Riven by Brownyn Eley
Published by Talem Press
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This review was originally published on AusYABloggers and a copy of the ebook was provided by the publisher.
Kaylan's life as she knew it is over. Again.
Hunted by the guards of Edriast and their ruthless captain, Kaylan is forced to flee into a world she’s never seen, armed with a power she never wanted. With her brother Elias by her side, she escapes to the distant city of Stynos, where rumour has it a possible ally is waiting… An ally who might help Kaylan control the violent magic that’s become her burden to bear.
But Kaylan can’t hide forever – not from the forces that surround her, or from the darkness inside herself. Rebel leader Bellamy seeks her help to destroy a regime; Captain Thorn pursues her with a vengeance; and as her power grows, her inner demons begin to seep through the cracks…
Kaylan may be strong, but is she strong enough to resist the Relic?
Riven is the second instalment in Bronwyn Eley’s The Relic Trilogy (you can read my review of Relic here) and the story picks up directly where Relic stopped. While Relic was a slow build, in Riven you are immediately thrown into the action, building upon the last part of the previous book that was full of twists and surprises. .
Riven manages to avoid a lot of the issues second books in a trilogy face. It builds really well on the foundation set out in Relic, it’s action-packed, progresses the plot in ways that provide a satisfying story within the book and introduces some interesting new characters.
There’s a lot to love in this book, but my favourite thing (as in Relic) is the way Bronwyn Eley writes her characters. People call this series a dark fantasy - a description which fits - but so many of the characters are actually wholesome. I particularly appreciate the complexity developed in each character and the way she builds individual relationships between them all in differing ways Also that friendship is a focus in the story and the way this plays into how Kaylan grapples with the effects of the relic.
Riven is more action-oriented than Relic, but the strong focus on the characters remains. I particularly liked gradually learning more and more about the relic and I am really interested to see how its role plays out in the final book.
I also really enjoyed the returning of Kaylan’s strength throughout the story; in great contrast to her deterioration during Relic. Even as her strength returns she doesn’t hallucinate in the same ways, and the relic’s influence is still a major element of the story, though in a different way. Kaylan continues struggling to determine her best way forward, and this tension between wanting to do what is right, yet not being certain exactly how, with the complication of the relic’s pull, is a major aspect of this well written story.
I liked the ending a lot. It was a bit less of a cliff hanger than Relic, which is good as the release date for the third book hasn’t been announced yet. I am still very excited to find out how it will all work out.
Bronwyn Eley is clearly honing her writing throughout this series. Riven includes everything interesting and attractive to readers of the first book and is even better.
Bronwyn Eley is an Australian author. You can find her online via her website or social media: Instagram or Twitter.