Review Detail

Young Adult Fiction 244
Slow Start But Ultimately Engaging
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
What I Loved:

I haven't read high fantasy in a while, and this book reminded me why I love that genre. Elves, dwarves, magical assassins, dangerous artifacts--this book has it all. While it takes time to feel grounded in the world of DARK TALISMAN, the details are vivid and the cast of characters is as intriguing as the various settings. There's no shortage of imagination at work in this story, and readers who love Terry Brooks or Tolkien will find much to love in the world of DARK TALISMAN.

The story is action-packed from the very first scene. Interesting plot twists keep the reader engaged, and the stakes continue to rise as Altira discovers more about both her world and the artifact she's stolen. It may take readers a while to feel fully invested in the outcome of the story, but once hooked, a reader will have a hard time putting the book down.

What Left Me Wanting More:

While the opening scene is brilliant and immediately captured my attention, the next chunk of chapters confused me or left me wondering when the real action was going to start. High fantasy readers are accustomed to a slower start to their books, so perhaps this won't be an issue for other readers, but I did find that I had to push past the slow beginning to really begin to feel excited and invested in the story.

Unfortunately, the main character was very difficult to connect with. Her inner monologue is full of constant name calling toward the characters she comes in contact with (even those she's just met), and rather than come across as witty or snarky, she comes across as petty and immature. I found myself annoyed with her for much of the book instead of caring about her outcome. I was finally able to warm up to her a little bit near the end, but readers who need to like the main character or need to really enjoy being in her head might find her a distraction to the rest of the high stakes story. Fortunately, many of the secondary characters are enjoyable and help to make up for what Altira lacks.

Final Verdict:

Despite a slow beginning, vivid world building and an action-packed plot make for an intriguing story for fans of high fantasy.
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