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RELIC by Heather Terrell


From the Books of Eva series, volume 1

by Heather Terrell, illustrated by Ricardo Cortés

Age Range: 12 - 18

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-61695-196-2
Publisher: Soho Teen

Standard-issue dystopia set in a post–global-warming future: plucky heroine, lying leaders, ridiculous endurance tests and, yes, two hot guys.

Eva is a Maiden of New North, the last remaining civilization after oceans rose and the world flooded. The Lex, or law, of her world is filled with references to the evil of the “false god Apple” and strict hierarchical and gendered rules for living. After her twin brother’s death, Eva takes his place as a Testor seeking Relics from the pre-Healing time. If she can find a worthy Relic and craft a suitably moral cautionary tale (but not a Lex-prohibited “fiction”), she can succeed her father as Chief Archon. The plethora of details include Inuit and Latin terms and slightly entertaining but preachy uses of real-world items (Prozac, MasterCards) listed as evils of the past, all of which set this slightly apart from similar books but might overwhelm readers. Moreover, the plot lacks plausibility, some of which is revealed to be intentional but much of which seems designed to propel action. Flat first-person narration and weak characterization detract from the good bits, and in the end, it’s really all setup for the next volume anyway.

While not egregiously terrible, this is yet another also-ran in the hordes of books vying to be the next Hunger Games or Divergent. (map, illustrations) (Science fiction. 12 & up)