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The Relic Guild

Narrated by: Imogen Church
Series: Relic Guild, Book 1
Length: 19 hrs and 23 mins
4 out of 5 stars (125 ratings)

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Summary

Magic caused the war. Magic is forbidden. Magic will save us.

It was said the Labyrinth had once been the great meeting place, a sprawling city at the heart of an endless maze where a million humans hosted the Houses of the Aelfir. The Aelfir who had brought trade and riches, and a future full of promise. But when the Thaumaturgists, overlords of human and Aelfir alike, went to war, everything was ruined and the Labyrinth became an abandoned forbidden zone, where humans were trapped behind boundary walls a hundred feet high.

Now the Aelfir are a distant memory and the Thaumaturgists have faded into myth. Young Clara struggles to survive in a dangerous and dysfunctional city, where eyes are keen, nights are long, and the use of magic is punishable by death. She hides in the shadows, fearful that someone will discover she is touched by magic. She knows her days are numbered. But when a strange man named Fabian Moor returns to the Labyrinth, Clara learns that magic serves a higher purpose and that some myths are much more deadly in the flesh.

The only people Clara can trust are the Relic Guild, a secret band of magickers sworn to protect the Labyrinth. But the Relic Guild are now too few. To truly defeat their old nemesis Moor, mightier help will be required. To save the Labyrinth - and the lives of one million humans - Clara and the Relic Guild must find a way to contact the worlds beyond their walls.

This audio edition features "Hemlock", a prelude to The Relic Guild.

©2014 Edward Cox (P)2014 Orion Publishing Group

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

An Intriguing Science Fiction Novel!

This is an intriguing start to a science fiction/fantasy series. I really enjoyed it!

I was recommended this book by Amazon through their Audible division, due to my taste in science fiction and fantasy. I was intrigued with the blurb, so I downloaded the audio book. The story is narrated by Imogen Church, who has also narrated Bridget Jones's Diary. She did a fantastic job in bringing the characters to life. I loved her speaking voice, and her reading pace was perfect.

Peppercorn Clara is a young woman of eighteen, who has been working as a prostitute in a brothel since the age of fourteen in the Labyrinth city called Labrys Town. I really liked her. She is stubborn and determined, and hiding a secret. She has magic in her veins and is a wolf shifter.

This is a unique story; the world building and character development is extraordinary. I loved the descriptions of the scenes and characters. The story has a post apocalyptic feel to it, with a hint of steampunk, which is further enhanced by the split timelines, which are forty years apart. The characters in both the past and the present are quite interesting. However, the changing timelines were a bit confusing at times. Trying to keep it straight in my head was a little like juggling apples (extremely difficult, since I don't juggle), but I persevered and found myself hooked! I even listened to the story twice! I was intrigued as to how one million humans ended up living in the middle of a labyrinth. Did they feel like prisoners, being trapped within the confines of Labrys Town after the portals were closed? Or, safe from the dangers of war ravaging the Thaumaturgists? This aspect was not explored by the author, but I couldn't help but wonder at it. But, if I lived in such a place, would I be happy, angry or sad at the circumstances? I don't know. Maybe a combination of those emotions. Nevertheless, the denizens of Labrys Town seemed resigned to their fate and carried on as normal.

I loved meeting Old Man Sam, a bounty hunter, and Vam Bam, the Resident of Labrys Town. They, along with a Necromancer called Hamir, and Marney, an empath, are the only remaining members of The Relic Guild. This guild acts as a magical police force, who confiscate objects that had been brought into Labrys Town by the Aelfir and the Thaumaturgists before they closed the borders, to keep the denizens safe. I loved Hamir; he is a very intriguing character, who has a very dry wit. He has been around for a long time and has seen and done a lot of things, but he seems ageless to me. Unfortunately, Fabian Moor, a renown Thaumaturgist thought to have died forty years previously, returns to Labrys Town after being in hiding. Enter Clara. What follows is a fast paced race against time, and a dangerous foe who will do anything to gain access to The Nightshade, the home of the Resident and the Guild. There are twists and turns galore, as well as magic in this tale, which kept me riveted. I was intrigued with the appearance of the mysterious avatar, who appeared to know everything that was going on, but refused to divulge too much information to the Guild members. I am not sure what he/she's motives are, but it will be interesting to find out. The end of the story left me hanging, as it finished on an unusual cliffhanger. I have a love/hate relationship with cliffhangers because they frustrate me to the point of screaming, but I am looking forward to continuing this story as soon as I can.

Edward Cox has written an interesting debut novel. I loved his fast paced writing style, but found the flow of the story to be a bit disjointed due to the flicking timelines. However, each timeline story flowed well within its respective space. I will be keeping an eye out for more of this author's work in the future.

Due to scenes of violence and abuse, I do not recommend this book for younger readers. However, I highly recommend this book if you love science fiction and dark fantasy genres. - Lynn Worton

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book

The book flew by, an example of the genre. A good reading performance as well. Can't wait for the next instalment.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Complicated!!!!

Would you try another book written by Edward Cox or narrated by Imogen Church?

Maybe.

Would you be willing to try another book from Edward Cox? Why or why not?

Maybe. This one is awfully complicated, not so much in it's plot but in its world building. I am utterly bewildered by all the places and mysterious no-longer-there entities. There's the Nightshade, which I feel I ought to know what it is, the Retrospective where the demons are - but then there's something else called the Never Never or Ever and Always where the demons are. Then there's Mother Earth and the Timewatcher, etc, etc. I feel like maybe I would have a greater understanding of all this (and the rest!!!) if it was in print, but at the moment I'm about a third of the way through and I'm not sure if there's any point continuing.It's not BAD, it's just tortuously convoluted and ... labyrinthine!

What about Imogen Church’s performance did you like?

She reads well.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

Maybe. I'd wait to see reviews about whether other people could understand what was going on first.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great trilogy, outstanding narration

This review is for the trilogy as a whole really as I doubt many people would just listen to the first book without doing the rest.

It's an excellent story with great characters. I wouldn't say there is a massive division between each book, they don't standalone as complete novels as they're part of one story arc, so I listened to them one after the other back to back as the story just keeps going and you want to find out what happens next.

One of the main pluses of this trilogy is the narration - I found Imogen Church really, really excellent to listen to. I would actively look for other books narrated by her now as I enjoyed these so much. She does a great job differentiating the characters' voices, mostly by using different accents. At times that gets a little odd when there are a lot of characters and she's had to cast around to find an accent she hasn't used yet, like an Aelf (an elf) suddenly having an American accent, but in general it works well. Her reading is really pleasant and clear though and you get so immersed in it that you forget these aren't different people's voices you can hear.

Some reviewers have commented on the amount of world-creation in the novels and how that's confusing. It's true that there are a lot of names of things and you get thrown right in from the start (the Labyrinth, demons, the Retrospective, the Nothing of Far and Deep, it goes on). If you've read any Brandon Sanderson then it's not dissimilar in that the first half of the first book you're a bit thrown by it all because they just start using the names without explaining them much, and then you just get used to it and it all makes sense. So don't be too put off by it! One criticism I would make though is that Edward Cox names SO many things in the style 'The X of Y and Z' so it starts to sound a bit silly. The Nothing of Far and Deep, the Falls of Dust and Silver, and Floating Islands of Up and Down, there are tons of them, and the naming convention starts to jar a bit after a while.

That's pretty much my only criticism though! These are a great set of fantasy novels with interesting, believable characters and an original magic system, set in a world unlike anything you'll have read or listened to before. There is lots of action and a fast pace and I really recommend them.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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WOW

only reason I used a credit on this book was because I'd just returned 2 books on trot due to bad narration. And I'd recently finished the demon child trilogy by Jennifer Fallon which is perfectly narrated by Imogen church. I searched for more books by Imogen church and discovered this hidden little gem of a book. and I've been blown away from start to finish. the story is unique and intriguing and brough to life perfectly by Imogen church. time to start book 2.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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The Relic Guild

A fabulous book and an excellent narrator , a bit difficult at times but worth it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

This is a book you need to take notes on

I never felt the need to listen to more, it wasn't as compelling as some other fast paced thrillers until later in the book when I got to know the characters. Character development was excellent and I do want to know more.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tommy
  • burnley, United Kingdom
  • 20-01-15

Exceptional book!!!!!

Totally enthralling couldn't put it down, good characters gripping storyline can't wait for the next one, keep up the good work!!!!!!! ;0)

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Left in mid air

Would you try another book written by Edward Cox or narrated by Imogen Church?

Certainly would listen to another book narrated by Imogen Church. Lovely voice with great definition between characters.
Might buy the next in the series just to find out what happens as left with only part of a story completed. The main goodies disappear into a portal and the baddies are all together.

Would you recommend The Relic Guild to your friends? Why or why not?

Probably would not recommend unless the other person likes books that go back and forward forty years in time with sometimes little indication.

What about Imogen Church’s performance did you like?

Lovely animation to her voice.

Did The Relic Guild inspire you to do anything?

Knit!

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful listen

Such a good story so wonderfully read
Twists and turns galore, fantastically well
Thought out characters written with empathy
Read with such brilliance listen and enjoy
I did