The Relic by Colleen Helme
Publisher: Mundania Press
Length: Full Length (195 pgs)
Rated 4 Books
Review by Snapdragon
In the aftermath of a recent battle, Callista has become the sole guardian of the relic, a powerful crystal full of darkness. She hopes to use it to turn the shadowbeasts back into the men they once were, but so far, has not been successful.
Unless she can change them, she will have to kill them, and that is not an option she is willing to face. Left on her own in the Ruins of Belton, the relic seems to grow more powerful. Desperate to find the answer of its power, she seeks the origins of the relic in the Eastern Province.
As Justin battles a deadly enemy, Callista is caught in a personal fight between the forces of good and evil. The relic is the key to unleashing an even darker evil that will destroy everything, and Callista's determination is the only thing that will save them all.
Ms. Helme's intriguing fantasy, The Relic, starts with an eerie and enthralling prologue, introducing the powerful Lucien. He is at once aware of one he will see as foe: Callista. She, although well-meaning, can hardly be a match for him in power or expertise, but nonetheless, they are connected through the energy of the crystal relic. She will not release her hold, and struggles to keep control. Callista is not merely power-hungry - other lives are in her hands. The shadowbeasts, her wards as keeper of the relic, plead for release: A return to true life, or a merciful death.
Callista, still learning, still struggling for control, is caught between a great dark force, and the good. She has mixed emotions about her struggle, and about the one she loves: Justin.
We wonder about her love, as it seems Connor is the one best friend to her... we have to wonder if she really knows her own heart. Yet, will it turn out that he has his own agenda? Somehow, we never quite trust anyone in this tale.
The love story is there, and true and poignant, but occasionally the complexity of the story overshadows the emotions. Fans of the darker paranormals will love this, however. There are many touching moments and somehow they crop up even in among the darker events.
The crystal remains all-important through. Even in her dreams, Callista cannot escape its effects. Understanding the control of that power, and how one wizard might use it, or block the efforts of another, is a challenge to readers.
Dark and eerie, The Relic is also heartfelt and complex.