Review Blog

Feb 28 2012

Relic Master: The dark city by Catherine Fisher

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Relic Master: Book 1. Dial Books, 2011.
(Age 11+) Chosen as on of the ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults 2012, The dark city is the first in the Relic Master series, and is a welcome reprint of a book that was first published in 1998. Galen, a Keeper of the Order and of Relics, and his young apprentice, Raffi, live a difficult life avoiding the Watch, which wants to destroy all members of the Order. Anara, their world, has been mysteriously devastated and Galen and Raffi go on a quest to find the Crow, something or someone who may be able to rescue their world. On the way they meet a young girl Carys, who is a member of the Watch, and who journeys with them, keeping her past a secret.
Fisher has created a wonderful world that is part science fiction and part fantasy. The relics that Galen and Raffi seek are from a technologically advanced world, with powers that they have no knowledge of. At the same time the Keepers have magic powers. Raffi can feel sense-lines and knows if danger is near. He needs all his powers to keep them safe as they travel to the city of darkness, Tasceron, where dangerous secrets lurk. The Sekoi, original owners of the land, also play a role in the dangerous quest that they have embarked upon.
Written in an easy to read style, Fisher carries her readers along on an absorbing journey. Although quite long, the book is made of short chapters, each of which is divided with an illustration and saying from sacred books and this makes it an easy read. Entries from Carys' journal also provide interesting insights into the characters of Galen and Raffi as well as her growing doubts about the Order and the Watch.
There are three more books in the Relic Master series, which I look forward to reading. This book should appeal to middle school readers who enjoy fantasy and although easier to read than Incarceron (Horn Book best book 2010) and Sapphique, its sequel, it will also appeal to readers who enjoyed those two books.
Pat Pledger

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