chief Archon, the position Eva has just won. If he has the position for a decade will she be added to a waiting list of the previous winners? Terrell was playing fast and loose with her government and none of it made sense.

Because this is a Young Adult novel, naturally there's a love triangle and - surprise, surprise - that confused me as well. Jasper is Eva's Betrothed. His uncle is Chief Lexor (whatever that means) and a union between the two families would only bring good things. Then there's Lukas. Lukas in one of the Boundary folk - the native Inuits who are considered second-rate citizens. There isn't much interaction between Eva and these two boys Gallants - at least not enough for me to believe in a potential love triangle. Again, not much build up, and feelings are awkwardly revealed in the middle of a completely unrelated conversation with a quick "Can't you see how I feel about you?" Don't feel bad, Eva - I certainly didn't see it! As for Eva, she doesn't seem to have feelings either way for these Gallants. The book is told through her eyes - there was never a moment where she discussed having feelings for Jasper or Lukas.

With so many things going against it it's a bit of a surprise that I found myself enjoying Relic. The pacing was EXTREMELY quick and that definitely helped me get through an otherwise lackluster story. I'll keep an eye out for the second book, if only to sooth my curiosity - and hopefully find some answers to my numerous questions! Relic is not the smart, new take on the Dystopian genre that it claims to be, but it was a quick and entertaining read.

...the Ladies, Gentlewomen, and Maidens of the Aerie will also have a special, sacred role. They will be responsible for keeping the hearth and home. They will ensure the adherence to the Gods' rules within that domain. The manner in which they do so - as well as the ways in which their Marital Union will be selected and their children borne, for those too are consecrated duties and our race too precious to leave to chance - will be detailed in The Lex.

Long story short: if a society like this enrages you, pass on Relic.
Profile Image for Tonya Henderson.
713 reviews132 followers
October 11, 2013
See this review and more on my blog~ Lilybloombooks

3.5 stars
With all the novels out there, it's getting really difficult to find a book that separates itself in originality. I mean, really hard. So, I must give credit where credit is due, Relic is pretty different. Yes, you can probably find a lot of similarities to other novels in it, I did, but the World as a whole is so distinctly different. And just for the record, I don't like the comparison to the Hunger Games or The Game of Thrones. Not.One.Bit.

Eva's world is 242 some odd years after "The Healing", a catastrophic event basically causing the "end of the world". The community lives by rules of their book, The Lex and has resorted to live a more simple life, without technology, with maidens and social classes. Woman not in favor, who's use is for lady like things. They believe that were chosen by their Gods, Mother Sun and Father Earth, to survive such a tragedy. <~~ OK, this is where things get shaky. 

CONFESSION-For over 90% of the book, I was thoroughly confused. By the world. The language. The Hierarchy of the Triad. What the jobs of the Triad are. I kept finding inconsistencies in the story and honestly, I was so frustrated I wanted to quit. I had no idea, aside from this competition, what in the blazes was going on. WHY is it so important? WHO are these people? What are their roles? What the hell happened? And there were so many random words and terms given in the novel I gave up trying to figure out what they meant. I am glad I stuck with it, because the last 30 pages or so things started to fall into place, (a little too late, mind you) and that ever-present light bulb started to shine like no other. The last few pages of the book has a little bit more insight to the world and ALL it's people, this book called The Praeamnulum. Had this been placed in the beginning of the book, I would not have struggled with it and more than likely would have enjoyed it so much more. Whether this is something that will change upon publication, or was the intent from the get go, is anyone's guess. But for me, when you create a world you have to give a little. Don't give me a "role" without a definition of said role. Although I dislike having a glossary in a book, it was much-needed here. It was hard to value anything because I just didn't understand.

For the life of me, I couldn't figure out what lies there were to uncover. From the blurb, you know there are things to uncover and things to figure out but I just.. I couldn't wrap my brain around everything else that was going on to look for subtle clues. The story takes an old well-known tale and weaves it into the story. Also, I literally laughed my bum off when we learn more about the God Apple. That, was funny, yet it was different and now that I know more about WHY this was weaved in, I appreciate it more.

I did like Eva, though I wish I was able to connect with her more. She was a little too.. monotone most times but was very brave. Taking the place of her brother, Eamon, in this Testing, she didn't have the training like the others did, not by a long shot. She thought it was his dream and that this would be the best way to honor him. However, I never really felt like she grew much over the course of her journey. I didn't see her working very hard to accomplish what she did. I felt like she didn't care enough, until the very end after discovering her Relic. But even that seemed so easy for her. I was never worried whether or not she was going to survive or run into ANY real obstacles. She also changed a little bit after returning from The Testing; when she started to learn about the truth about the Aerie, the Boundary People, the Lex and it's rules. 

There was a hint of romance towards the end and it just didn't work for me. I just had a feeling this guy, Lukas, was going to be the love interest. For one, they were close. Two, he was Boundary Companion and it's forbidden to have relationships with them. So yeah. But then she left for the The Testing and it was never really mentioned again and then BAM! Then, there is Jasper, the Gallant that her parents are hinting at a betrothal to. He too, competed in the testing and he was so hot and cold with Eva, not to mention a friggin hypocrite. I didn't feel it. 

I was also very confused over the fact that pretty much everyone, at some point or another, were breaking these sacred rules of the Lex. At every turn, someone was breaking a rule. It's just hard to comprehend the fact that they take such things so seriously; only to turn around a break a completely different set of "rules", when they deemed it necessary. Could you find a more hypocritical bunch? I mean, really. I get it, who really follows all the rules? But the punishment is SEVERE. Gallows people, The Gallows

My Peeve- Like I said, I wasn't understanding a lot of the book because there were no details or back story given. It isn't one of those book were you can just go with the flow. I needed more detail. 

Overall- Pretty different and has a fascinating concept to it.  After I finished and everything pretty much was explained, I see the book differently and I see the angle that the author was trying to take us. But putting the history in the back of the book does this book NO justice. I think I might re read soon, especially before I read the second book. 

I recieved this book from the publisher for an honest review. THANK YOU
Profile Image for Brittany.
1,069 reviews36 followers
July 15, 2013
How I Came To Read This Book: I got a free digital ARC from Edelweiss.

The Plot: Eighteen-year-old Eva is part of one of the ‘noble’ families of New North; a society built after the ice caps melted like nobody’s business and left the greater part of the world under water. After her twin brother Eamon meets an untimely death, Eva decides to take his place in competing in The Testing, a strenuous journey across the tundra to uncover artifacts that represent the selfishness and mindlessness of the past society (that would be, ours) in hopes of becoming the ‘Chief Archon’, which is a role Eva’s own father carries. As a ‘maiden’, no one expects much from Eva, especially given most young men train for The Testing for years, and no woman had competed in 150 years. However, thanks to the insight from Eamon’s former companion, Lukas, a member of what’s called ‘The Boundary People’ (aka the Inuit that were up north all along), Eva might just have a chance. The only catch? No one is that big of a fan of Eva being in The Testing – and what she learns about herself, her brother, and her society as a whole might just put her in more risk than the testing ever could.

The Good & The Bad: What an interesting little book. Really, it’s got a lot going for it. The book is billed as suitable for fans of The Hunger Games and I don’t disagree; The Testing is eerily similar in terms of only sending out young people and many dying on the course, etc. The chapters surrounding The Testing are definitely the most riveting – the author almost writes them as one continuous story that’s broken down into very bite-sized chunks, making this book a breeze to fly through for the most part. The arctic setting is a fresh take on the ‘dystopian’ genre; you get the sense the society is the way it is by a slightly more logical circumstance. I should point out that while The Testing is a big momentum-driver for most of the book, another, bigger question (in my mind) hangs over every page - namely what really happened to Eamon in the time leading up to his death. I will mention that I struggle with the Chief Archon role and the fact The Testing appears to take place every year – apparently the Chief Archon hangs onto that gig for 10 years; and yet, if they’re running this test every year, they should have a huge line-up of people waiting to take over. Unless, by sheer coincidence, Eva’s dad took up the post exactly ten years before the next Testing, and Eva just happens to be taking over his role. I can’t figure it out, to be honest.

There are some awkward, and some great things about this story beyond its somewhat pulse-pounding Hunger Games-esque setup. The awkward comes from the fact Eva’s society has a very twisted view of ours. Apparently we ‘worshipped the False God Apple’ amongst other recognizable brand names, and the whole thing made me cringe as I read it. That being said, by the end of the story, Terrell somewhat breaks down the society’s whole belief system in a way that makes the earlier hyper-religious tones (mixed with a critique of our culture) feel more believable and acceptable. But really, the level that Eva is sheltered for 90% of the story is pretty cringeworthy. I’ll also note that in the awkward department, I felt like some component of the society were just kind of thrown on us – if you asked me to describe what the Chief Archon does (along with the two other power roles) I really wouldn’t be able to tell you. While the book winds back on itself to explain more and more, I felt like Eva could have been more forthcoming with some details about the setting & society. Even just the society's lingo and integration of Inuit words was a little disorienting. Also, terrible book cover.

One neat twist to the whole book is that although it’s set about 200 or so years in the future from today, it actually has a medieval feel to it. I believe the book is partially billed as ‘high fantasy’ for that very reason, although really its roots are more closely linked to YA dystopian fiction. Although I wish I got to know Eva a little better through the book – she is very wholly defined by her ties to the society and her love for her brother – I still enjoyed her character’s journey, and the two men in her life (Lukas and Jasper, her would-be betrothed) provided a somewhat interesting triangle. it may not be the most believable story, but sometimes chance intervenes as it does for Eva (compared to Katniss, who was in genuine danger throughout her entire story). Also cool are the illustrations dotted throughout the book. Although they may ‘young’ things up a bit, they’re also just nice to help you visualize certain elements of the plot. My overall theory of the book? I'm thinking there might be other societies out there, that perhaps Eva and her people are just living in isolation for no good reason. But who knows...they don't seem the adventurous sort.

Altogether I think this was a decent first entry into what could be a fascinating series. Unlike The Hunger Games, it definitely doesn’t rely solely on that heart-racing action sequence stuff to be interesting (although one of the more successful components of the book), which could work in its favour as Suzanne Collins was constantly trying to recapture the magic of her first book. It was a little messy and awkward in some parts and Eva definitely needs more work, but I was relatively riveted from start to finish.

The Bottom Line: The Hunger Games on ice! With a backwards-looking twist.

Anything Memorable?: Nope

60-Book Challenge?: Book #33 in 2013
Profile Image for Sarah.
337 reviews80 followers
October 24, 2013
Full review also posted here on TotalTeenFiction

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I was drawn to this book because it was being compared to Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games, both series I love, and so I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to grab a review copy! Relic follows Eva as she takes part in the gruelling challenge of the Testing, where participants must enter the harsh arctic conditions to discover hidden relics from the past.

Now I can completely understand the comparisons to Game of Thrones. The book takes place in the New North, a habitat created after most of the world's population was wiped out by what Eva's people call The Healing. The frozen landscape will be familiar to anyone who's read or watched Game of Thrones. Relic also has religious themes, as do the Song of Ice and Fire books. In Relic's case, Eva's people worship with Mother Sun and Father Earth and take guidance from their religious text - The Lex. The comparison to The Hunger Games is less obvious as the two books are quite different, but Relic is a post-apocalyptic novel and there is that survival element to the story. I did find myself comparing it a lot to Joelle Charbonneau's The Testing, seeing as the main competition in the story has the same name. That similarity was a little distracting at first.

When it comes down to it, Relic definitely has enough substance about it to stand on its own. The ideas in the book and the world building really won me over. I liked learning about the history of the New North. Throughout the book, Eva herself is constantly learning and reminiscing about her life and the society they live in now. We learn about the rules they Aerie people abide by excerpts from the Lex, and there are several rituals that take place in those early chapters that give a glimpse into how Eva's society works. I thought it was a nice twist to see a futuristic society that has shunned technology and sees it as the cause of the problems in centuries before. It was quite funny seeing references to tablet computers and credit cards as something so the characters think of as so horrific and shocking - I think because the author has used brand names we're all familiar with. I liked the mix of cultures Eva's people have evolved from. At points the book seems very Americanised but there are plenty of references to European cultures and places which I enjoyed. I sometimes find the world building in fantasy novels to be quite hard to keep up with, but I thought it was something really well done in Relic.The writing was sharp and exciting, and I could really visualise myself in Eva's surroundings.

Relic opens with a scene showing Eamon's death. Then we jump to the present where we meet Eamon's twin sister Eva who is our main character throughout the story. Eva herself carried the story really well. She comes from a powerful family, and is kind of oppressed in the society she lives in. Because she's a Maiden, she's expected to behave in a certain way (one passage mentions being pleasing to the eye and ear), always abiding by the rules of the Lex. She puts herself forward for The Testing, the only woman to have done so, which is a real way of proving herself. She's at an instant disadvantage because her sex has denied her the chance to prepare herself for The Testing in the same way the men have. Women in her world grow up learning different skills. Despite this she makes a real effort to prepare herself. I liked that we got to see her compete against an all male team. Eva is smart and resourceful throughout the tests she faces. My favourite parts were when she starts to write her Chronicle, a documentation of her Testing experience. It really showed her passion and potential.

There are two male characters in the story who are both potential love interests for Eva. Jasper also comes from a powerful family and is introduced as a potential suitor, approved by her family. Lukas is a Boundary Companion, a lesser role in society and his and Eva's relationship crosses a divide in terms of social standing. I definitely preferred Lukas, as he seemed to have a lot more about him. I think their relationship is more genuine, having stood for years, although Jasper seems a nice enough guy and I liked that he looks out for Eva during The Testing. It may come across a bit love-triangle-ish, but the romance isn't the main focus of the story. I got the feeling that it's something that might take more of the spotlight in future books.

Relic really won me over towards the ending of the story where all the pieces start to fit into place and provide a wider picture. I liked how the beginning, middle and end of the story all had different feels to them. I enjoyed the middle section where Eva is out there battling the elements and fighting to survive, but I think my favourite parts were back in the New North where we get to sink into this fantastic world that Terrell has created. There is huge scope for more. I feel like both the history of the Aerie people and the present situation in the New North has only been touched upon. The revelations at the end of the book had me hungry to find out more. I'm excited to carry on with this series.

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