Rising is the final book in the Relic Trilogy by Bronwyn Eley, published by Talem Press. After the way the last book ended, I was absolutely dying to know how Kaylan Rove would be able to save the world. I was absolutely not disappointed.
I was provided free copies of the Rising e-book for review. The opinions are my own.
The last book ended with Kaylan on her way to destroying the Relics that five lords have been using to control their people for hundreds of years. She has two of them, combined, and she needs to get three more. Her plan, as decided in Riven, is to combine the individual Relics into one Relic and then to hide or destroy it for good.
Of course, there are problems. The Relics she has now are slowly killing the people around her, including her childhood best friend Shae and her romantic partner (the love of my life) Markus. Although she has two lords on her side already, she has to convince three more people to give up their power or she has to take their power from them by force. She also has to fight against rebels who want the power for themselves, including her own brother Elias.
The leader of the rebels, Bellamy, gets one of the Relics almost immediately after this book beings, but he can’t fully control it. Since the Relic’s power passes down bloodlines, as you’ll remember, Bellamy has to kill the rest of the lord’s family before he has control. This puts even more pressure on Kaylan — not only is she struggling against the Relic hurting her and her loved ones, but she also has to complete her quest before Bellamy completes his.
I deeply love how high the stakes are here. She could save the world and still lose everyone she loves and countless innocents whose only crime is being related to someone who can control the Relic, no matter how distantly.
Yet another added complication is that Kaylan is plagued by the manifestation of the Relic. Though she’s the only one who can see him, Lord Rennard (from way back in Relic) still shows up and speaks to her about things… mostly being rude, of course, but sometimes offering advice about things. Rennard/the Relic wants Kaylan to combine the Relic pieces into one whole as soon as possible.
Throughout all of this — knowing she’s putting her loved ones in danger and causing them pain, trying to find all the Relics, fighting (verbally this time) with the fourth lord (Lord Ammar) over his Relic on her way to Bellamy — Kaylan is also fighting against the Relic itself. The Relic is constantly tempting her, telling her that giving in to it is her best chance of winning because giving in and accepting the Relic is the only way to really harness its power. Smells like a bad idea, and she fights as hard as she can, but will she be able to win that fight too?
(Choose your battles, Kaylan. No, not that many. Put some back!)
The Relic does seem to develop a bit of a soft spot for Kaylan though, which is very interesting.
While the second book felt laggy at parts, just following the main characters as they traveled from one place to another, Rising moves faster, at least for the first quarter. Bronwyn Eley doesn’t waste time describing sailing or marching from point A to point B; every scene has a purpose to it and pushes Kaylan forward.
I’ve talked about how much I love Markus. I love a good strong love interest that is a good cook, loves animals, and loves his family. He’s my ideal man. Watching the once unshakeable loyalty he felt toward Kaylan start to erode nearly broke me — but in a good way. I understood why even though I hated it, Kaylan and Markus both hated it too, but the slide from him refusing to ever leave her side to him pushing her to sleep outside alone in the rain… ouch.
I think this is one of the signs of a good writer telling a good story. I was never mad at Bronwyn Eley, just upset at what was happening to the characters. Everything felt so natural that I couldn’t be mad at her.
Something I deeply love in stories is the idea of found family. Kaylan lost most of her family in the first book, and her remaining brother Elias is constantly in and out of her life depending on his moods. Despite that, everyone she interacts with believes in her cause even if they’re not fully confident she can withstand the Relic’s power. They give their lives for her, willingly put themselves on the line for her, all because they love her. I’m obsessed with it.
The ending… I don’t know what to say. On the one hand, it’s what I expected, a happy ending for a new adult fantasy novel. On the other… it has to be hard to wrap up a trilogy as expansive as this one in a way that wraps up all the pieces, to feel complete without feeling trite. It has to be hard, but Bronwyn Eley did it so well.
Rising is all about going home. It’s about being whole with the people you love, whatever that means. Do I have tears in my eyes while I’m typing this? Maybe. You’ll never know.
Rising by Bronwyn Eley is published by the indie publishing house Talem Press and is available in Australia at talempress.com, and internationally at Amazon. Pick up the trilogy today. You won’t regret it.
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