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Book: “Relic and Ruin” by Wendii McIver
Publishing Info: Wattpad Books, June 2022
Where Did I Get this Book: Edelweiss+
Where Can You Get this Book: Amazon | IndieBound | WorldCat
Book Description: The Banshee and the Wraith. They have the power to save the world―or destroy it.
In a place unlike any other, two brothers set off an ancient, epic, and never-ending battle. This world is controlled by the Necromancers and Reapers―one side pulls people back up through the earth, and the other cuts them down again. One ancient family, the Laheys, have been tasked again and again with keeping the balance between the worlds. And Nyx Lahey, born a Necromancer, but raised a Reaper, is on the front lines. Lately, though, Nyx is wrestling with her identity as she’s thrown into an adventure filled with prophecies and the kind of danger you can cut down with a giant scythe.
While chasing a creature that’s killing young girls, Nyx runs headlong―and gun drawn―into Erebus Salem. A hunter who has the ability to turn into a raven to escape danger, Erebus also harbors a secret: he’s not alive. He lives in Dewmort, a world in-between, where the souls of the dead reside, and where memory is all but erased. With no memory of who he is, his only connection to the past is a locket which ends up in Nyx’s hands. Determined to get it back, Erebus and his friends set watch on the Laheys, but they aren’t the only ones.
Other beings are lurking in the shadows. They know the truth about Erebus and Nyx. They know that the pair are the Relics, the only two powerful beings in the world capable of taking down the greatest evils known to any kind. Soon, Nyx and Erebus become the hunted, and must try and escape the evil plans of the war lord, Bellum.
Bellum wants the Relics for his own purposes. He needs them to raise his father, the original Necromancer, Neco. With his father by his side, Bellum believes he can rule the world―all of them―and destroy the Reapers once and for all.
Can Nyx and Erebus master their new found powers, and even if they do, can they survive?
Review: So, this was a bit of an impulse request on my part. On one hand, the idea of two groups, Reapers and Necromancers, battling across the centuries is very interesting. On the other hand, the main character’s name is Nyx… Which sounds much too close to the specific type of YA leading lady that I don’t enjoy. Yes, I will stereotype based only on a name! But never say that I am ruled by those stereotypes, since here I am reading and reviewing this book.
Though born a Necromancer, Nyx and her family has a long history of working with the Reapers to contain the undead horrors the Necromancers bring into the world. On what seems like a routine job, Nyx stumbles across the gruesome murder of a young girl and what looks like the beginning of the spree of a madman. At the same time, she runs across Erebus, a young man with more mysteries than she can imagine. But what seems as random chance becomes much more when the two discover they are what is known as Relics, powerful magical beings.
I’m always happy to be proven wrong in my more shallow initial assessments. However, I can’t say that this is one of those times. Indeed, this book mostly lived up to almost every YA stereotype I associate with the type of teen fantasy story that features a main character named “Nyx.” But, while I didn’t enjoy this book, there are some bare bones here that I want to praise, since there will definitely be readers who can enjoy this book.
First off, I still think the concept of the Reapers and Necromancers is an interesting starting platform. The book starts out really well, in fact, with a history of the two brothers whose fight lead to this ages-old war. The plot and writing is also quick and fast-paced so readers who do find themselves getting sucked in will likely breeze through this book quickly. It also is a dark (ish) YA fantasy, which will surely appeal to YA fantasy readers who are tired of dragons and swords.
One of my first problems with the book, however, is that while the initial fantasy concept and world-building is interesting, there’s never enough information given to make it actually understandable to the reader. Unless you are caught up in the fast pace of the story, when you stop to actually think about what’s going on, all you find are more questions. There are such a thing as “in-betweeners” mentioned early in the book. But I could never really figure out what these were or how they they fit in with all the various creatures that we run into along the way. In this way, the fast pace of the story began to make the book feel rushed and unclear more than anything else.
I also couldn’t get on board with our main characters. Nyx comes from a ginormous family, all of who have various different abilities which are listed off for the reader in an exhausting fashion. But with this large cast of characters, it was hard to latch on to any actual arch on Nyx’s part. And then Erebus falls into that increasingly unappealing zone (for me at least) of the love interest who is centuries old but still falls in a love with a teenager. Obviously this is completely subjective, but I find myself way less annoyed by the age difference trope in romances if the centuries-old being is at least falling in love with a full adult. I just can’t buy it, otherwise. Not to say that Erebus doesn’t seem like a teenager himself, but that’s its own problem (or just problem for me, since seeming like a teenager is probably, largely, a win for a YA book!). So, because of this, I struggled to become invested in either of them individually or the romance in general.
Unfortunately, this book wasn’t for me. I enjoyed the first few chapters, but once the story actually settled into what it was going to be about, I found myself getting bored and skimming ahead. I’m sure some YA fantasy readers will enjoy this, but it might be more of a struggle for adult readers of YA fantasy.
Rating 6: Some clumsy world-building and flat main characters made this book a bit of a chore for me.
“Relic and Ruin” isn’t on any Goodreads lists, but it should be on Indie YA Paranormal Romance.