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  • Writer's pictureThe Word Nerd Reviews

Sink or Swim (Relic #2) ~ Maz Maddox

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

Sink or Swim is the second book in the RELIC series, where a group of dinosaur shifters track down ill-gotten fossils from private collectors and return them to the appropriate museum. The RELIC team are a mismatched group of operatives, each a different dinosaur species and very different in personality to each other. However, their common origins and goals toward fossils has bonded them into a family, where they would do just about anything for each other.

Baha, a Spinosaurus, was introduced in the first book. In Sink or Swim Baha is teamed with another dinosaur shifter, Jackson, who is not affiliated with his team, but has insider knowledge of an underground fossil auction that is taking place upon an elite cruise ship. Jackson, a self-proclaimed cowboy, is sunshine and laughter to Baha’s grumpy storm clouds, is exactly who Baha needs.

To be honest, Baha is almost unlikeable for the first 50% of the book. If it wasn’t for us getting glimpses of his loyalty and affection for his family in the first book and in this one, it would be pretty easy to write him off. However, Baha is at his core, quite a sensitive soul. I really enjoyed how the author gave us this unpleasant grumpy dino shifter with seemingly impenetrable walls, and slowly revealed that Baha was a very lonely soul, feeling out of place and time. Luckily Jackson is persistent and he slowly reaches Baha and gives him the link to modern life that Baha desperately needs.

“You make me want to be human”

As for Jackson, he is such a fun character to read. On the surface he is a lot like Dalton: carefree, a bit reckless, looking for fun. A bit deeper and he is also a little damaged, quite a bit sensitive, and has a whole lot of love to give. His personality though, at it’s core, is happy and he is the perfect counterbalance for Baha. Jackson made me laugh so many times, his descriptions, usually of his own actions, had me laughing out loud at a number of points.

I wish I could say running in my …. form was graceful, but it was about as elegant as seeing a drunk giraffe stumbling around.”

I really enjoy this author’s writing style, her characters are so unique from each other and so sympathetically written that you can’t help but love them. Even when Baha was at his most unpleasant, his wicked, dry sense of humour never let you write him off. It was always obvious that what you see is definitely not what you will get.

Maz Maddox has a great sense of comedic timing and the ability to describe a scene so well it is easy to see it in your mind’s eye. A perfect example is what I call the goose scene, I instantly pictured it, and honestly, I don’t recommend drinking at this point of the book, it won’t end well or dry!. You’ll definitely recognise it when you come across it…. Be warned!!

Sink or Swim could be read as a standalone, but I really wouldn’t recommend it. A lot of the overarching story is set up in book 1 Smash and Grab, and some of the finer details would be missed without starting there. Plus, Smash and Grab is such a fantastic read. I think even with Jackson in the running, Dalton is still my favourite dino so far, his raptor’s ‘Sweet Simon’ really melted my heart!

I’d highly recommend Sink or Swim for a refreshing and unique twist on a shifter tale. I’m not sure which team member is next, but I’m looking forward to it!

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