Relic Master: The Dark City
Synopsis from back of book:
Hardcover: 384 pages
Reading Level: YA
Publisher: Dial (May 17, 2011)
Source: ARC from publisher in exchange for a review
Dark, dangerous, and deadly—welcome to Anara, a world mysteriously crumbling to devastation, where nothing is what it seems: ancient relics emit technologically advanced powers, members of the old Order are revered by the people but hunted by the governing Watch, and the great energy that connects all seems to also be destroying all. A master and his scholar, searching for a relic to save the world, will be tested beyond their limits, for there are monsters—some human, some not—that also want the relic’s power and wills top at nothing to get it.
That really doesn’t tell you much, does it? Let me start this off by saying that even though I had a hard time getting through this book—it just wasn’t my cup of tea—I can appreciate really great writing. It took me (dare I admit this?) months to finish this book—yeah, I really did say months. There was something that just didn’t pull me in, and I have a hard time saying what it was. The characters were great—very complex and interesting. The plot was well developed (consistent and complicated). I loved the doubting nature of the Watchman, Carys. She was brought up believing all Masters were to be loathed and destroyed, but when she actually met Raffi and Galen Harn, she started doubting her life’s teaching.
I also really appreciated that the “magical” aspect of this book was not over the top. In fact, one of the main characters had lost his magical abilities. He was a broken and desperate man, which really added to the complexity of his character. At the same time, his despair and brokenness made Raffi’s character more interesting. Raffi become dedicated and determined for the Master. I’m telling you, there were many great complications and levels to these characters.
Also, the world in which these characters lived was fascinating. Horrifying creatures that rip the flesh off of their victims; plant seeds that are like floating acid; a city that is in eternal darkness and flames—these are the things nightmares are made of, and yet the story wasn’t horrifying. It all worked really well together and helped build the suspense. I can honestly say I haven’t read a book that had a setting like this one. The originality was immense.
So why did it take me nearly 4 months to finish this book? Why did I not find myself staying up all night and living on coffee for this book? Why is my flashlight not out of batteries? I think knowing that this was the first book in a four book series kept me fully losing myself in the plot. As a stand alone book, it did not answer all of my questions. I can tell that there will be more books in the series because the story needs to continue. With that being said, that really bothered me. I like for books to function as both a series and stand-alone novels. I hate that cliffhanger feeling at the end of a book. Luckily, however, the remainder of the books will be published monthly from May until August. At least I—or anyone else that reads the series—won’t have to wait years to find out what happens.
Even though I had a hard time getting into the book (and finishing it), I still think it was fantastic. The writing style and level of detail given to everything was top notch. I can’t dispute that fact. Sometimes our mindsets and current lives are not conducive to certain types of books (at that given moment), and I think that’s what happened to me. All of the other things that are occupying my time right now prevented me from fully appreciating what this book has to offer. Knowing that, I know I will probably pick up the rest of the series when it becomes available and read it. The story is too complicated to let it end here. I want to know what happens to the characters!
I give this book a solid 4 stars, regardless of my personal feelings.