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The Dark City

(Relic Master #1)

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  2,237 ratings  ·  313 reviews
Welcome to Anara, a world mysteriously crumbling to devastation, where nothing is what it seems: Ancient relics emit technologically advanced powers, members of the old Order are hunted by the governing Watch yet revered by the people, and the great energy that connects all seems to also be destroying all. The only hope for the world lies in Galen, a man of the old Order a
Hardcover, 376 pages
Published 2011 by Dial Books (first published August 6th 1998)
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Average rating 3.69  · 
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 ·  2,237 ratings  ·  313 reviews

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Start your review of The Dark City (Relic Master, #1)
This book surprised me in a lot of ways, not all bad but not all good either. For one thing, it's not really a new series: Relic Master was published in the UK starting in 1998, and I can only assume it's being repackaged here because of the success of Incarceron and Sapphique. It's some of Fisher's earlier work and it shows; it lacks the depth and more sophisticated writing of her later books. However, the marketing behind its release is quite good -- four books published in four consecutive mo ...more
Julie Smith
Mar 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, reviewed
This review first appeared on my blog:

Galen Harn is a Keeper, otherwise known as a Relic Master. He is part of the Order that is tasked with keeping the relics of the Makers safe. Raffael Morel (Raffi) is his scholar, an apprentice of sorts, who left his family to train with Galen as a future Keeper.

The biggest problem? The Order of the Keepers has been outlawed, with a reward of 2000 marks for anyone who captures a Keeper. Most of the people in the vill
Apr 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
I have been craving some fantasy lately and I got just that with The Dark City. This book is high fantasy with some sci-fi elements mixed in what with the relics being advanced technological gadgets.

The story follows several characters: there’s Master Galen, Raffi, and Carys. Galen is a Relic Master, one of the few that are still alive and is hunted by the Watch. He’s always a little cranky and demanding its but understandable since he’s suffered a great loss. Raffi is Galen’s apprentice and th
Jun 11, 2011 rated it liked it
I needed more from this book. I kept on looking for it and even with my sister's constant: OMG STELLA. YOU HAVE TO READ IT." I was disappointed by Fisher.

When introduced to a brand new fantasy world, description of the setting is key. I find Fisher fell short on this and at no time did I feel like I was actually present in the world of Anara. Sorry Ashley, I just didn't like this book and felt no guilt when I skipped a couple of the pages. Well, frankly, I didn't really care if I missed some of
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
(Originally posted @ CSI:Librarian.)

From start to finish, I was enthralled by this book. It is just sort of thing I really wish I could have stumbled upon as a kid, but am still completely delighted to have discovered now.

I loved everything, especially the plotting, the pacing, and the world-building. The dilemmas that characters faced were intense, powerful, and believable. In terms of Galen, Raffi, and Carys, there was no way to keep from feeling for them as they struggled to overcome great ha
Roxanne Hsu Feldman
Apr 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
I found myself thoroughly engrossed in this tale of fantasy/scifi blend. Usually, I get annoyed by authors who mix magical elements in otherwise supposedly a science fiction world. It always seems to be a cop-out: when something cannot be sufficiently explained with scientific theories or technical knowledge, we just throw in some magical powers and voila, the story can move on. Fisher did something different here: she created a world of magical elements with a few technological gadgets thrown i ...more
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: modern-fantasy
Anne Zemba
Modern Fantasy

Relic Master - The Dark City is about a world called Anara. That is where Galen, a master of the Order and his sixteen year old apprentice, Raffi live. They are collecting ancient relics which are forbidden. The relics are illegal. The Watch is out to put a stop to any relic masters that are left. The relics give power to the masters if they use them for good purposes. Galen and Raffi are tricked into going on a quest. They are betrayed, locked up and spied on.

The Dark
The Dark City takes place in fictional Anara, where strange, magical relics contain unimaginable power, and where the beings who made them have long gone, leaving the world to be destroyed by the non-believers and skeptics. Following Relic Master Galen and his apprentice Raffi, we learn about the world on the edge of destruction whose only hope lies on the shoulders of the old Order. The problem is, members of the Order have been hunted to near extinction by the Watch, and Galen and Raffi are on ...more
Oct 08, 2019 rated it liked it
More of a MG book than a YA, and much tamer than Incarceron was... but still, a fun, quick read filled with action. It’s not fully fantasy nor sci-fi but some blend of the two. I adore Catherine Fisher’s world building and honestly that was my main reason for picking up this series, which is some of her earlier writing (compared to Incarceron).

There wasn’t very much character development, but surprisingly enough that worked for this book. I feel like Raffi ended up being the shallowest character
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful start to a great series of books!
M.H Ansari
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I like this book so much , it has a good fancy space
Sep 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As an effort to read outside of my comfort zone and with help from a friend I picked up this book from the library.

I found it very engaging. The characters are very well described and the surrounding are so well described that I felt like I was really there.

Galen Harn is the keeper (Relic Master) of the lost relics. Unfortunately, the Order of the Keepers has been disband and are now considered outlaws. He has to stay under the radar and not let anyone know who he is even though most villagers
This review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.

Relic Master Galen Harn and his apprentice Raffi know that all is not well the moment they set foot in the settlement that had boldly requested their help a few days before. Drawn by curiosity and the possibility of discovering a relic, the pair nevertheless decides to venture into the castle-like fortress that is the settlement’s stronghold and soon come to regret the decision. After an unpleasant meeting with the leader Alberic, Galen an
Stacey O'Neale
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review was completed by Amanda Harbin, staff reviewer with the YA Fantasy Guide.

Relic Master is a fun and easy to read adventure story. The main characters are reminiscent of the Harry Potter series in the sense that the story follows a boy and his older mentor. Like the Harry Potter series this book is accessible to both boys and girls! Don’t be misled the similarities to the Harry Potter series do not go much further. The story is simple and easy to follow, but also very engaging. The cha
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Dark City by Catherine Fisher is really good read. It is about a crippled master, Galen, with a young apprentice with magical abilities, Raffi. They are part of an organization called the Order who are tasked to collect and protect civilians from the power of them and their powers gifted by the Makers help them do this. But sadly enough Galen had an accident ridding him of both his ability to walk right and his magical abilities gifted by the Makers. Twenty years ago an order called the Watc ...more
Lisa  (Bookworm Lisa)
Apr 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book is great for all age groups. It has advenure, danger, and magic.

Galen is a relic master. He takes care of the left over "magical" technology that was left behind when "the masters" left his planet. He communes with the planet and is able to handle the mystical objects. He has an apprentice named Raffi, who is using the magic of communicating with the world in his master's place.

They begin an adventure that will lead them to old relics, enemies in disguise, and new friends.

I received m
Ashley Chen
Jun 29, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A fabulous read! It had a feel of a mix between the Seven Realms series, the Chaos Walking (knife of never letting go) series, and the House of Power series! A must read! I can't wait to read the sequels! ...more
Larry B Gray
Jul 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. It is well writen and the charactors are great. Its fast paced action keeps your attention and you don't want to put it down. I can not wait too read the next book in the series. This is a great read. ...more
Ashlee Conklin
Jul 14, 2014 rated it liked it
I was kind of disappointed by this book. I read Incarceron and Sapphique which were both amazing so I had high expectations for this series. I didn't feel that wowed by it. I think the plot was interesting, but it wasn't a book that captivated my attention the way Fisher's other books did. ...more
Gelo Salinio
A great adventure novel, I would really recommend this adventure novel to people even if it's a little old (^U^). ...more
Melissa E.
Aug 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
(Please note - the spoiler cuts in this review are covering some major plot/character details. If you are the type of person that absolutely does NOT want to know what's coming until you read it for yourself, do not click them.)

Oh, Catherine Fisher! How I worship at this woman's writing altar. She is so ridiculously creative that her books defy classification. You can see that I tagged this one fantasy, science fiction, dystopian...and it is a bit of each of those, without ever being completely
Galen is a Relic Master. He commands the old technology that imbues him with magical powers. His 16 yr old apprentice Raffi is learning how to control the magic that he has as well. Their magic allows them to speak with animals and plants, to set protection webs that warn them when intruders are following, and many other magical abilities. Unfortunately the Masters are being hunted by the the Watch, the new governing body. The Watch does not like the Masters and want to see all of them killed an ...more
Kyle Ng
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 17, 2011 rated it liked it
2.5 I'd say.. very fast read but wish world building was further developed than it was.

Review from my book blog (wordpress / livejournal)

I was offered a copy of this book from the publisher at the same time they pitched a giveaway for the whole series on my blog. I’d never read Catherine Fisher before, but I had heard murmurings about Incarceron, and I remember a glowing review from the Book Smugglers. Intrigued by the premise and this praise for the author, I said yes. Although this book is ou
Oct 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tetralogy
There’s nothing exactly wrong with The Dark City – it’s a bog standard high fantasy, with a fairly compelling world. But something about Fisher’s writing just fails to compel me – I found my mind wandering, or my eyes skating over the page without taking in any meaning.

Perhaps my biggest problem is the POV. Both main characters, Raffi and Carys, have a big secret from each other. Most of the dramatic tension comes from them not knowing each other’s secret. But the reader is privy to both secrets
Jacob Tibbs
Jan 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I think this book, to me, was very exciting. I think this book was very exciting because I loved how people are getting chased by bad guys and how they have to fight and use magical items to defend themselves against dark forces. I also think that this book is amazing because it tells of godlike beings and people who can use magic. This book tells the reader of adventures and the people who go on the adventures. The book tells the reader also about a boy who must handle his crazy teacher, while ...more
Mark Cramer
Very oddly and mysteriously, I received a used version of this book from Swanage County Middle School in the UK, addressed to me in the US, via mail from Belgium. I still no idea who sent it. So I read it.

It wasn't bad. As another reader mentioned, it gets better in the second half. The plot has some twists, but it could have used some better character development; at the end of the book I wasn't particularly emotionally attached to any of the characters. Also, while I suppose my imagination cou
Aug 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
This book was a complete let down for me.
I read nearly half of the book before the plot began to come together for me. Unfortunately, at that point I really didn't care because I had no emotional connection to any of the characters. I got such a vivid mental image of the setting for this "world" and the mystical beings mentioned, but the characters that actually mattered seem to get loss in the imagery. Completely two-dimensional.

The conflict throughout the story was underwhelming.

The ending f
Christopher Li
Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book The Dark City, written by Catherine Fisher, is packed with suspense and thrills. Galen Harn, a keeper for the Order, and Raffi, Galen’s apprentice and hiding from the Watch in the woods, surviving only from a bag of food and some special relics. They wander into a wild horseman, who tells them that their town has found a relic. The two check out the town, only to find Alberic, a deceitful person, trying to steal a dangerous blue box from Galen and Raffi. He succeeds in doing so and prom ...more
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Catherine Fisher was born in Newport, Wales. She graduated from the University of Wales with a degree in English and a fascination for myth and history. She has worked in education and archaeology and as a lecturer in creative writing at the University of Glamorgan. She is a Fellow of the Welsh Academy.

Catherine is an acclaimed poet and novelist, regularly lecturing and giving readings to groups o

Other books in the series

Relic Master (4 books)
  • The Lost Heiress (Relic Master, #2)
  • The Hidden Coronet (Relic Master, #3)
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