Thursday, October 31, 2013

Relic by Heather Terrell

Terrell, Heather. Relic. New York: Soho Teen, an imprint of Soho Press, Inc., Expected Release 10/29/2013. Print.

3 Word Booktalk: Apple Relics Bad!

Annotation: If the world flooded and the small amount of human survivors were reduced to living like the Dark Ages, what would they think, 200 years in the future, when they uncover our remains, of our Apple, our Prozac, our Mastercard? 

Review: Eva just lost her brother Eamon, who was going to the Testing with other candidates, to attempt to win the honor of Chief Archon, a role their father won years before. But Eamon was questioning the status quo, and it got him killed before he could even Test. Enter Eva, a Maiden of the Aerie, (yes, down to the head-to-toe gown, think Dark Ages) who decides to take Eamon's place in the Testing, after finding that the Lex (like their Bible, up there in New North) actually permits females to Test, even though it had not been done in 150 years.  Eva is, of course, a more determined female than average, and when things during the Testing don't add up, she (like Eamon before her) starts to question everything the Lex and her people of the Aerie, have led her to believe is true -- about them, about the Boundary people who "serve" them, and ultimately about their humans that lived before the flood (the Healing) took that civilization. 

Ok, here we go. On Amazon, it says this book is a cross between The Game of Thrones and The Hunger Games, hoping to entice readers who love that sort of thing. It isn't. The only similarities are this: female protagonist in a dystopian world, some kind of testing and competition, rulers that are insidious in their desire to protect the status quo, a world where the people live in the style of the Dark Ages with patriarchal gender roles. That's it. It is an insult to both writers of TGoT and HG to even compare this book to those. 

This is a sophomoric effort at best. Most of the characters were rather flat, when they could have been fleshed out so much more. The plot was rather predictable, and you know which way it is going to go at every turn, believe me, which bored me. Ditto to the transparent and trite future love triangle.

However, I did like the concept of people in the future misconstruing Apple as something we people of today thought of as God, and that the no-longer-functioning computer relics were glass worship alters. That our society was overdependent on Mastercard, Visa, Prozac and other "remedies" like Tylenol and Ambien, failing to see the true meaning of life. But this great concept also wasn't fleshed out as much as it could've been. Good concept, weak delivery. 

I didn't even start becoming interested until the last 30-40 pages, when Eva started to deviate from the plan and show some initiative, making the trajectory of the plot start to also take off, just when the book was ending, which pissed me off. What we are left with is a small desire to see if the next book (yes, another @#$?&! series! Is the stand-alone book now dead, I ask you?)

I don't know if that little itch is one I am willing to scratch. The first book was a bit of a snooze and I'm not sure I would invest the time, when there are some seriously fantastic books out there, just waiting to be read. (Read my recent review of The Dream Thieves if you doubt this.)

Genres: dystopian / science fiction / fantasy / ya fiction

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