Book of the Year 2016 (see all)
The Watcher of Dead Time is the culmination of Edward Cox's The Relic Guild trilogy, previous reviews can be found here - The Relic Guild and The Cathedral of Known Things. Please do not read further if you haven't read the previous novels.
After being left on a horrendous cliffhanger with the Cathedral of Known Things, I was anxious to read what happened to the Relic Guild next and if anyone would survive the return of the Genii and their attempts to release Spiral from his prison.
As in the previous novels, we follow the characters of the Relic Guild in the present day, as well as those in the past, so there are a large number of characters to keep track of. As the Relic Guild in the past loses more of their number as time passes, we are kept tantalised knowing which of these characters will not survive to the future, but still not knowing what actually becomes of them. In the present, we are left following the disparate number of the Relic Guild as it is split into smaller teams in their attempt to retrieve Known Things before the Genii can. This has been a dark trilogy and this last instalment doesn't disappoint in this and even surpasses the previous novels at times.
With key characters now left by the wayside, and the brutality of Van Bam's final moments, we are again shown the symbiosis between Clara's present day journey and Marney's in the past. How both characters have had to grow up faster than they should have, and seen things that would have stopped others from continuing to move forward. With Marney and Denton's journey coming to an end with all of the sorrow and misery they have seen as they learnt about the Genii war first hand. They saw Thaumaturgists and Genii fighting each other and realised how little they know about the universe they live in. Clara on the other hand, after finding herself as a junior member of the Relic Guild in the first novel has to start relying on herself and accepting that she is both human and the wolf, rather than compartmentalising these different aspects of herself. Clara has learnt much, but still has to learn to trust and rely on herself rather than following everyone else's directions.
We also finally get to see how far Lady Amilee's plans go to make sure that Spiral doesn't win. Even as we see how slim the chances of her success are. Lady Amilee has plotted the course of the action, carefully in the hopes that everything will fall into place, even as she sacrifices the Relic Guild as if they were mere pawns on a chessboard. Spiral we are told was the strongest Skywatcher of the three, but it seems that some things are hidden even from him. With his arrival back in the functional world, the worlds beyond the Labyrinth are about to get a lot darker as Spiral is more nihilistic and destructive than previously imagined.
The Watcher of Dead Time answers a lot of questions that have been seeded from the first novel onwards and there are some unexpected twists and some great revelations, both for and from certain characters. The full story of The Relic Guild from the past to the present has been intricately conceived so that the story never feels like it is dragging as we know that each scene we read will affect the later story whether that is in the past or the present sections. Each chapter fits well together and secrets are revealed expertly so that although you hope that the Relic Guild will succeed against the odds, you can never be certain that this is the expected outcome.
As you may have guessed, I have enjoyed this series immensely, so all that is left to say is, if you haven't yet started this trilogy (what are you doing reading this paragraph?!) go and get yourself a copy so that you can immerse yourself in the world of the Relic Guild and discover the secrets of the Great Labyrinth for yourself.
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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