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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 2016-08-02 10:57
5/5: The Talisman, Stephen King and Peter Straub
The Talisman - Stephen King,Peter Straub

Chased by the ambitious and power-hungry partner of his dead father, Jack Sawyer and his dying mother find themselves in New Hampshire, exiled from California. Jack is sent on a road trip back to the west coast to retrieve something called “The Talisman”. Its description is vague to the point of non-existence by the odd man sending him on the trip. But Jack is just desperate enough to try it…to try anything to save his mother. It’s the McGuffin that powers the plot along.

And, it seems, not just his mother is in trouble. Jack discovers he can travel to a parallel world called “The Territories”, a place which has “magic instead of physics.” (A world King would later expand into his Dark Tower series). Ruler of this place is a woman who bears more than a passing resemblance to Jack’s mother, a dying queen who also needs saving from the Territories equivalent of his father’s partner.

The Talisman is not a short book by any means…but the best part? I didn’t even notice, because the pages flip by so easily. From Jack’s first trips into the Territories to the horrors and good friends he finds in this world and the other, nothing lags or drops. There wasn’t a moment when I wanted to leave the book alone, even though I’ve read it before and knew where it was all going.

At the time of publication (around 1984), this was touted as an adult horror story, I believe. But horror forms such a subset that it seems like a mis-identification. This is odyssey, this is Frodo and Sam growing as characters as they travel the road to Mordor. This is all about the journey. This is about finding strength you didn’t know you had, discovering who your friends are, friends willing to die for you, as you would for them.

This is as much about a twelve year old boy discovering what it takes to turn into a man, and what sort of man he wants to turn in to.

In 1984, this was classed as adult fiction, but there’s nothing here that a teenager couldn’t read. I would class it as young-adult, actually, both in terms of protagonist and the themes that run through it. And like the best of YA, there’s something there for all of us, no matter how old we are.

The Talisman is, in two words, bloody brilliant.

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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 2015-09-13 20:26
Interesting start to a series.
COUGAR ROMANCE: The Talisman (Paranormal BBW Menage Romance) (Secret Shades of the Alpha Blood Series Book 1) - 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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review SPOILER ALERT! 2015-08-08 14:06
The horror of Vulnerability
The Talisman - Peter Straub,Stephen King

 

Well, this is my last night in Phuket and even though I wrote this review a couple of years ago I still need to go over it again just to iron out all of the little spelling and grammatical mistakes that I may have made. Okay, you are probably asking me why, since it is my last night and it is a Saturday, why I am not off having fun. Well, I just spent the day cruising around Phang Na Bay looking at all of the awesome islands, including the island that was made famous in Man with the Golden Gun.

 

James Bond Island

 

Like some of the islands that I visited (Khai Island in particular – which was made famous in that Leonardo Di Caprio film The Beach) there was absolutely nothing there prior to those films, and all of a sudden a heap of bars and souvenir stands popped up after everybody who had seen the film wanted to go and check the places out. Anyway, enough of that because this has absolutely nothing to do with the book.

 

This is the first Stephen King book that I ever read and it was the book that made me realise that he was not a bad author at all. This story is not a traditional horror story but rather a blend of horror and fantasy. As is typical with a lot of King's writings, the horror does not evolve around powerful monsters ripping and tearing their way through middle America, but rather it deals with the horror of life and how we face it. The catch is that, once again, like many of Kings other stories he still uses the supernatural to supplement the horror.

 

The Talisman is a story about a young boy that must go on a quest to find a talisman to save his dying mother, who happens to be an actress. While the story starts off in our modern world, it switches between a parallel magical world which mimics our world in a sense. In this world his mother is a famous actress, and in the parallel world his mother is akin to a faerie queen, however in both worlds his mother is dying.

 

Thus the boy must make a trek across the country, from the East to the West Coast, a journey that not many boys of his age could easily make. It is made easier in that the parallel world is smaller than our world, so when he is travelling in the parallel world he is crossing distances much quicker, however he still must walk, at least, because he is a boy and he cannot drive (though I do believe he does hitch). On the way he has numerous adventures, one that comes to mind is when he is trapped in a bar and forced to work as a slave.

 

Along the journey he meets a werewolf, however unlike what we expect werewolves to be this werewolf is a friend and an ally. We do see the power of friendship, and friendship with that which is not like us. Normally the werewolf is the monster that seeks to destroy us, however here the werewolf takes on a vastly different role, a role where his power is used to protect the boy, and remember that the boy is alone and vulnerable and has a quest to attempt to save his mother.

 

In many stories that involve children as the main character the story tends to be written for children. It is done in this way as children tend to relate much better to characters their own age rather than characters that are older. However, this story is far from being a children's story because there are a lot of adult themes involved, and much of the horror that revolves around the story is the vulnerability that the child represents. I guess the horror of this story is the horror of not just having an impossible quest to complete that is far in excess of your own ability, but also the fact that one is vulnerable and one must complete the quest despite the vulnerability.

 

Some have suggested that many of Kings characters tend to be quite twisted and mean, but I once again believe that this is the essence of the horror that King is trying to create. It is easy to write schlock horror when the main antagonist is a nasty monster, but it is much harder to write good horror with no supernatural elements beyond the evil and barbarity of humanity. Then there is Stephen King, whose horror is focused on the evil and barbarity of humanity, thrown in a dark setting with supernatural beings that only work to empathise the horror of humanity. Good book and well worth the read.

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/323036195
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