Mattie Carver’s engagement party should have marked the start of her own personal fairy tale. But when her fiancé, Ben, is violently abducted the next morning, her desperate quest to find him rips her away from small-town life and reveals a shattering truth: magic is real—and Ben is hooked. It’s not the stuff of storybooks. It’s wildly addictive, capable of producing everything from hellish anguish to sensual ecstasy almost beyond human endurance.
Determined to find out who took Ben and why, Mattie immerses herself in a shadowy underworld and comes face-to-face with the darkly alluring Asa Ward, a rogue magic dealer, infamous hustler…and her missing fiancé’s estranged brother. Asa has the power to sense magic, and he realizes Mattie is a reliquary, someone with the rare ability to carry magic within her own body, undetected. Asa agrees to help find Ben on one condition: Mattie must use her uncommon talent to assist his smuggling operations. Now, from magic-laced Vegas casinos to the netherworld clubs of Bangkok, Mattie is on a rescue mission. With Asa by her side, she’ll face not only the supernatural forces arrayed against her but the all-too-human temptation that she fears she can’t resist.
Reliquary by Sarah Fine is a book I came across while skimming through my Facebook feed. I happen to follow Sarah and have read a number of her books so when I saw this one (have you seen the cover??) and read the summary, I knew I needed to get this one to read.
Mattie Carver is one of those characters that I found myself liking but at times found her annoying. I think it is mostly because of her relationship with Ben. It drove me crazy and I couldn’t believe she was willing to put up with the things she did. She made some decisions that I didn’t agree with which annoyed me. Other than that, she is a strong character. It is clear she is willing to do whatever she needs to (to the point where she is very willing to martyr herself if necessary) to protect the people she loves and cares about. Ben is a perfect example of this.
I loved how close Mattie is with her family. This is one of the things that impacts most of her decisions and when the book starts, it is actually at her engagement party where we get to see a bit of her relationship both with her parents and her grandfather. It is revealed that her grandfather isn’t doing so well (health wise) and eventually Mattie learns more about his past. I mention it because it relates to a secret that not a lot of people know about him. See, Mattie comes from a line of magic and it just happens that she is a Reliquary. Someone who can carry (absorb and transfer) magic within herself.
The story itself revolves around the magic and truly begins when the day after their engagement party, Ben goes missing. In her search to find him, Mattie learns a lot of his secrets and truly what he has been up to. While searching, she crosses paths with Asa, Ben’s brother and finds herself mixed up in some dangerous situations because of who Asa is, what Ben has been up to, and what Mattie herself is capable of.
I really enjoyed Asa as a character. He and Ben are not close but he is determined to find him and if he can, protect Ben from himself. He knows what Ben has been up to and while he doesn’t respect him, Asa is willing to do what he needs to in order to help him. At first, when Asa and Mattie cross paths, they definitely do not get along either but because they are spending a lot of time together and are in positions where they have to trust each other, an understanding builds between them and they eventually come to feel more for each other than they expected. Of course, Mattie is engaged to Ben so things are destined to be hard for both.
I will say here, that although their relationship changes, Mattie doesn’t really ever do anything to compromise herself (in my opinion) with Asa. With that said, I also don’t think she was making her decisions around Asa and Ben with any thought other than what her ideal perfect life should be. A handsome husband, a home, and a great business.
Fine always does a wonderful job of not only developing her characters but also the worlds they live in. In this case, the underworld of magic and all the different types of individuals out there that one could cross paths with. I loved learning all about the good ones and bad ones as well as who these characters truly were.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. I admit, I was very glad to see that book two is scheduled to come out really soon because I need to know what happens with these characters! If you are looking for a great paranormal fantasy that will take you around the world and introduce you to an interesting world of magic, definitely check this one out!
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the review copy!