Okay guys and gals, if this book doesn’t blow up, I’m going to lose my shit. If I don’t see this book plastered around Bookstagram, I’m going to lose my shit. If I don’t see this book get the recognition and love that it deserves, I’m going to lose my shit.
Rating – 💖💖💖💖💖 (just in case you didn’t already gather that from my opening)
Release date – 12th September 2019
In the city of Edriast, there is no deadlier duty than to serve as the Shadow.
As the personal servant of the powerful Lord Rennard, the Shadow’s life is all but forfeit. Rennard possesses one of five rare and dangerous Relics – a jewel that protects his bloodline, but slowly poisons everyone else in its proximity. When the current Shadow succumbs to its magic, nineteen-year-old blacksmith Kaylan is summoned to take his place.
It’s an appointment that will kill her.
As the time Kaylan has left ebbs away, hope begins to fade… That is, until she discovers a plot to destroy all five bloodlines in possession of the Relics.
A rebel force plans to put an end to Rennard’s rule and Kaylan suddenly finds herself embroiled in a cause that might just be worth fighting for. But no cause is without its costs…
As her life hangs in the balance and rebellion bears down on Edriast, Kaylan must decide where her loyalties lie – and how she’ll leave her mark on the world.
Honestly, I’ve been struggling with fantasy books recently, and I have no idea why; the only books I’ve been truly loving have all been contemporaries, which is totally unusual for me because I usually love fantasy.
So it’s safe to say that I haven’t read a fantasy book that’s gripped me as much as this one in a good couple of months, if not more. I loved every single moment of it.
Characters & Story
Relic is narrated by Kaylan, our main character, who is forced to become the personal servant to their Lord after a random Hunger Games-esque lottery chooses her. The Lord she serves, Rennard, is the owner of a powerful jewel called the Relic, which protects its master, but slowly poisons everyone around him – making Kaylan’s new job an incredibly dangerous one, with a certain death sentence.
Kaylan is an absolutely fabulous main character; she’s strong, but she’s not over-the-top, smash-everyone’s-face-in strong. Her strength lies in how much she loves her family, how fiercely she protects them, how she creates relationships despite knowing that she’s nearing the end of her life. But what’s absolutely fabulous is the fact that Kaylan isn’t strong all of the time; her physical and mental strength diminishes as the Relic’s affects slowly become more pronounced, but she still refuses to give up.
We also have Markus (the Master of the Hunt, and also the ultimate Dog Lover) and Jesper (Rennard’s wife, who deserves a freaking medal for what she puts up with) , who are both absolutely golden. The support and friendship they offer to Kaylan when she arrives at the castle is beautiful, and I loved seeing it develop.
I loved the pair’s conflicting feelings in regards to Kaylan and her position, because they obviously don’t agree with the Shadows, but Markus has known Rennard for his whole life, and Jesper is Rennard’s wife, and has come to care for him. Nothing is cut and dry in this book, which I absolutely love, because it makes the characters and the world building a lot more realistic.
And also, Markus? I swoon.
There is also Shae, who is Kaylan’s best childhood friend. While we don’t see all that much of her in this book, the bits we do see of her will melt your heart because their friendship is the kind that everyone should experience in life. It’s pure and gorgeous.
The final two characters I’m going to mention are Rennard and Thorn. There’s not actually much I want to say about them, other than the fact that they’re both bastards, and you’re gonna hate them.
World Building & Setting
Much of this book is set in Lord Rennard’s castle and its grounds, although we do get glimpses of the outside city. The castle parts reminded me of Ash Princess, as Kaylan is very much an outsider in a lot of people’s eyes, whereas the city reminded me of Adarlan from Throne of Glass.
The fact that this book is Bronwyn’s debut novel is absolutely mind-blowing. Her writing style, story, pacing, characters and world building are all sublime, and she manages to include a gorgeous bit of romance into the story without it being overwhelming.
I genuinely can’t remember the last fantasy book I read that had me this excited for the sequels. If you read one debut this year, this has to be it.
I received an ARC of Relic from Talem Press, but all opinions are my own.