Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Review: Reliquary by Sarah Fine

RELIQUARY
by Sarah Fine
Series: Reliquary #1
Genres: UF/PNR
Publisher: 47 North
Publication Date: June 14th 2016
Source: Bought
Rating: ★★
Amazon - Barnes & Noble
Mattie Carver’s engagement party should have marked the start of her own personal fairy tale. But when her fiancé, Ben, is violently abducted the next morning, her desperate quest to find him rips her away from small-town life and reveals a shattering truth: magic is real—and Ben is hooked. It’s not the stuff of storybooks. It’s wildly addictive, capable of producing everything from hellish anguish to sensual ecstasy almost beyond human endurance.

Determined to find out who took Ben and why, Mattie immerses herself in a shadowy underworld and comes face-to-face with the darkly alluring Asa Ward, a rogue magic dealer, infamous hustler…and her missing fiancé’s estranged brother. Asa has the power to sense magic, and he realizes Mattie is a reliquary, someone with the rare ability to carry magic within her own body, undetected. Asa agrees to help find Ben on one condition: Mattie must use her uncommon talent to assist his smuggling operations. Now, from magic-laced Vegas casinos to the netherworld clubs of Bangkok, Mattie is on a rescue mission. With Asa by her side, she’ll face not only the supernatural forces arrayed against her but the all-too-human temptation that she fears she can’t resist.

Sarah Fine is one of my favorite authors. I have yet to read a book by her that I didn't like. As much as I adore her YA books, her adult series, Marked, is my favorite series from her because they are dark, gritty and sexy. When she mentioned that she had an exciting new adult UF series out, I was pumped, but also a bit wary after reading the summary because it mentioned a fiance and his brother. Despite warnings, I still gave Reliquary a try and I'm really really glad I decided to go with my instincts  here, because I had a wonderful time reading this book, getting to know these characters and being introduced to this incredible magic system.

Mattie Carver wakes up the morning after her engagement party to find her fiance, Ben, missing. Reliquary is told in Mattie's point of view and I loved being inside her head. With her caring and selfless attitudes, she was very likeable. I also liked how she was so determined to go after her fiance and to save his life, despite facing obstacles and discovering secrets about Ben that threatened the foundations of their relationship. As Mattie discovers more about her abilities as a reliquary, a powerful magical vessel and about the magic system she finds herself ensconced in, she matured as a character, becoming stronger, braver and more independent. On her journey to save Ben, she meets Asa, Ben's estranged older brother, who in my opinion, was sexy as sin. I was intrigued by Asa's character because he had that dark and broody thing going on with all the secrets he seemed to have. He was rough around the edges, complicated, but when he allowed his emotions to bubble up? I was a goner. Asa was interesting to me because most of Sarah Fine's heroes have been swoony good guys, who I have loved loved loved. I'm usually not for the bad boy kind of love interest, but I had hearts in my eyes every time Asa was in a scene. Eventually, his painful and sad past came to light in Reliquary and my heart broke into pieces for this guy. He may have exuded a tough exterior, but he was a marshmallow, especially once he got attached to Mattie and when it came to his dog, Gracie. His protective nature and his good heart made him one of my top book boyfriends.

As much as I loved the characters, I was more fascinated by the magic system in the book. It's one that I have never encountered in a book myself so it was fresh, creative and exciting to read about. The magic fell into four different categories : Sensilo (sensing), Ekstazo (pleasure), Knedas (manipulation) and Strikon (pain). As with all of Sarah Fine's books, the world building was brilliant. She has a way of writing books that makes her world building flow seamlessly, which also makes it easier for readers to grasp their intricacies. I love that when I dive into a book by her, I find myself completely immersed in it. Reliquary's world building was fantastic, and there's so much more to explore here, so I'm undeniably very excited to get to the sequel. The plot was terrific too. Asa and Mattie travel across the US and even to Bangkok and it was definitely not an easy and obstacle-free journey. There was a lot of action here, with people constantly chasing Asa and Mattie and endangering their lives as they raced to obtain a relic that will allow Ben to be delivered safely. I loved every minute of Reliquary. By the end of the book, I was breathless. Reliquary was the kind of the book that was really hard to put down because it's just so entertaining. The book didn't end in a cliffhanger, but I'm still really excited to get my hands on the next one.

Let me get to the romance. I'm not going to lie, it's a triangle, but here's the thing, to me, it was very obvious who the endgame of this series is and it's clear that one of the guys is not at all who Mattie has made up to be - so, it didn't upset me as I thought it would. While there is no cheating in this book, Mattie and Asa undeniably had an emotional connection between them that didn't come close to what Mattie had with Ben. [Spoilers ahead- highlight if you want to read] At the end of the book, Asa asks Mattie to come with him, implying that she should leave Ben. She refuses and goes back to her life with Ben. Some readers may be distraught with this ending, but I actually thought it was realistic that she made this decision because she's known Ben for years while she's only known Asa for a few weeks. It made sense that she would go back to what she thought was safe and I honestly don't blame her. I'm solidly rooting for Asa and Mattie because Ben gave off very sketchy vibes throughout the book, and from the sounds of the synopsis from the second book, he does something to betray her and she's probably going to leave him for good. Basically, I just want everyone to not be too scared of the triangle label because from my understanding of the synopsis for Splintered, it gets resolved early on. And honestly, the romance wasn't a huge part of this first book, so it would be a shame to miss out on the rest of the epicness that Reliquary has going.

If you're a Sarah Fine fan, I can't recommend Reliquary enough. And if you still aren't a fan of Sarah Fine yet, then I need for all of you to go ahead and pick up any series by her - she is an incredible author that everyone needs to discover. Reliquary was an edgy and sexy start to a series that's bound to only get dark, grittier and more romantic. Good thing all the books release this year because I don't know how I could wait for 2 years for the series to be completed!

Are you a Sarah Fine fan? What are some of your favorite UF series?
Let me know in the comments below!