Friday, August 31, 2012

Talisman of El by Alecia Stone: DNF

Title: Talisman of El
Author: Alecia Stone
Publication Date: May 20, 2012
Length: 364 pages

Note: Various aspects of this book caused me to put it down without finishing it. Therefore, please keep in mind that this review has been written without any knowledge of the last half of the book.

Charlie is a boy who has nightmares that come true. Derkein is a young man who finds himself aging rapidly after being attacked by invisible beings. Alex and Richmond are just a couple of normal kids along for the ride. Together, they go off in search of Arcadia, a hidden world.

I really thought I'd like this one, but I ended up giving up on it. There were too many things irritating me about it. One big one was the info dumping. Once the kids got to Arcadia, and people started explaining the mythology to them, I quickly became lost, because so much was being explained so quickly that I couldn't follow. I didn't feel like it was being revealed in a natural way at all.

Also, the characters said and did things that were so annoying, I couldn't feel any positive feelings for any of them, except maybe Richmond. Sometimes. For example, at one point, Alex (a female character, mind you) says this:
"Hunter?" Alex said. "But she's a girl!" As though she remembered something, she shook her head and said, "But she's not a human girl, Alex. I need to write this stuff down."

Umm, excuse me? That same character is also randomly mean to other female characters, presumably because she likes Charlie? Or something? And she sees other girls as potential competition? I don't know. But I didn't like it.

And then there's Derkein. I don't know if his exact age was specified, but I got the impression that he was a young man, like maybe early 20s? But for some reason, he thinks this age difference (the others are in high school, I think) is enough for him to be in charge of them, to the point where he keeps telling them to go home while he goes on to Arcadia. He's bossy and annoying. Oh, and he has a stupid line, too:
“This will be the greatest discovery since the extinction of dinosaurs.”
“Assuming dinosaurs did exist, that is,” Derkein said.
Alex shook her head. “Couldn’t just let me have this moment, could you?”

That gave me the uncomfortable feeling that I was reading a book written by a creationist, of the variety that thinks maybe fossils were planted by God as a joke or something. The existence of dinosaurs is not up for debate. And this was just thrown into an otherwise normal conversation.

I won't give this book a rating, since I didn't finish it, and for all I know the last half is way better. But I did not particularly enjoy the first half.

Full disclosure: Free e-book copy received from the publisher through NetGalley.

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