The Relic Guild
Author: Edward Cox
I have a big problem with fantasy books of late – they’re too bloody long. I’ve got a few in my TBR pile at the moment that could be used as building material and as a result will have to take a backseat for now or I won’t get any reviews written.
Thankfully, Edward Cox’s debut The Relic Guild is a little more manageable. Finding your feet in the fantasy genre can’t be easy these days and you’ve got to admire those who still manage to create something fresh and interesting, and to a large extent, Cox has done just that.
The world introduced to us is an elaborate and detailed realm where magic is mostly outlawed 40 years after a great war and the city, Labrys is now ruled by the Resident, Van Bam, himself a former member of the Relic Guild, from the confines of the mystical Nightshade
We are initially introduced to the now-defunct Guild themselves as a bunch of bounty hunters tracking a young girl accused of murder. It soon becomes apparent that the girl , Peppercorn Clara is wanted for something more sinister as it is revealed she has magic powers and Guild member Marney saves her life, in the process getting herself kidnapped. They learn that an ancient foe Fabien Moor, who they thought dead, has resurrected himself and has set plans in place to retake the city for his own ends using whatever evil means he can.
The Relic Guild is reinstated and Clara invited to join them to rescue Marney and stop Moor, her initiation to the Guild mirrored with Marney’s as regular flashbacks to forty years before when she herself joined, falling in love with Van Bam.
Lots of influences abound, not only from fantasy but from sci-fi in general. The magical elements have an interesting practical feel to them giving proceedings an almost steampunk feel at times, with magic-powered weapons and bullets providing an array of different ways to blow something away with considerable panache.
The plot trots along nicely with plenty of twists and the character development is generally good, although at times it feels like Clara could do with a little more fleshing out as she can come across as a little one-dimensional at times. The Guild themselves are an interesting bunch as is their relationship with each other, a sort of mystical Avengers if you wish, who seem happiest when doing what they’re best at and you can’t help thinking occasionally that they’re enjoying all this mayhem after years of retirement. A great introduction is Hamir, the onsite Necromancer of the Nightshade, who despite his geeky credentials can be as badass as the rest of his companions when the need arises.
The Relic Guild is well worth your time if the current fantasy crop is not to your taste. It introduces enough original elements to an interesting and well-built world with a lot of potential and hopefully builds on this foundation in later books.
4 out of 5 Nerds