Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dark Talisman by Steven M. Booth

She's been banished from her home without a word of explanation. Assassins are hot on her tail, and she's fleeing without a plan. On the whole, her future looks pretty grim. Then again, it's nearly impossible to catch a dark elf. And even tougher to kill one.

Meet Altira. She set out to rob a sultan, and ended up stealing the deadliest gem in the world. Her mistake could cost Altira her life -- or save her race, and possibly the world as she knows it.

As Altira struggles to triumph over the vast forces arrayed against her, she acquires (mostly against her will) a rich cast of unexpected allies -- perceptive dwarves, giant Phoenix birds with mysterious powers, and ephemeral creatures made from nothing but air. Together they must find a way to defeat the army of assassins set against her, overcome the wrath of three nations, and forge allegiances with despised enemies, to reveal the truth to a people kept in the darkness for millennia.

The first installment in The Guardian Chronicles, Dark Talisman takes us into the magical land of Salustra, where ageless Guardians are locked in an eternal battle with their mortal enemy: a Dark Lord intent on destroying their world.

If you enjoy reading fantasy, you'll want to make room on your shelves for Dark Talisman.  Although I found it very slow in the beginning, I'm very glad that I stuck with it.  The  pace picks up and by midway through the book I was hard-pressed to put it down.

Altira reminds me of many heroines in urban fantasy books - gritty, determined and full of attitude.  It takes awhile to really get to know her and even if I didn't completely love her, I did come to admire her.  Booth treats the reader with many plot twists and turns, as well as introducing characters and creatures that are quite unexpected, yet are a treat.  

A lot of world building is involved with Dark Talisman, but the detail is spot on and really sets the stage for upcoming installments.  I'd imagine Dark Talisman geared toward young adult, but I think those that like urban fantasy may find something intriguing with Altira and her world.  I certainly did and am really looking forward to the next one!

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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