I soon found myself engaged in the richness of Labrys Town and its varied residents.
When I first started reading The Relic Guild, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I soon found myself engaged in the richness of Labrys Town and its varied residents. The story structure itself was split between many different perspectives and two different timelines, but this never felt confusing. Instead it was this structure that drew me in, wondering what had happened in the past that would lead to the events in the present.
The world here is different from our own, here magic exists, some humans are born with abilities such as illusion or shape shifting, but they are a minority. Magic like this world was created by the Timewatcher and is wielded in its purist form by Thaumaturgists her most loyal subjects who could be seen as an analogy to angels in our own world. The Relic Guild starts in the book’s present forty years after a devastating war between the Timewatcher and the Genii. The Genii are renegade Thaumaturgists who questioned the wisdom of the Timewatcher. The main focus of this book is The Relic Guild, whose members are the magickers keeping Labrys Town and The Great Labyrinth safe.
As already mentioned The Relic Guild has a split narrative, in the present we follow Clara, Van Bam and Sam as they realise a dark force from the past has re-emerged, they need to find out if they stand a chance of protecting themselves let alone Labrys Town. Whereas the chapters in the past give us a deeper history and meaning to what preceded the end of the war. The Relic Guild in the past is a more vibrant group which was very engaging as this was a more prosperous time with many more fantastical elements which held a true sense of wonder to the inhabitants of Labrys Town. This is especially felt as you continue to read the book and slowly find out what the future holds for these characters.
Even as the book switches between the past and the present whilst focusing on different perspectives this book has great pace as well as showing the distortions of history as the past fades into memory and legend. There is a certain level of distrust between Van Bam, Clara and Sam as they get to know each other, but they must learn to work together to survive. Edward Cox leaves all of his characters, in the past and present in perilous situations which means that I will be anxiously waiting to see if there is a forthcoming sequel.
As with all fantasy novels there are questions (that in this case might be answered in a future novel) which make you wonder why there was a decline in magickers being born in the human population, as well as why even in the past characters seem to hide their abilities until they are found by the Relic Guild? These are queries rather than faults, I thoroughly enjoyed The Relic Guild and look forward to reading more from Edward Cox as and when it appears.
The Relic Guide by Edward Cox
Gollancz (18 Sep 2014)
Review by Michelle Herbert
Edward Cox had his first short story published in 2000 and then spent much of the next decade earning a BA 1st class with honours in creative writing, and a Master degree in the same subject. He then went on to teach creative [...]
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