Hi! Today we’re celebrating the release of Renee Collins’s RELIC.
After a raging fire consumes her town and kills her parents, Maggie Davis is on her own to protect her younger sister and survive the best she can in the Colorado town of Burning Mesa. In Maggie’s world, the bones of long-extinct magical creatures such as dragons and sirens are mined and traded for their residual magical elements, and harnessing these relics’ powers allows the user to wield fire, turn invisible, or heal even the worst of injuries.
Working in a local saloon, Maggie befriends the spirited showgirl Adelaide and falls for the roguish cowboy Landon. But when she proves to have a particular skill at harnessing the relics’ powers, Maggie is whisked away to the glamorous hacienda of Álvar Castilla, the wealthy young relic baron who runs Burning Mesa. Though his intentions aren’t always clear, Álvar trains Maggie in the world of relic magic. But when the mysterious fires reappear in their neighboring towns, Maggie must discover who is channeling relic magic for evil before it’s too late.
RELIC is a thrilling adventure set in a wholly unique world, and a spell-binding story of love, trust, and the power of good.
I say: This is another of my favorite books this year! Here’s the review I wrote on Goodreads: After Maggie’s parents and brother are killed in a fire, she finds work at a scandalous saloon – but she’s soon whisked away by a rich relic baron. Can she trust him? And who’s responsible for setting fires like the ones that killed her family? Honestly, I’d been dying to read RELIC since I read the deal announcement, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s peopled with Old West prototypes – spunky orphan girl, handsome cowboy, whore with a heart of gold, cruel brothel owner – who come alive on the page. What really stood out for me was the amazing, imaginative worldbuilding – an Old West in which people mine not for gold but for relics imbued with ancient magic – bits of siren and vampire and dragon bone. Some relics are innocent enough (a water-based relic could help farmers get through a drought) while others are dark and twisted, but they all give their users power – and Maggie finds she can wield them better than most. Completely fascinating premise, no? There’s a creepy scene in the caverns with ghost coyotes that I loved, and another where Maggie falls under the spell of a dangerous relic, and the one where she meets her cowboy while swimming in a creek and is scandalized and…well, I could go on. I loved this book so much I blurbed it: RELIC is like nothing else I’ve read – a historical fantasy teeming with ghost coyotes, duplicitous Haciendos, sexy cowboys, and dangerous relic magic. I loved spending time in Collins’ magnificent reimagining of the Old West.
Now for our interview with Renee:
1. Describe your main character in 3 adjectives + a noun.
Maggie is a brave, determined, and loyal sister.
2. Describe your book in 3 adjectives + a noun.
RELIC is an epic, adventurous, and Old West-flavored YA fantasy.
3. Describe yourself in 3 adjectives + a noun.
Renee is an impulsive, social, and fun-loving romantic.
4. If you could travel to any 3 countries, what would they be?
China, Tahiti, and Switzerland
5. If you could take any 3 non-writing-related classes, what would they be?
Any history class, filmmaking, cooking (JS: love these choices!)
6. If you could have any 3 alternate careers, what would they be?
Filmmaker, cetologist, creative writing professor (JS: I totally had to google cetology but that is awesome!)
7. What are your 3 favorite flowers?
Rose, plumeria, lilac
8. What are your 3 favorite foods?
Dr. Pepper, French fries, watermelon
9. What are your 3 favorite books?
THE GREAT GATSBY, GRAPES OF WRATH, 1984
Thanks so much for stopping by, Renee!
Renee is giving away one copy of RELIC to a lucky winner in the US or Canada. Contest open until next Friday (9/6) at noon EST. To enter, leave a comment below telling me about your favorite mythical creature! (I’m really into mermaids and selkies lately myself.)