I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Reliquary #3
Published by 47North on November 15, 2016
Genres: Urban Fantasy
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Mattie Carver never thought she’d give up her small-town life to become one half of the best magic-smuggling duo in the business. Until recently, she didn’t even know such a business existed. But as an unusually strong reliquary—able to carry vast quantities of magic in her body, undetected—she’s been pulled into an underworld of organized crime and addictive enchantments. And although she’s determined to keep things professional, her partner, Asa Ward, is a temptation she finds increasingly hard to resist.
Even as their relationship reaches a tipping point, Mattie is wary; Asa already told her he hates cages—literal or otherwise. But when an international black-market magic exchange goes awry, Asa falls into the hands of his enemies. Now, with the man who refuses to be controlled under the command of a ruthless captor, Mattie must decide how far she’s willing to go to rescue him—assuming there’s anything left to save.
I had high hopes for the third book in Sarah Fine’s Reliquary series, Mosaic. While I read the first two books, I’d felt like there was a toxic character in the two main characters’ lives and that the female main character, Mattie, had put blinders on herself and gotten in the way of her own growth as a character. But book 2, Splinter, ended at a point where I felt like Mattie would be given the chance to spread her wings and soar in the coming characters, especially with Asa by her side.
The opportunity was there, yes, and Mattie proved herself stronger than I’d given her credit for, but also kind of disturbingly codependent. And I was disturbed by how, more and more, it seemed as though no matter how much I liked Asa, he and she were just not a combination that could work because they seemed to enable each other’s brokenness rather than healing one another.
I think I spent a lot of this book wanting to yell at the characters involved—or maybe shake them. But when things fall out, it’s no surprise, because I feel like I’ve come to know the characters well enough to know what needs to happen and how they’ll react to certain situations.
Without spoiling too much of what happened, I’ll say the book ended with the prospect of grand possibilities, especially for Mattie, but I was left so emotionally exhausted, I’m praying book 4 in this series will be a “downtime” story—you know, the books in a series that will never be your faves because they aren’t quite as emotion-filled or action-packed as the others, but they still give you as a reader as well as the characters a little breathing room because no one can operate on full-on feels/adrenaline mode for too long without imploding.
But if I take the emotional factor out of shipping a relationship between two such broken characters, I have to say there was quite a bit to enjoy in this book. For one thing, the whole magical heist aspect keeps you on your toes from chapter 1 right until the end. For another, the series introduced a new female character who, while also emotionally damaged by the ugliness of the world this book exists in, is pretty darned badass and someone who’s adventures after this point I would certainly like to follow. For a third, other supporting characters introduced in previous books made an appearance and won my interest and appreciation.
Am I entirely happy with this book and how this series has evolved? No, not entirely. But I understand why things happen the way they do. And I’m curious to see what the next book brings to the overall narrative.
Feel Factor Rating
Reliquary Series Reading Order: