Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Relic: The Books of Eva

The Books of Eva
Heather Terrell

First Sentence
"Eamon throws his axe into the ice above his head."
Publisher's Description:

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.  
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!,

1 comment:

  1. I really love your take on the dystopian genre being the new "girl power", how very true! I never really thought of it that way and I'm so glad you've brought that to light. I actually never really thought of how most of these books featured a lead female character, and a strong one at that. Arianna... so insightful! Love it!


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