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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Monday, October 28, 2013

...stepping into the unknown, a world of rules and treachery

Relic (The Books of Eva #1) by Heather Terrell   

Another dystopian novel touted to be 'like the hunger games.' Ok, there is a time of testing and a new world order to be overthrown. Relic is not like The Hunger Games. (Really publishers! Get over it! Move on!) It has similarities but then it has similarities to many other books where:
*Civilization as we know it has ended due to some catastrophe. (It seems about 250 years ago here)
*Technology is demonized (I love that Apple is touted as the god symbol,the evil cause of civilizations downfall and that iPads are seen as travelling altars of worship)
*A new order has arisen, the people are conservative and  inward looking with strict rules about things like how much naked skin can be revealed, tasks are allotted according to gender etc.
*Testing of the warrior/leadership class, in this case involves survival outside the city in the Arctic wasteland
*Some sort of quest. Here to find a Relic of some significance washed up on the Frozen Shores during the time of Healing (really a catastrophic flood). The finder has to chronicle stories about the Relic that will sustain the myth of the Lex chosen, those from the Aerie.
Eva takes her turn, the first woman for many years to do so. Factions are aligned against her.
A knowledge of the rules, a study of the ancient manuscripts, can be used to discover new information and to use against those in authority. When Eva is challenged about staking her claim she can challenge knowledgeably.
There is an unknown probably powerful group of people who are acting clandestinely to preserve the status quo. The death of Eva's twin, Eamon hints at this.
The arrival of these newcomers to the Arctic disrupted the way of the original inhabitants  (it seems the descendants of the Inuit) who present a different face to the new closed community for reasons of their own. Whilst to the Aerie inhabitants the indigenous peoples appear as less than civilized. The original inhabitants have their own reasons for going along with the new arrivals suppositions.
The use of biblical references are reworked to promote this new society's beliefs and aims according to the leadership goals. 
It's not the Hunger Games. It's a promising read. I am hoping the next books build on that latent promise and the series blossoms as it moves forward.

A NetGalley ARC

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