Cover art illustrated by: Chris McGrath
Relic of the Gods by Philip C. Quaintrell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Series: The Echoes Saga (Book #3 of 9)
Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy
Pages: 526 pages (Kindle Edition)
Published: 1st June 2018 by Quaintrell Publishing (Self-Published)
An epic and action-packed conclusion to the first arc of The Echoes Saga.
“I will teach you what I can in our time together but, ultimately, it will be your actions that define you, that guide you to your place in the world.”
This book surprised me, and I am genuinely pleased that I still have six books left in the series to read. Relic of the Gods is the third installment in The Echoes Saga series by Philip C. Quaintrell, and it’s also the conclusion of the first out of three arcs in the series. Although Quaintrell still played around with classic fantasy elements heavily, I think he has also succeeded in making The Echoes Saga stand as its own series while paying homage to the classic. The scope of the series has gotten bigger, and the battles in this book was more epic than what happened in the previous installments. It’s certainly an epic fantasy, and I believe the decision for Quaintrell to divide the nine-book series into three parts will pay off nicely. The author could end the series right here if he wanted, and it would be enough to make this a satisfying and entertaining trilogy. By including more books in the series, I assume with a time-skip implemented, too, Quaintrell has the potential to elevate The Echoes Saga to a new height.
“The ranger looked at the short-sword in his hands. “We all have something that tethers us to ourselves. Something we fear to let go of.”
Reyna leaned closer. “You don’t need a sword in your hand to know who you are, Asher. There’s more to this world than fighting – you just have to let us show you.”
I won’t go in-depth into the plot here. This is the third book, and the story is a direct continuation of the previous book. In the first half of the novel, the characters are left dealing with the repercussions and revelations from the end of Empire of Dirt. I need to remind you that The Echoes Saga is not a grimdark fantasy series. Recapturing the greatness often told in the classic fantasy story of good versus evil plus the importance of cooperation and unity in times of war are incredibly dominant themes in Relic of the Gods. And on this, Quaintrell did a superb job.
“They weren’t her people, yet Reyna saw them for what they were; people. Unlike many of her kin, the princess could only see what they had in common, what united them. Human or elf, both lived for their loved ones, to protect, provide, and enjoy what time they had together.”
Relic of the Gods and several other self-published fantasy books (like Dragon Mage by M.L. Spencer) also made me realize just how much I enjoyed reading tales about Dragonriders in adult fantasy genre. Just think about it, maybe it is due to how frequently they appear in classic fantasy, but stories about Dragonriders do not exist as often in the current fantasy market, specifically in traditionally published fantasy. The appearances of the Dragonriders are one of the main reasons why I love The Echoes Saga, especially in Empire of Dirt and Relic of the Gods where the Dragorn and their bonds with their dragons are highlighted extensively. I simply can’t get enough of reading them, and moving forward with the series, I sincerely hope there will be more coverage on them.
‘“This isn’t how we win…There’s no room for us and them in this war, Father. I have seen our enemy and he makes no distinction between our two shores.”’
As far as character goes, Quaintrell did a great job balancing the character development for the main POV characters of the series so far. However, my assessment stands that Asher and Gideon Thorn remain firm as my favorite characters of the series. Gideon Thorn, in particular, has to be my utmost favorite if I have to choose only one favorite character in the three books in the series I’ve read so far. This is not an easy decision to make. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, the scope of the series is bigger, and the same notion is also applicable to the cast of characters. Thankfully, the growing number of characters didn’t end up becoming an issue for the narrative because Quaintrell infused enough distinct voices into each character. It was rewarding seeing how far the characters and their relationships developed since their first appearance in Rise of the Ranger.
“A golden dawn graced the green fields of Velia, its light promising the hope of a new day. Tauren Salimson had learned long ago that hoping achieved nothing; he had to fight for everything.”
With all the positive things said, was Relic of the Gods my favorite of the three books in the series so far? Unfortunately, I have to say no. It’s worth knowing that Relic of the Gods featured a LOT of battle scenes. About half of this book are detailed battle scenes, and there were moments before the Battle for Velia transpired where I felt the battle scenes happened a bit too often that it slightly disrupted the compelling pacing of the narrative. This, however, doesn’t affect my overall enjoyment too much. In Relic of the Gods, Quaintrell managed to imbue some of the most memorable scenes of the series so far. Storm of fire, breathtaking inferno, glorious entrance scene, tension-packed duel, and many dragons, I definitely didn’t expect the conclusion to the first arc of the series would be this grand.
“Never rely on your sword, Asher, Nasta had lectured all those years ago. A man with a weapon in his hand believes he is invincible against an unarmed opponent. That belief makes him reckless, even more so if he is accompanied by others. This is to be exploited. Your enemies will be dead before they realise that you are the weapon.”
I don’t have much else to say regarding Relic of the Gods. Some pacing issues aside, this was a concluding installment that achieved two results: satisfaction and excitement. It was a satisfying conclusion to the first arc of the series, and it made me so excited to read the rest. If the conclusion of the first trilogy in the series is already this good. I envision the second and third trilogy will be even more awesome. And my god, if they really end up being better, then it’s just a matter of time before I consider The Echoes Saga one of my favorite series.
“You cannot love more superiorly than another,” Reyna countered. “I have seen their capacity for love and I see no difference between us. There’s no reason why we can’t live together, in peace.”
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