The Watcher of Dead Time (Relic Guild 3) by Edward Cox
|The Watcher of Dead Time (Relic Guild 3) by Edward Cox|
|Reviewer: Ani Johnson|
|Summary: The Relic Guild trilogy comes to an end with a series of revelations and swift scene changes. A well-linked, solid, satisfying fantasy series with some original touches.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368||Date: August 2016|
|External links: Author's website|
The Genii are winning and the Relic Guild is gradually being eradicated. Clara the changeling survives to fight but for how long? The trauma of what she's been through is taking its toll. However she's still Relic Guild so the fight goes on. Meanwhile elsewhere Samuel leads the search for the Nephilim who may be the key to good triumphing, but that's not straightforward either.
Edward Cox sets the final book in the Relic Guild trilogy before us and shows how innovative he is. He continues to play with time, once again taking us back 40 years to the first Genii war. This now brings us the added benefit of being able to spend time with people who have succumbed to the dangers and brutality of the current Genii onslaught. Speaking as someone who had a literary crush on lover and fighter Van Bam, being around the young him is definitely a good thing.
There are threads that weave between all three books during the author's time-play making it a deceptively complex compulsive page turner. As lightbulb moments occur a book or even two later from moments in earlier outings, this is a great pub-discussion piece that will keep fantasy/sci-fi reading groups going for a while. Even here, in this final volume, while earlier mysteries are being solved, more surface. Nothing to worry about though; we reach the end of the book satisfied rather than narked while realising this isn't a dip in and out series, but one that should be read in order.
No fantasy is complete without a grouchy, sarcastic character and therefore it's great that the sublime Samuel is still with us. His attempts at leading the search team demonstrates his wonderful impression of a short-tempered cat-herder. Yet there are moments when the grumpy outer crust cracks for a little while and a caring humanity shines through.
The other star is of course Clara herself. She's come a long way and learnt a lot since she was a teenage prostitute. Her raw savagery edge still exists though (and not just when she's in wolf form) that has served her – and our entertainment – well.
One point of fantasy tradition amongst the originality is the idea of splitting heroes up across a few fronts. Add that to the 40 year back story and there's a lot of jumping from one scene to another which sometimes feels a little too fast and frequent. Having said that, sometimes it generates a cliff hanger of nail chewing suspense and so at times felt worth it.
Minor gripes aside, this is definitely a fitting conclusion that's been worth waiting for from the first page. The fact the ending is appropriately gritty and unHollywood is a bonus. I would definitely suggest a re-reading of the Relic Guild series from its eponymous beginning if you're starting the final instalment with only a hazy recollection. The good news is that the re-read will be a great pleasure rather than a hardship; it's that sort of series.
(Thank you to the good people of Gollancz for providing us with a copy for review.)
Further Reading: If you haven't read the series from the beginning then, indeed, get thee to The Relic Guild. If you're already a fan and reaching out for another great recent fantasy book, we suggest Hope and Red by Jon Skovron or Stranger of Tempest by Tom Lloyd.
You can read more book reviews or buy The Watcher of Dead Time (Relic Guild 3) by Edward Cox at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy The Watcher of Dead Time (Relic Guild 3) by Edward Cox at Amazon.com.
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