Friday, June 4, 2010

Book Review: The Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos


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.


The interesting premise and backstory is one of the biggest features of The Emerald Talisman. The first chapter is intriguing and grabbing although the pace drops off for awhile after the initial spark before coming together strongly for a bold climax and ending. Definable and developed characters help bring the book more to life and the new take on vampires make it stand out more.

Julia starts out as a strong character, her personality and views coming off from the start, though it seemed to lapse some in the middle when she became infatuated after one quick meeting with Nicholas. I admit, her instant, disabling obsession did detract for me as there was a large chunk of the book that focused on her yearning for him with little in return. Although teenagers do fall in love quickly, whether they realize it at the time or not, I wasn’t sure there was enough to substantiate the level of her emotions. Despite this, Julia is still an enjoyable character and her empathy is a very bold aspect of the story. The descriptions and use of it are fantastic, adding a very high element to the book. Her family situation is heartbreaking but the interactions are strong and often. Her father and brother both very clearly love her and care about her and their habits come through the pages to bring the set up to life.

Nicholas is a unique character, taking on a new form of vampire and adding a refreshing element to the book. His involvement with Julia is well played out smoothly and the way her empathy correlates to him is fantastic. A mix of creepy, overprotective and caring, Nicholas takes on both the mold of “bad boy” while still being separate from the general cliché of male romantic lead.

Apart from the lagging portions, the plot plays out pretty smoothly. Overall, the writing creates good mental pictures for the reader with the most notable aspect being Juila’s empathy. Her use and reliance on it is strong and Pandos never lets it fall by the wayside or become complacent with it. At times when a reader might not even consider the empathy, it comes back into play. A few other characters and creatures also pull the book to life. The purpose and use of the talisman is also original, coming into play much earlier than the reader will realize. The ending ties up some of this plot but still leaves things open for the next book, spurring enough reader curiosity.

Overall, this is a good start to a series and ends with a great tie up for the majority of this book’s events but still leaving enough unanswered to pique a reader’s interest for the next book. Bold characters even if some of their actions and responses are cliché or overdramatic also play a large part in bringing this book, as a whole, to something well worth the read. The intrigue is certainly present and Pandos has a strong start to continue the series and I have high hopes her overall writing and story telling abilities which are already good will grow to become something great.

Source: Review copy received from the author free of charge
Paperback: 282 pages
Publisher: Obsidian Mountain Publishing (March 24, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 057805339X
ISBN-13: 978-0578053394

Author's Website


  1. This one really looks like something I'd like. Thanks for the honest review :)

  2. I've been curious about this one. It sounds good o.o