Sunday, November 3, 2013

Title: Relic
Author: Heather Terrell
Narrator:  Angela Brazil
Series: Books of Eva, book #1
Length:  8 hrs 17 mins
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Publication Date: October 29, 2013
Source: ARC & audio received from publisher for review
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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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.

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.

About the author:

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.

Find Heather:

Website | Facebook | Goodreads


  1. Aww, sorry this one didn't work for you. So difficult to enjoy a book if you can't connect with the mc. Great review, and thanks for being honest.

  2. I have a big ABORT button these days if I get a whiff that a new series is dystopian. I'm so over that genre. UNLESS it''s something wholly new and exciting, which I'm thinking it would have to be a different genre to do that, so not dystopian. Anyway, I will be avoiding this book in the future. Lack of connection to the MC, a potential love triangle, and suspect world building, including Apple worship is not something I want to contend with. Also, rarely do I find book comparisons helpful.


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