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review 2019-07-09 20:49
The Crimson Talisman, War-Torn #1 by Adrian Cole
The Crimson Talisman - Adrian Cole

'The Crimson Talisman' starts off a four-part series of standalone novels by four different authors. They are linked thematically by characters that had lives profoundly changed by the Last War and are unsure of how to live in a world, theoretically, at peace, or even if they have a place in it.


The Last War was a century-long conflict that consumed so much energy and resources that it drastically altered society, technology and the landscape itself. It was one of the main components of the Eberron setting that set it apart. The suggested starting point for campaigns was only a few years after the end of the war.


That said, the thematic link doesn't make all that much sense here. Our protagonist is one Vaddi d'Orien a young half-elf of good family who witnesses the death of his father and half-brothers at the hands of undead. This is shortly after his father handed him his mysterious birthright: a macguffin in the form of a carved dragon's tooth. There are necromancers, vampires, a thin romance angle complete with a warrior/sorcerer damsel who needs to be saved, and a bunch of dropped plot points that could have made the novel at least atmospheric. The Last War and setting markers (like major NPCs, locations, etc.) are seldom mentioned. The only connection with 'The War-Torn' theme is with the supporting character of Nyam Hordath, whose family died in the war, and whom, for obscure reasons, sees something of his sons in young Vaddi.


There are some nerdish objections - including the strict rule that a half-elf cannot bear the d'Orien dragonmark (an inherited magical ability) - but I won't bother with that. This was the third ever Eberron novel so mistakes were gonna be made. Of course, the 'Campaign Setting' itself was out almost a full year before this novel debuted so editors should have been able to make some corrections...but, whatever. There are enough flaws to the book on a more basic level.


The plot was all macguffin and there wasn't a real solution to be found. Conversations would happen between heros and between villains and made no sense until I reversed who was saying the lines. That...shouldn't happen, at least not in more than one scene. This was not an auspicious beginning to my return to Eberron novels, but I know that there's more (and better) to come.


The War-Torn


Next: 'The Orb of Xoriat'

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review 2017-09-08 03:43
I loved the narration...
The Black Talisman - Richard Storry

As the last strains of my audiobook fade, I wonder what I just listened to? That was so out of my usual reading sphere that I'm not really sure what I think.

The Black Talisman was a supernatural/religious book, completely different from anything I'd read before and although it's always good to try something new, it doesn't guarantee enjoyment.


As with many of today's novels, it has a current day strand (1984) and a past strand (1673), alternating between the two. More than 300 years ago, a coven of witches met and called up their Dark Lord, Anubin. They were thwarted in their plans by the local priest and his associates; and an icon, the Black Talisman became mislaid. This was required for them to reconvene, but it was split into 3 pieces, each hidden separately by members of the church.

Many years later, two youngsters, Monica and Gilbert, find themselves wound up in some frightening events, caused by the search for this artifact.


I'm not a fan of horror, yet in many ways this wan't particularly scary. Some parts were a bit predictable and the churchy bits were fine, I quite enjoyed the angels' appearances. But at the end, when the author described his image of heaven, he lost me. That struck me as rather unnecessary, I felt that the afterword should have been scrapped.


Special mention for the narrator, Jake Urry, whose descriptions of the food served at a gastronomic supper, made my mouth water.

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review 2016-05-18 01:48
The Guicai Talisman (The Undercity Chronicles of Babylonia Jones, P.I.#1) by A.M. Griffin
The Guicai Talisman (The Undercity Chronicles of Babylonia Jones, P.I. Book 1) - A.M. Griffin

She’s unclassed and only half paranormal, which has Babylonia Jones taking jobs from whoever will hire her which is how she finds herself looking for the Guicai Tailsman and no matter the outcome nothing good can come from messing with it or it’s far too gorgeous guardian in this exciting urban fantasy.


 This well written story brings quite a character to life, Babylonia Jones doesn’t have it easy but she sure is determined and has a strong, commanding personality that draws readers to her with her vibrant energy. The plot is fast paced, flows smoothly and is full of intrigue and interesting elements as well as adrenaline pumping excitement when she tempts one dangerous vampire and unknowingly sets off a deadly adversary with additional spice being added to the story by Babylonia’s love life, since she has a demi-god for a former boyfriend and quite a bit of sizzling chemistry with Zaid (the dangerous vampire).


This is an exciting story that held me captive from the beginning, there was never a dull moment and I can’t wait to read Babylonia’s next story.



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review 2016-05-16 07:29
Talisman (Fur Magic #1) by Colleen Charles
Talisman (Fur Magic Book 1) - Colleen Charles


As an enchanted feline companion, Talisman knows that his witchy owner, Penelope DeLàcroix’s spells are failing because a vengeful witch is siphoning off her powers but communicating with Penelope presents a bit of a problem, so what’s a cat to do but find another way to save the day.


This well written story is full of vivid details and captures the reader’s attention from the very beginning, it’s fast paced, smooth flowing and full of suspense and romance. As for as the characters go, the story is from Talisman’s point of view which is definitely different for me and adds quite a bit of charm especially when you add in the other animals involved. The budding romance between Penelope and Dr. Luke is quite sweet with a few obnoxious and possible evil characters adding lots of expectation and suspense.


While I think the story is delightfully charming and definitely has possibilities, I can’t decide really how I feel about being told a story by Talisman. The author did a great job getting the personality of the cat to come across but that a cat’s personality is kind of distracting so I will have to wait to read the rest of the series to make a final decision on animal narration. Note: This is part one so it does end on quite a cliff hanger.




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review 2015-09-13 20:26
Interesting start to a series.
The Talisman - Paula Knight

Free read. This is part of a series and does not truly end. I liked the set up and enjoyed the characters. I look forward to reading the rest of the series to see where it goes.

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