Friday, April 4, 2014

Book Review: Relic by Renee Collins

After a raging fire consumes her town and kills her parents, Maggie Davis is on her own to protect her younger sister and survive best she can in the Colorado town of Burning Mesa. In Maggie’s world, the bones of long-extinct magical creatures such as dragons and sirens are mined and traded for their residual magical elements, and harnessing these relics’ powers allows the user to wield fire, turn invisible, or heal even the worst of injuries.

Working in a local saloon, Maggie befriends the spirited showgirl Adelaide and falls for the roguish cowboy Landon. But when she proves to have a particular skill at harnessing the relics’ powers, Maggie is whisked away to the glamorous hacienda of Álvar Castilla, the wealthy young relic baron who runs Burning Mesa. Though his intentions aren’t always clear, Álvar trains Maggie in the world of relic magic. But when the mysterious fires reappear in their neighboring towns, Maggie must discover who is channeling relic magic for evil before it’s too late.

Relic is a thrilling adventure set in a wholly unique world, and a spell-binding story of love, trust, and the power of good.
Minor Spoilers Below

I was so excited to start this book! The thought of using the residual magic relics of extinct magical creatures was appealing to me but the book ended in a unsatisfying note. The conclusion was sound and well written but it's the magic of the story that left me unsatisfied. The story started off sadly tragic but ended up in a settling but open conclusion. I do feel that there is a sequel coming but I'm unsure about that.

I loved the idea of using relics which basically come from the bones of extinct magical creatures based on the magic they possessed themselves. The setting is in Colorado in the Western times. I'm not a huge cow boy or Western fan so this was completely new to me. It grew on me, I enjoyed it but that's still not my thing. I'm a huge fantasy/scif girl here. Still I found myself drawn into this world easily and didn't have a huge problem in it. The use of the relics were fun but more minor than I thought they would be in the story. Still they had their significance but I think it could have been more involved in the story.

I did have issues with the main character working at The Dessert Rose which is a saloon undercover of a prostitute house. For some reason the protagonist was untouched while her friend wasn't. I'm not fond of these type of stories. I'm also not one to sit around while a friend gets attacked. I was appalled to see the main character accept to being locked in a room. I feel like I wouldn't stop without a fight. I wish the main character had more of a back bone like she did when she promised to take care of her sister. Only when her sister was involved was she useful. Other times I still feel like she didn't try hard enough.

The love interests for her and her friend actually grew on me. I liked them a lot. Still I couldn't help but feel like it was a little bit of insta-love. I accepted it and I found them charming. The other characters were fairly minor but I was pleased to see a variety of ethnicity in this book.

I really enjoyed the idea of sub-magical creatures like the rock devils(cousins of dragons), ghost coyotes, and sky horse(relative of pegasus). It's moments that the protagonist interacts with those creatures do I feel like the author came up with something mesmerizing and believable. I would like more moments like those.

Honestly, I feel like the story was good and I enjoyed the ride but I also feel like it could have been better. It had all the great ideas of relics and sub-magical creatures that it could have been amazing! Perhaps it was the Western setting and time period that turned me away or the lack of high magic. I felt something lacking with this story. It was also a tiny bit predictable but I had some doubts at first. Still I liked the book and if you're into Westerns and Magic, you can't go wrong!

2.7 out of 5 rating for me.

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