Publisher: Soho Teen
Released: October 29th 2013
My Rating: 2.5 stars out of 5
Find it on Goodreads
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. (from Goodreads)
Relic was a strange read. The story was not what I was expecting at all, and while it certainly was a different idea, I'm not sure how I felt about it overall.
Eva was someone I wanted but struggled to like. She was participating in the Test because her twin brother, Eamon, died and she felt she had to take his place. And while this was noble of her and she obviously loved her brother a lot, her attitude was just so difficult to accept. I understand that she and everyone else in the Aerie lived in a brainwashed world and that she had been brought up with these prejudices, but her casual acceptance of women being less than men, and needing more protection, and her hatred of technology and blind following of the Lex was just...hard to swallow. I completely get that it wasn't her fault, but it just wasn't fun reading about it, especially since she didn't question any of these teachings or terrible customs until the VERY end, and even then she was kind of horrified and sceptical. So while I didn't dislike her, she wasn't the best main character I've ever read about. I think I'll like her a lot better in following books once she starts to become a little more open-minded and questioning. And to be fair to her, I didn't really like any characters in the Aerie, especially Jasper (and I will have more to say about him much later) so really, it's nothing personal, and she did pretty well to find her Relics.
Lukas was...eh. I didn't buy the romance between him and Eva that was hastily brought up at the end. And if he knew so much about the pre-Healing, why did he just let Eva go into the Test without telling her anything? Why wait until after! It seemed weird that he'd kept such massive secrets from Eva and Eamon his whole life, especially since they were all meant to be friends. I liked that he didn't believe in all the restrictive crap but I just found his actions to be a bit odd. I did appreciate that his teachings and training were pretty much the main reason Eva was able to stay alive though - she managed to apply the things he'd taught her (though she mentioned "what Lukas taught me" waaay too much). I'm a bit confused about him to be honest. Still preferred him to Jasper though.
Jasper. Just...no. Maybe I'm just being overly cynical, but he seemed so fake to me. He probably did care about Eva's wellbeing, but only in terms of his own wants. He wanted a union between them, he wanted either to be Archon or have connection to one and the way he reacted when he found out people liked Eva's Chronicle more than his was just awful. I didn't really trust him, to be honest, and he way too ardent a follower of the Lex. You could tell that he truly believed he was superior and it just pissed me off, no matter how nice and caring he acted towards Eva at times. I am kind of interested to see whether he's trustworthy or not in later books, but during this book, I didn't like him and the ending meant Eva was in a bit of a conundrum concerning him.
The world was a bit confusing and strange and at times, kind of made me laugh. The fact that people thought that Apple (creators of the iPhone) was some kind of god that people in the pre-Healing days used to worship was kind of funny. I just found it really odd though that after the polar ice-caps melting, which wiped out loads of people and caused the remaining to move to the New North, people would decide to regress and go back to such old-fashioned beliefs where men were superior to women and were the ones that held the power - where technology was regarded as evil and worshipping and dedication to the gods was of the utmost importance, and that anyone who didn't believe was a heretic. I mean, why? Who implemented this? How was it even allowed? Why on earth did people go along with it?! It was so odd to hear people refer to modern day medicines as a product of evil, and that technology should be something to be feared. Even Maybelline and Coca-Cola were apparently terrible remnants of the past. It was because of this that I found Eva's Chronicle about Elisabet so weird. I kind of skimmed it, if I'm truthful, and it was slightly disturbing. Everything these people believed about the old world was just completely wrong and they couldn't even see how manipulated and used they were. In addition, another thing that confused me was apparently the Test occurred every year - but if that were the case, wouldn't there be a new Archon every year? That's not how it seemed to work. And I didn't really get why finding Relics was so important that people would risk their lives...
Overall, Relic was a bit of a puzzling read with some bizarre ideas. It was fairly enjoyable, but I was aware of its faults and I'm not super excited to read the next one. I might give it a go if I have the chance.