Format: Kindle, 400 pages
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Western
After a raging fire consumes her town and kills her parents, Maggie Davis is on her own to protect her younger sister and survive the best she can in the Colorado town of Burning Mesa. In Maggie's world, the bones of long-extinct magical creatures such as dragons and sirens are mined and traded for their residual magical elements, and harnessing these relics' powers allows the user to wield fire, turn invisible, or heal even the worst of injuries.
Working in a local saloon, Maggie befriends the spirited showgirl Adelaide and falls for the roguish cowboy Landon. But when she proves to have a particular skill at harnessing the relics' powers, Maggie is whisked away to the glamorous hacienda of Álvar Castilla, the wealthy young relic baron who runs Burning Mesa. Though his intentions aren't always clear, Álvar trains Maggie in the world of relic magic. But when the mysterious fires reappear in their neighboring towns, Maggie must discover who is channeling relic magic for evil before it's too late.
Renee Collins' Relic is a story that is set in 1867 Colorado. It is a world where Cowboys, Indians, Spanish settlers, rock devils, rattlers, vampire scorpions and ghost coyotes roam the plains. On top of all that, Collins' world has powerful relics leftover from the time of vampires, werewolves, sirens, dragons, unicorns, and others before they were wiped out. The relics give the user ridiculous abilities from being invisible, to creating fire, to bending the will of a person to gain advantage over that person.
Relic features 16-year old Maggie Hall who experiences one of the more tragic losses you can experience. After her parents, and younger brother are killed by a quickly moving fire that destroys their home in Haydenville, Maggie and her younger sister Ella find themselves in Burning Mesa. Maggie believes she has a calling, and that calling is centered around the relics. If she does have a calling, it will take the right person, in the right place, and the right environment for that to come to realization. Maggie seeks out employment at a local relic refinery, but finds herself temporarily side tracked.
Maggie finds work at The Desert Rose where she befriends Adelaide Price and the real bastard Percy Connelly who is her boss and antagonist. It is also the place where she will later meet her cowboy Landon Black who shatters every single one of her expectations. It is also the place where she starts to investigate the rash of fires that have destroyed several towns. But, it is Alvar Castilla, the richest man in town, who gives Maggie the break she needs to see if relics are really her calling. Alvar is obsessed with relics. He also knows that Maggie is something special having seen it with his own eyes. He believes she is someone he can train to become his apprentice while avoiding the label of courtesan.
Maggie's friendship with Yahnuiyo is one of the bright spots of this book. As an Apache, Yahn's people experience the real life discrimination and blame that comes from being a non-white, or non-Spanish lords in this land. Yahn's people are against mining for the sleeping bones of the Silent Ones. Therefore, they are to blame for everything that happens no matter whether or not it is true or a situation where they are the villains without any proof to substantiate the claims.
Maggie is more than a decent enough character. Everything she does is for her sister Ella. When she has to put her sisters situation first before her own, you know that her heart is in the right place. More often than not, characters leave their younger siblings behind to be raised by others, or ignored entirely because they take away from their free time. Nope, not Maggie. Maggie is also not involved in any true love triangle, although her friendship and connection with Yahn needs further exploration. Maggie is also smart, driven, and not afraid to get her hands dirty.
My complaint with this story is the rushed ending, and the glaring cliffhanger ending which has no resolution. Since this book was released in 2013, and the author has released or will release other books, I dare ask, are you going to write a sequel to this story Ms Collins? Or, has the publisher disavowed any further book in this series? One can definitely call this an alternative history western fantasy novel because of its roots in the past with those supernatural beings who apparently no longer reside on this plane.
Regardless of my issue, Relic is still and entertaining and worthwhile read.