Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Book Review: The Sapphire Talisman by Brenda Pandos


With the local vampire coven decimated, Julia and Nicholas try to begin a somewhat normal life together. Bound by secrecy from a shape shifter determined to see Julia’s world-saving prediction come to fruition, Julia isn’t allowed to tell Nicholas the leader survived, ransacking her happiness with guilt. When Alora returns, bent on revenge, the reunion forces Nicholas and Julia to choose what they are willing to live and die for.


The Short Version:
Intriguing and steady, The Sapphire Talisman is a well done follow up to The Emerald Talisman. The characters are more dynamic, the overall pacing and plot hold a stronger note than in the first, and there are several unexpected twists mixed in to this one. Though slow to start, once the book picks up it keeps pushing through, pulling the reader through the whirlwind with it.

The Extended Version:
Julia is very similar to the girl from the first book, hopelessly in love with Nicholas but still trying to be a good friend to those that were in her life before him. Her relationship with Nicholas grows much more in this book for reasons that are much more solid than in the first. She goes through some surprising steps of personal growth in this installment, and gains a strength not seen before, somewhat overshadowing the helpless girl she seemed to be previously. Though her relationship with him is still incredibly dependent, they do suffer some trials that test them in much needed ways.

Nicholas shows some new sides of himself as well, albeit not all good ones. More of his past and life come to light, painting a stronger picture of him overall and making a better connection from him to the reader. A large part of this plot centers around Nicholas, shifting the focus from Julia despite her narration, and this is handled smoothly. The ways Nicholas changed and the roles he played in this installment were very well done, and one of my favorite aspects of the book.

Several characters from book one return, some in surprising and unexpected ways. Though the reasons behind some of this isn’t completely clear or a little convenient, the overall impact helps the story in a great way. The majority of the characters are more fleshed out in this installment, giving insight to more than only Julia this time around. There is a strong interplay between all the characters, as well, adding a great element that lacked in the first book.

The plot is good overall, filled with several twists that help amp things up despite the slow start and some lags after it picks up. Though a few places were predictable and too convenient, the majority was well worth the read and surprising. The continued role of the talisman and it's uses are explored further, giving a good centering point for everything. While there are a few clich├ęs and common concepts, Pandos has manipulated them to form her own story and put them to uses all her own. The time and thought put in to this installment is clear, with most things well explained and maintained. The writing has improved from the first book and though I did feel it was trying too hard in some places, it lent itself to some beautiful and vivid descriptions.

With a better grasp of the characters which are more dynamic overall, a mostly original plot, and a stronger note in the writing, The Sapphire Talisman has followed up The Emerald Talisman in a great way. Given the improvement in the writing and story elements of this book from the first, there is huge promise for a stunning third installment. Considering how things left off with this one, things are set perfectly to launch in to book three and keep things moving, bringing everything full circle.

Source: ARC received for review from author in conjunction with promotional tour hosted by The {Teen} Book Scene
Reading Level: Young Adult
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Obsidian Mountain Publishing (December 15, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982903324
ISBN-13: 978-0982903322


  1. Great review! And I really like the cover art. :)

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  3. I was actually surprised by this book. The Sapphire Talisman was a unique book with a compelling storyline.