Official Review: The Relik by Nathan J. Keller

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Kendra M Parker
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Official Review: The Relik by Nathan J. Keller

Post by Kendra M Parker » 04 May 2018, 07:24

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Relik" by Nathan J. Keller.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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The Relik by Nathan J. Keller surprised me regularly as I read it. Since it was advertised as young adult dystopian fiction, I expected many of the same things frequently found in novels of this genre lately. So many of these novels today have romantic entanglements, estrangement from parents, and competitive enemies. Instead, I found a fresh take on the dystopian future, and romance and competition really have no impact on the story.

In the novel, Jim goes snowboarding with his family and has a tragic accident where he gets trapped in ice. Five thousand years later, he is resurrected and put on display as a “Holy Relikwa,” or “Relik” for short, in what is called “the Library.” As a part of the Library, patrons may visit and ask him questions about anything they wish, and Jim, as a sort of reference material, must respond. Jim discovers that he has a vast amount of new information as a part of his resurrection, and he is not the only person on display in the Library. He also discovers that the world bears little resemblance to the one he remembers. People no longer value life, and some even count deaths at their hands as a status symbol. After only a few days of this new life, Jim and another of the Reliks decide they must escape from the Library.

Part of what makes this book so refreshing is the world building that lends itself to exploring a difficult theme. Keller paints a picture of a world that has been redefined by a new religious system. As with so many powerful entities, this religion has been impacted by the corruption caused by greed and wealth. Because of this corruption and their circumstances, Keller's characters must wrestle with the question, “What is the value of a life?” This is a hard question to tackle, and he handles it well for the target audience. While I think he could delve a little deeper if he were writing to older adults, his treatment of this theme goes to about the right level to encourage a young adult to begin pondering this question.

From a technical standpoint, The Relik is cleanly edited. I was only able to find a handful of minor errors throughout the book. Keller uses some excellent figurative language throughout, and I found myself highlighting lines simply because I enjoyed the language he used.

My one criticism at this point is that I wanted to know more about the actual beliefs of the religion that dominates this society. For example, I wanted to know why communicating with these Reliks was considered a religious act of worship. I never felt that the book adequately answered this question; however, it is possible that this question and some of my others will be answered in the second book of this series.

There is a little bit of violence, which is handled fairly delicately. Even though religion is a feature of the world in the book, the religion created by Keller is clearly fictitious in a way that explores the good and bad of a society dominated by a corrupt central entity.

As a whole, I give The Relik 4 out of 4 stars. The plot and characters were both well developed. Action and mystery kept me turning the pages to find out what happens next. I was even a little bit surprised by some of the creative plot twists and turns that happened within the story. Readers looking for a fresh take on young adult dystopian fiction will enjoy this book. Since the main characters are only 13 and 14, I would also recommend this book to readers looking for a young adult book that is not overloaded with romance.

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The Relik
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Post by Libs_Books » 08 May 2018, 01:00

Your review reminds me of how much I used to love this genre. Thank you for that - I may give this one a go.

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Post by Miriam Molina » 08 May 2018, 01:02

I don't usually partake of YA books, but this one has sparked my interest. I know there are sci-fi stories about cryogenic freezing (like Forever Young starring Mel Gibson), but I do not think we have been able to keep anyone alive yet by it.

Jim is practically frozen in snow and resurfaces 5000 years later. It would be interesting to see how the author views the world of five millennia from now.

Thanks for this wonderful piece, Kendra M Parker!

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Post by K Geisinger » 08 May 2018, 07:28

I enjoy a well written YA dystopian fiction, but most have been cookie cutter identical the last several years. The interactions sound fascinating and I like that it tries to grapple with the value of human life. This book might be one I need to read soon, thanks for your thoughtful review.

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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 08 May 2018, 09:09

I like a good book that would sparkle my interest. It think this will work with me. Thank you!
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Post by MsTri » 08 May 2018, 10:35

It's been forever since I read a YA dystopian novel - or adult post-apocalyptic story - since, as you pointed out, they're all just more of the same, these days. So it's really refreshing to read about something different for a change. The plot for this one sounds interesting - on display after being frozen for thousands of years?! - so I think I'll give it a try. Thanks so much for the review and introduction!

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Post by Kendra M Parker » 08 May 2018, 11:17

Libs_Books wrote:
08 May 2018, 01:00
Your review reminds me of how much I used to love this genre. Thank you for that - I may give this one a go.
It was so nice to read something that wasn’t so full of angst and love triangles. I hope you enjoy it if you get a chance to read it!

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Post by Kendra M Parker » 08 May 2018, 11:21

Miriam Molina wrote:
08 May 2018, 01:02
I don't usually partake of YA books, but this one has sparked my interest. I know there are sci-fi stories about cryogenic freezing (like Forever Young starring Mel Gibson), but I do not think we have been able to keep anyone alive yet by it.
No, as far as I am aware, this technology is all still very fictional and theoretical. As far as the feeling of the book goes, this won’t really remind you much of Forever Young. It actually felt more akin to reading The Handmaid's Tale, but even there, the comparison isn’t quite right. I hope you enjoy it if you read it!

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Post by Kendra M Parker » 08 May 2018, 11:23

K Geisinger wrote:
08 May 2018, 07:28
I enjoy a well written YA dystopian fiction, but most have been cookie cutter identical the last several years. The interactions sound fascinating and I like that it tries to grapple with the value of human life. This book might be one I need to read soon, thanks for your thoughtful review.
Yes! The “cookie cutter” nature of the YA dystopian fiction lately has gotten stale. That is part of why I really enjoyed this book. It was like a breath of fresh air.

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Post by Kendra M Parker » 08 May 2018, 11:28

MsTri wrote:
08 May 2018, 10:35
It's been forever since I read a YA dystopian novel - or adult post-apocalyptic story - since, as you pointed out, they're all just more of the same, these days. So it's really refreshing to read about something different for a change. The plot for this one sounds interesting - on display after being frozen for thousands of years?! - so I think I'll give it a try. Thanks so much for the review and introduction!
I hope you enjoy this one as much as I did. I’ve read some of your other recent reviews, and this may be right up your alley. It’s still YA, but it has many layers to expose so adults can enjoy it as well.

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Post by kfwilson6 » 08 May 2018, 12:39

I love YA books and it is so great to find such a unique dystopian concept. I don't always love teen characters as they tend to be a bit immature and are written to make poor decisions which frustrate me as a reader. Great review. I'll have to save this one for later.

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Post by kandscreeley » 08 May 2018, 13:14

This sounds really, really different and right up my alley! I can't imagine him coming back 5,000 years later. And must be in some way he is still thinking? Hm... I'll probably have to check this one out. Thanks so much!
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Post by teacherjh » 08 May 2018, 14:35

Oh, well-written dystopian with religion and essentially time travel, I am so in. My to read shelf is breaking.

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Post by wilson11 » 08 May 2018, 15:06

Its really different and right my alley!i cant imagine him coming back after 5.000 years.he must be thinking i will really have to check on this one
thanks

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Post by bnoy » 08 May 2018, 18:49

Fantastic review! I'm so excited to read this book. As soon as I saw the title and name I had an idea of what to expect and your review just emphasised my interest. Thanks for a great review!

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