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

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Cover Story: Holy Crevasse

BFF Charm: Heck Yes

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

Talky Talk: Puritan 2.0

Bonus Factors: Epic Quest, Secrets

Anti-Bonus Factors: “The False God Apple”

Relationship Status: Awkward First Date Turned Friends


Cover Story: Holy Crevasse

I’m not sure what’s rising out of that gap in the ice, but the colors suggest it’s something good. Although, it’s rising from below…which often portends the exact opposite of good.

The Deal:

Two hundred and forty-two years after the Healing, during which Earth’s polar ice caps melted and a select few humans made a new home on the frozen tundra of the high Arctic, Eva prepares herself for the Testing, a weeks-long trek into the snowy wilderness. Eva, the first Maiden to attempt the Testing in more than100 years, has been tasked with finding relics from before the Healing, relics that serve as a reminder of the destruction the worship of the god Apple and the use of remedies such as Prozac brought upon the people of the world. Little does Eva know that what she discovers will change her world—present, future and past.

BFF Charm: Heck Yes

Eva is a bit naive, but this I totally chalk up to the fact that she’s living in New North, a society that has altered history to fit its own extremely narrow-minded agenda. Within the confines of such a society, Eva tries to be a strong, confident young woman, going so far as to bend or even blatantly break the Lex, the New North’s guiding principles and rules. And even when she knows that what she’s doing might come with unforeseen, negative consequences, she cannot ignore her need to know the truth. I love her for that.

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

In the New North, physical contact between members of the opposite sex (who are not related) is forbidden until marriage. (I can only imagine that things would be even worse for two members of the same sex who happened to have an interest in each other.) Two young, unmarried people are not even allowed to be in the same room as each other without other individuals present, so the opportunity for swoon is very slight. There are hints of swoon to come, but Relic is an extremely chaste read.

Talky Talk: Puritan 2.0

In Relic, Heather Terrell has created an interesting combination of Early American literature and dystopian themes. For example:

“We of New North need Archons to show us the perils of our ways before the Healing—the abuse of our Father Earth which yielded the healing floods. We need to learn again of the hunger of the Tylenols that poisoned our minds; the thirst for Cokes that weakened our bodies; the greed for MasterCards that toppled our rulers. All this evil spawned from the worship of the false god Apple….”

The combination is a little hard to read at first, in part because the old-timey speak doesn’t quite mesh with the modern-day terms. But as I got further into the story, the two seemingly disparate ideas begin to work together to form a language/view of the world that feels both familiar and alien, old-fashioned and futuristic. On occasion, Terrell also writes as though she is someone who doesn’t know anything about humanity other than what they’ve observed from the outside, trying to describe us to their friends back home (wherever that might be).

Bonus Factor: Epic Quest

Eva’s journey into the harsh Arctic as part of the Testing is filled with danger and a lot of very cold weather. As a “Maiden,” Eva is seen as not being as capable as the other Testors, who are all young men who’ve been training for years. Eva, however, has skills and knowledge the others do not, and they work decidedly in her favor.

Bonus Factor: Secrets

The leaders of New North definitely know things their people don’t. As a reader, I wasn’t as nearly in the dark about what kind of secrets as Eva was, but there are still things I’m left wondering about.

Anti-bonus Factor: “The False God Apple”

I think I understand what Terrell was trying to do with the whole “false god Apple” thing—reflecting on icons of the 21st century that might still be somewhat present were a catastrophic disaster to befall the world—but still I felt myself rolling my eyes a bit every time it was mentioned. (Although it did cause me to reflect a little on what the multitude of Apple products in my home might say about me, were a future civilization to unearth them on an archaeological dig….)

Casting Call:

Emma Roberts as Eva

Relationship Status: Awkward First Date Turned Friends

You came off a little preachy at times, Book, and there were moments when I wanted to get annoyed at you for pushing your agenda upon me. I never went so far as calling a friend to fake an emergency, however, and I’m glad I didn’t. After that first little bit of figuring each other out, we reached a good place. You’re quite a good storyteller.

Relic will be available Oct 29.

Mandy lives in Austin, TX, where she's an editor/writer for an educational non-profit by day and a pop culture junkie by night. When she's not ensconced in a book forForever Young Adult, Mandy can be found swooning over superheroes, dreaming of The Doctor and grinning at GIFs.