Monday, December 31, 2012

Talisman of El (Talisman of El #1), by Alecia Stone

Barnes & Noble


One Planet.

Two Worlds.

Population: Human ... 7 billion.

Others ... unknown.

When 14-year-old Charlie Blake wakes up sweating and gasping for air in the middle of the night, he knows it is happening again. This time he witnesses a brutal murder. He's afraid to tell any one. No one would believe him ... because it was a dream. Just like the one he had four years ago - the day before his dad died.

Charlie doesn't know why this is happening. He would give any thing to have an ordinary life. The problem: he doesn't belong in the world he knows as home. He belongs with the others.

I really, really, really wanted to like this book. The premise is awesome, and I was so excited when NetGalley approved my request!

Unfortunately, the story falls flat. I was completely engaged for the first quarter of the book, and my attention waned from there. I struggled through the rest of it and would not have finished were it not an ARC for review.

What I liked:
  • The description of Charlie's gym teacher had me laughing. When I was in sixth grade, my big, burly male P.E. teacher also wore short red shorts and tight shirts.
  • The premise. I love the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, and this had a similar feel.

What I didn't like:
  • One of the biggest problems throughout the book was a lack of transition from one scene to another. Charlie goes from having a sleepless night to pacing back and forth in front of his house. It's a minor transgression, but it's quite confusing for the reader. A page break -- or some sort of symbol denoting a transition -- would have helped immensely.
  • Metric versus English. Since this book is set in the UK and the author is British, I expected all units to be measured in the metric system. So it was terribly confusing when I read about both yards & meters and miles & kilometers.
  • Adding to any confusion, there were a number of Britishisms that I had to figure out. I even had to google "naughts and crosses" (tic tac toe).
  • Characters portrayed one way, then the complete opposite for no discernible reason other than "revealing their true selves." * (Spoilers after the jump)

The book is stylistically and grammatically correct. If it were fleshed out more -- especially in terms of showing, rather than telling the story -- I think this would be a four-star read.

I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

* I really don't understand why a middle-aged thief would adopt a 14-year-old kid and make him an unwilling apprentice.

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