Monday, September 20, 2010

The Emerald Talisman (Talisman Series Book One) by Brenda Pandos

Reading Level: YA
Paperback: 280 pages

Publisher: Obsidian Mountain Publishing (March 24, 2010)

Book summary:
To be normal, sixteen-year-old Julia Parker would shed her empathic gift in a second. Life has been difficult since her mother's mysterious disappearance ten years earlier - an event she witnessed, but can't remember. Julia's situation becomes more complicated after a near death experience from a blood thirsty stalker. As high school students go missing it is clear there is a connection to her own experience--past and present. Someone has to stop the madness and a chance encounter with a creepy psychic foretells that only Julia is the key to stopping the madness,
but it may require the life of the one she loves.

My review: The Emerald Talisman is another paranormal title featuring vampires and a young girl named Julia, 16, who happens to be an empath. Saved during an accident one night, Julia meets the handsome and mysterious Nicholas. While she recovers she hopes to see him again. When she does their reunion isn't what she expected. Meanwhile, a new guy shows up at school, Phil, and Julia thinks he's cute. If she can't have the distant Nicholas, will Phil do?

I liked the story and found it to be a fast and enjoyable read. The mystery surrounding Julia's repressed memories about her mother's disappearance is revealed later on in a tender scene. Nicholas and Phil were credible characters and Julia was interesting to watch as she starts out as the shy type, but when faced with dangerous otherworldly creatures, begins to sharpen wood stakes and thankfully she doesn't morph into a Buffy wannabe. Julia remains true to character and I found her appealing and confident.

Since this is the first of a series I wondered if some underdeveloped storylines would be revisited later on. Jo, her 'aunt' seemed like a compelling character but she only had a small part as does Julia's brother, Luke. The vampire lore and abilities, though nothing new, still held my interest due to Pandos' skill with pacing and strong writing. Nicholas' talisman was a wonderful device to use and I expect to see more of it in the next book. 

I was happy to see the author's play and twist with the now overly used love triangle in YA paranormal. Pandos kept the reader guessing what would happen between the heroine and Nicholas/Phil. Vampire Queen Enigma was an intriguing figure and had me wondering exactly who and what she was. Pandos has begun an engaging foundation with The Emerald Talisman and that's the reason the next installment is already on my Wish List.

Rating: +++1/2

Favorite excerpt: (From page 161, ARC edition.)
     "Phil," I whispered. It was all that would come out.
     "Please come over here for a minute. I want to talk to you in private."
     His hunger overwhelmed me and I knew without a doubt what he wanted. I wasn't going to fall into his trap.
     "Phil, I know someone who can help you work through this change," I said, talking from complete ignorance, but hoped Nicholas would know what to do.
     He gave me a wicked grin.
     "Clever girl," he hissed and the leaves at his feet spun up as if caught in a whirlwind and he was gone."

Cover comment: Simple picture, doesn't give any clues about the story but it's okay.

Book source: Around the World tours

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