Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s “Relic” was pretty interesting for what it was. There were some decent characters and some really great moments. There were also moments where I was just like “eh, whatever, just turn the page”. However, I think I would still enjoy reading this again. Except for the Epilogue. I would never read that again and I’d rather forget that it happened.
The best part of this entire book was the setting. Like in Alien, the setting adds so very much to the overall story. This is a huge, labyrinth of a museum with so many nooks and crannies to hide in that I’d be afraid to walk around on a good day. And there are all these bones and stuffed animals. It was way worse than the Nostromo from Alien. I mean, this place was massive. No wonder they couldn’t find Mbwun. You wouldn’t be able to find a regular killer. In addition to this being a huge place, I kept imagining it as being dark anywhere that wasn’t regularly traversed by museum visitors. It was all around creepy and would have made a great setting for many different genres to add some tension.
The monster was also a very interesting creature. Mbwun was this hybrid super monster of a reptile and ape and human. It is designed to be the perfect killing creature and, although we never get a really good view of it until closer to the end, its killings are always quick and precise and brutal. And even though we never get into its head, we can imagine its thoughts as it tries to survive in this chaotic city environment. I also really liked the way that the back story of this monster is explained. It’s not like it randomly occurred. It evolved as a perfect killer and could be tracked well back to the dinosaurs. There was a lot of science in this novel and used well to support the monster, unlike Pinborough’s Widows.
My biggest problem with this novel was the Epilogue. I would have been completely content to end at the last chapter, where everyone is happy and celebrating Pendergast leaving. But then this chapter occurs out of nowhere explaining that Mbwun was actually Whittlesey infected with a virus that turned him into a monster. No! I liked the evolution of the superior killer. Not this virus. And Kawakita trying to recreate it and creating some kind of drug. Just was not happy at all with that. I understand that it was likely a way to set up the sequel but still, I’d have hoped for something else.