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.
While The Bloodheart offers a fairly straightforward episodic quest, its sequel The Lightningfall breaks new narrative ground. By taking aboard a mysterious client carrying a powerful relic—another MacGuffin?—Bowen begins an apparent repeat performance. But this time, the line between good and evil isn’t so clear. Loyalties will be divided, allegiances forsaken, and the unlikeliest of opponents find themselves facing off over the world’s fate.
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.