Michelle Herbert reviews Relics by Tim Lebbon…
Relics is one of those books that you’re not really sure what to expect from, at the start we are introduced to Angela, who is being interrogated by the police. We are not told why she has been arrested or why they believe she is involved in a murder investigation. All we know is that Angela is protecting someone and will not betray their trust.
Then, like in a TV show, we are taken back five days to the events that led to Angela’s arrest. In the past, Angela is just living her life, spending her days working on her PhD in criminology. Angela is described as someone who is very logical and able to compartmentalise her life so that she is able to see events clearly. Angela lives with Vince, an estate agent and they seem to be very happy together. That is until the day Vince doesn’t return home and Angela is left with a feeling that there is more to it than the note telling her to forget him.
From the moment Angela finds that note, Angela’s life becomes a quest to find out what happened to Vince to make him walk out on her. At no point does Angela believe that this is how the relationship is supposed to end. During the course of her investigation Angela meets a host of unsavoury characters who unknown to her, Vince was mixed up with. Unfortunately for Angela, Vince wasn’t involved in drugs, or gun running, instead he is a relic hunter. In Lebbon’s story a relic hunter isn’t someone looking for priceless artefacts, instead, they are people who hunt for the remains of mythical beings who used to roam the Earth before humans became the dominant species.
For most of the story, we see events from Angela’s point of view. As mentioned when we meet Angela she is someone who can think critically while going through her daily motions. Once Angela is thrown into an irrational world, she seems to stop thinking clearly and her actions lead, not only herself but others she cares for into increasing danger. It seems like once Angela focuses on her anger and confusion she becomes a lesser version of herself.
There are a lot of weird and wonderful beings in this book, all of whom have lived longer than average lives and have their own motives and agendas which conflict with one another. What Angela and Vince learn quite early on is that the mythical beings they have been led to believe are no longer in this world, are not as extinct as they originally thought. Due to this the book is full of misdirection from characters either trying to hide what they are or lying to protect their interests. These mythical beings are clinging on to their survival and have very different ideas on what their future should entail.
Relics is a gripping book that is full of chases and revelations, as well as bravery and bravado. Unfortunately for me this left the book feeling slightly unsatisfying, whether this is due to the believability of Angela and Vince’s relationship, or the way Angela walks away from her life to follow Vince down the proverbial rabbit hole, or for the fact that none of the characters think about the consequences of their actions or how their actions will also affect the people around them.