Colleen Helme’s sequel to The Flame of Destiny does not disappoint. Callista continues to grow in The Relic and develops into a powerful heroine. Helme’s scenes are full of description and are particularly vivid. She succeeds in drawing out the battle scenes so that the reader sees the action right in front of their eyes. The novel progresses at a good pace and keeps you reading with suspense. The background story of the relic is interesting and well developed. I really liked the development in the relationship between Justin and Callista. The arrival of potential new lovers gives them the opportunity to grow as a couple and also tests their love for each other. The novel can stand alone, but ties nicely with the previous novel. Helme has created a world where she could continue the stories of her characters, and I hope she decides to!
Callista is the guardian of the relic, and also the guardian of the shadowbeasts that had terrorized her town. The relic allows her to control the shadowbeasts, poor men who had been turned by the evil Patel, but the more she uses the relic, the more she feels the darkness seeping into her. Despite her desires to wait for Justin, the prince and the man she loves, she knows that she must leave and find a way to turn the men back. The arrival of the healer Connor provides her with an opportunity. Connor knows of a way to destroy the relic and heal the shadowbeasts and to do that they must travel to the eastern province.
Justin meanwhile is battling his own demons in the Northern province. Thieves have been attacking the settlements, but most disconcerting is that they have also been kidnapping men. As he hears more about the powers of the leaders of these thieves, Justin grows concerned that darker powers are at work. When Callista is attacked by wizards, she knows that something isn’t right. A battle is looming on the horizon and Callista must draw upon the power of the flame in order to save them all and preserve good over evil.
In the aftermath of a recent battle, Callista has become the sole guardian of the relic, a powerful crystal full of darkness. She hopes to use it to turn the shadowbeasts back into the men they once were, but so far, has not been successful. Unless she can change them, she will have to kill them, and that is not an option she is willing to face.
Left on her own in the Ruins of Belton, she realizes the relic is growing more powerful. For each day that passes, it becomes more difficult to keep that power under control. Desperate to find the answer that will ultimately destroy it, she seeks the origins of the relic in the Eastern Province.
As Justin battles a deadly enemy, Callista is caught in a personal fight between the forces of good and evil. The relic is the key to unleashing an even darker power that will ruin everything, and Callista's determination to destroy it is the only thing that will save them all.
The epic conclusion to Flame of Destiny