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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Book Review: The Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos


Paperback: 280 pages 
Publisher: Obsidian Mountain Publishing (March 24, 2010) 
Purchase: AmazonAbe Books |   Barnes & Noble
Read excerpt:  Chapters 1 & 2

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.

Book Opening: 

"What kind of secret superpower would you want Julia?"
Startled out of my usual daydream I shifted my focus to Katie's chestnut-colored eyes, concerned about her choice of subject.

"Why? I asked, trying to sound natural. The Emerald Talisman (Volume 1)

Notable Scene: 

"A crack of a tree limb and falling foliage forced me to open my eyes. A tree fell right above my head, frightened birds flew out of the leaves and a cackle of laughter echoed across the ravine – extreme happiness mingled with the loathing hate. Selfishly, I prayed the fight would end in my favor and quickly.

But then suddenly I heard something that sounded like a sizzling firework and felt someone’s surprise turned into fear… then nothing. The evil vanished. I breathed a sigh of relief too soon as the branch shifted in the earth next to me.

“Hurry!” I cried, but it was too late.

I screamed as I fell, knowing I was about to die." –Pg 30

With an eerie plot and intriguing spin on the vampire myth, THE EMERALD ENCHANTMENT was an enjoyable paranormal romance. Though at times the book lost a little steam, the mix of well-defined characters and bold cliffhanger ending continued to reel me back in.
The first chapter of THE EMERALD TALISMAN begins with no less than six characters speaking and the mention of at least three more in passing conversation.  In my opinion, this is way too many people to be throwing at the reader in the first few pages. I was so sidetracked with trying to keep Julia's friends all straight, that I couldn't concentrate on the actual storyline. Fortunately, the book kicks in soon after. When Julia runs out of gas late one evening on a deserted highway, that's when I knew things were going to get really good. Much like Julia felt when she decided to take that shortcut through the forest, my heart was in my throat and I couldn't read fast enough! Brenda Pandos' bloodthirsty stalkers were truly frightening and an absolute thrill to cross paths with.

Julia was a teenager who could read emotions. (Picture a Sookie Stackhouse who reads feelings instead of thoughts). She was quirky and lovable, but I felt a lot of her decisions to be downright irrational. My biggest concern, however,was in regards to the extreme and immediate feelings of  love that she felt for Nicholas. I like my romances to evolve realistically rather than hit with the force of a runaway freight train and I'm afraid this one took off way too fast for me.  At times Julia frustrated me how self-consumed she was in her feelings toward him.

The many mysteries surrounding the death of Julia's mother and the circumstances surrounding Julia's own near-attack were intriguing and kept me on my toes.  There was a lot of time and effort put into the construction of this story and Brenda Pandos' effort definitely shone through. I absolutely loved Nicholas, the mysterious boy Julia meets in the forest and was inexplicably drawn to.  His unwavering determination to protect and watch over Julia fascinated me. I had to know why he wore the emerald talisman around his neck, why he was there the night when she was in danger, and when the secrets he was hiding would be revealed.

Despite a few reservations, THE EMERALD ENCHANTMENT was an engaging book; one with danger and excitement lurking behind every corner.  Julia  has an important role to play in events to come and I'm interested in where the sequel will take her next. THE SAPPHIRE TALISMAN, the second book in the series, releases in December 2010.

 Books by Brenda Pandos

The Emerald Talisman (Talisman, #1)The Sapphire Talisman (Talisman, #2)

Want more? Check out The Teen {Book Scene} for more tour information. Tomorrow's stop featuring a review of THE SAPPHIRE TALISMAN is at at La Femme Readers

Brenda Pandos is a web-designer who lives in California with her husband and two energetic children. Shortly after the birth of her second son, Brenda's oldest was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder that turned her world upside-down. Her life became round the clock feedings with a newborn and a daily stream of tutors working to help her son. She craved a meaningful escape.

THE EMERALD TALISMAN is a compilation of what the author would like to happen if she ever happened to encounter a real vampire.


Eleni @ La Femme Readers said...

Oh Kim, you sure know how to write beautiful reviews! I promise the sequel will deliver! :P

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Great review darling!

jewelknits said...

What a great review! When I fist saw this book, the gorgeous cover drew me in, and then all of the reviews have been fantabulous! :)

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries