With that tantalizing wrap-up of Relic, I couldn’t wait to revisit the story and characters in Reliquary. I’m glad the authors decided to continue the story of Mbwun right off, although it’s clear after the prologue that much has happened and mutated behind the scenes.
You get a return of the familiar characters, but most have changed a little, partly from the events they survived and partly from the developments which befell them as a consequence of those events. Margo has rounded out to be a little more lifelike, Pendergast still amuses (but is gone a lot), and D’Agosta is fortunately back as well (but missing a little something?).
While this book didn’t capture the intensity of the first, it was ambitious. Child and Preston dug into the fascinating and underexplored theme of the ‘mole people,’ an underground society of human dwellers who adapt to the dark because of how much time they spend in it. A whole other society hidden from ours, many of them the dregs of the former society they belonged to, such as criminals bailing on parole and parents skipping out on the child welfare system. A large group of them, however, were victims of homelessness and had nowhere else to go. The authors conclude this fiction piece by pointing in the afterword to a non-fiction book written about this very subject.
The underground tunnel scenes are intense, creepy, but they never touch the atmosphere of the original. The track rabbit eating scene was one of the grossest I can remember reading about. The end has a surprising villain, didn’t see that coming.
It’s hard to put my finger on why this book doesn’t work as well as the first one. Still, it’s a good book and a worthy sequel. I’m curious on the third, which likely takes on a brand new plot entirely.
“I have often found it true that the louder a person speaks, the less they have to say.”