Some Christians may spurn depictions of fantastic magic, yet Steve Rzasa’s Relic Cycle series reverses this belief. Here, magic is a person’s innate ability granted by the Most High, and anyone repressing magic offends God’s created order. That’s one blessing, for in this realm of airborne islands and sky-high piracy, our band of heroes—ragtag even amid a melting pot of fantasy races and real-world nationalities—needs all the magical help it can get.
We first encounter Captain Bowen Cord in The Bloodheart, where he’s caught up in a desperate scramble for a legendary MacGuffin (an object vital to the plot). And as if one ferocious and intelligent villain wasn’t challenge enough, Bowen works to keep peace among his strong-willed crew—comprising a were-fox, a winged woman, a faithful dog, and a cryptic orphan—while grappling with the latent threat of his own ice-summoning power. In the end, survival may require a very personal surrender.
Rzasa’s first-person, present-tense delivery proves surprisingly versatile, and the intensity of his action scenes compensates for the minimalism of his worldbuilding.
Best for: Older teens and adults seeking a swashbuckling sword-and-sorcery spectacle.
Discern: Unflinching violence, a smattering of language, and brief strong sensuality.