October 17, 2013

Latest Read: Relic by Heather Terrell

Here are the basics ...
Relic (The Books of Eva I) by Heather Terrell
Publication date: Oct. 29, 2013
Publisher: Soho Teen
Category: Young Adult - Dystopian
Source: Received ARC at BEA (Thanks!)

Summary: 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 and a prestigious marriage befitting the daughter of an Aerie ruler. But Eva insists on honoring her brother by becoming a Testor, the first female Testor 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. (Adapted goodreads.com)
My thoughts…
The good: Truth be told, I was not a huge fan of Relic but there were a couple things I liked.  It's set some time in the unforeseeable future and the world has gone through a change, or a Healing, as it's often referred to. From what I understood, the ice caps melted and the people who survived considered the natural disaster to be another Noah's Ark. That God had decided to cleanse the world of evils - technology, money - and left only the worthy to live in what was left. A new society was then formed with different caste systems, stricter roles for men and women (gallants and maidens respectively) and those who wanted to lead their people had to pass the Testing. When Eva's twin brother Eamon is  training for the Test, he mysteriously falls to his death and Eva takes it upon herself to see his dream through by entering in his place.

I think Relic's strongest point was Eva as a heroine. In fantasy and dystopian novels, I prefer characters who challenge society and seek the truth, which Eva certainly does. She's juggling a fine line between being the Maiden she's expected to be and the Testor she knows she's capable of. She's smart and resourceful and despite the many challenges facing her, she wants to win.

(Major) reservations: The world-building was inconsistently placed through out the book. There is a lot of information the reader needs to know - what the new society is, how it works and how they got there. You get almost none of that in the beginning so you're forced to glean the details from what Eva shares in her thoughts about her home and the Testing. Then towards the end, suddenly how this world came to be is explained but it would've been helpful to have that information sooner in order to visualize things better. That was definitely a major issue for me - I couldn't picture this world or their society. Then their aversion to technology was somewhat laughable. I do understand the point the author was trying to make but mentioning things like, the people before the Healing worshiped the god of Apple, didn't go over well with me. Things like Tylenol, Mastercards and computers are referred to as objects of evil and woship. I think it might've been better to refer to those objects in general terms rather than naming specific brands because it just took me out of the story whenever that happened.

The whole plot is based on Eva passing the Testing. She's supposed to survive traveling over the ice and mostly unknown terrains and then find Relics (which were not what I expected to be at all) to prove her worth to be a leader. But I never got a sense of danger or urgency along this journey. Then during the Testing (which takes up the majority of the book), the Testors aren't allowed to converse with people. So there's no interactions or relationships being developed. We get a short glimpse of important people in her life in the beginning and the end but it wasn't enough to feel invested. Especially when you've got two of those characters randomly declaring their feelings for Eva.

Do I recommend?: It always pains me to say this but I can't see myself recommending this to anyone. I think the core idea behind the book is an interesting one but it just wasn't executed as well as it could've been.

Happy reading!

2 comments:

  1. Ha, that's a lot of reservations right there. I definitely won't be picking this up although I was never quite interested in it in the first place. While I do enjoy dystopian books, I find that the core of these books are action and excitement. I'm finding this plotline rather dull for my taste. So, definitely skipping this. Fab review though, Rachel! Insightful as always! :)

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  2. I was admittedly curious about this book, but not so much now after reading your thoughts on it! I've always had a difficult time with books that have confusing world-building, so I don't think this one is for me. Still, your thoughts were definitely laid out in a very good way!

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