Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Reviewing Your Universe

Talisman of El by Alecia Stone
Published by Centrinian Publishing Ltd
ARC provided by NetGalley

Rating:  3 Stars

I cut my reading teeth on fantasy novels. Nothing cured my school angst better than escaping to different worlds filled with interesting characters and never before seen creatures. So when I read the synopsis for Talisman of El, I couldn’t wait to find some reading time and jump right in.

The idea of an orphaned young boy having trouble fitting into his new life—family, school, friends—is not new, but Ms. Stone found a way to create a story with her own twist.

Charlie is a young boy suffering from nightmares. He gets through the day by rationalizing his dreams. But when Charlie meets a man from his dreams in real life, he discovers nothing is as it seems. A different world exists, and he has a vital connection to it.

As Charlie journeys through this new land called Arcadia, searching for a way to save his new friend Derekin, he encounters allies and foes at every turn. Mythical creatures, people with the ability to shape shift, even demons and angels populate Arcadia.

Talisman of El is the first step in Charlie’s coming of age story. He must decide who his true friends are and how much he is willing to sacrifice for them.

Ms Stone has created a vivid fantasy world in Talisman of El. The creatures, the land they inhabit, and even the “other” beings are clear and detailed. I pictured every nuance described. Unfortunately, the fantasy elements were the best part of the story.

I wish I could say I loved this book, but I can’t. The characters are written younger than described. I felt I was reading a middle school book, not a young adult novel. The characters were not as dimensional as other aspects created by the author.

The plot was also a little difficult to follow. I had to reread several passages to ensure I had not missed a transition. I’m sure the world and its inhabitants are clear in the author’s mind. Regrettably, the story on the page does not reflect the same precision.

Will I read the rest of the series? No. But I do recommend the book to younger kids and tweens who enjoy fantasy. My issues with the book may not matter to them at all.

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