By: Steven M. Booth
Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book to review. As is my policy with books that I receive for review, if I don’t like it, I don’t review it.
Dark Talisman tells the story of Altira, a Dark Elf, who is thrown out of her home after it’s discovered that she robbed the Sultan. It wasn’t the smartest thing in the world to be doing, since the Sultan is an ally, but all she did was steal a few gems. Hardly worth banishment. Quickly, Altira finds herself deep into a plot that has many folds and reveals. Not all of them are completely hidden, and I did see a few of them coming, but nothing that ruined the story, or even made it unreadable.
This is, technically, classified as a YA fantasy novel, which is fine. It actually reads a bit higher than that, and was a good read. The plot moves along quickly, pushing the reader to keep turning the pages and digging deeper into the story. The world that Booth has built here is well done. I think it’s hard to build a world with enough detail to properly give the reader the feel of it, while limiting the detail so that it doesn’t become pages of description and explanation. Booth does both really well here.
The protaganist, Altira, is younger (usual for a YA), and as such, has a few naive flaws, that were sometimes a bit annoying. I think it went a bit too far, and didn’t give the character enough credit to be resourceful on her own. She kept having to be distrustful, and then be proved wrong when the people she couldn’t trust come back to save her. Maybe the combination of her age and being a Dark Elf made it seem like she needed to be that way? I just think it could have been dialed back a bit.
That’s a pretty minor quibble, if you ask me. Dark Talisman is a good book, with a heroine, which is good in a YA fantasy novel, I think. If you’re a fan of fantasy novels, and want something with a lighter (e.g. not 600+ pages) feel, Dark Talisman is worth checking out.