- Books, Literature, and Writing
Talisman of El Book Review
The last book I read
I love to read fantasy. It allows us to visit incredible places, it encourages us to think from different perspectives, and of course it helps us to take a break from every day life.
The last book I read is called Talisman of El, by Alecia Stone. It is a young adult fantasy book. I am not that young, but I do read YA, because it is usually HSP safe. I do have to admit that I find most of them a bit too simplistic.This book was an exception, a very pleasant surprise indeed. The writing is impeccable, the story flows effortlessly, and the characters are awesome. It is one of those books that you can see made into a movie.
I would have never imagined this was the first novel of an indie writer. Alecia Stone moves the plot with the ease of a pro.
In this lens, I will review this book and there is a surprise... I met Alecia in the Amazon forum and she accepted to answer some questions. IÂ´m very excited!
Do you like to read fantasy books?
Alecia Stone is the author of Talisman Of El (Centrinian, 2012), the first book in the Talisman Of El trilogy. She graduated with a BA in Film & TV and has worked in television for a short period of time before branching out into storytelling. Alecia loves anything and everything paranormal. Her fascination with all things supernatural sparked her obsession with books, particularly young adult fantasy fiction, which she has never grown out of. She was inspired to become an author after reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen at the age of fourteen.
When she isn't writing, she enjoys going to the movies, listening to music, and travelling. In 2008, Alecia started working on Talisman Of El, a contemporary young adult fantasy fiction. Talisman Of El is her first novel. At present, Alecia lives in England, United Kingdom with her family.
WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS A LIE?
Population: Human ... 7 billion.
Others ... unknown.
When 14-year-old CharÂlie Blake wakes up sweatÂing and gaspÂing for air in the midÂdle of the night, he knows it is hapÂpenÂing again. This time he witÂnesses a bruÂtal murÂder. He's afraid to tell anyÂone. No one would believe him ... because it was a dream. Just like the one he had four years ago - the day before his dad died.
CharÂlie doesn't know why this is hapÂpenÂing. He would give anyÂthing to have an ordiÂnary life. The probÂlem: he doesn't belong in the world he knows as home.
He belongs with the others.
Manhattan, New York
January 25, 2013, 11:15 P.M.
DERKEIN ODESSA SAUNTERED INTO a study lined with bookshelves and a high ceiling of gold leaf and bas-relief sculptures. He stopped when he saw his father standing behind the large mahogany desk at the back of the room, rifling through the wall safe. A muscle in his jaw ticked. 'You're alive then,' he said.
'Not now, Derkein.' His father closed the safe, covering it with a portrait of his wife.
Folding his arms across his chest, Derkein advanced on him, his footsteps echoing off the hardwood floor. 'Not now.' He chuckled without humour. 'Well, why don't you give me your card, and I'll book an appointment.'
'I'm sorry I didn't call, but I can't talk right now. I have a flight to catch.'
When his father turned round, Derkein stopped, his eyes widening. A blood-soaked plaster covered the right side of his father's neck, red stains on the collar of his white shirt. Derkein hurried over to him. 'What happened?' he asked.
'I'm fine. It's just a scratch.'
'You don't look fine. Where have you been?' Derkein paused, the strong smell of tobacco assailing his nose. He scrutinized his father - the purple bags under his eyes, scratch marks on his chin. 'You're still searching for it, aren't you?' He sighed, raking a hand through his shoulder-length black hair as he lifted his head back. 'You gave me your word.'
'I know you disagree with my decision, but you have to understand -'
'Understand what? Dad, this is not normal.' Derkein grabbed the bag at his father's feet, lifted it onto the desk, and tipped it onto its side, scattering the surface with a collection of daggers and guns. He picked up a black leather sheath and pulled out a knife, its broad, stainless blade honed until the cutting edge was almost invisible. He dropped the knife and sheath among the other weapons. 'You have to stop this.'
Derkein's heart skipped a beat. 'What? What happened?'
'Natural causes. Apparently, his heart gave out.'
'What do you mean "apparently"?'
With a hesitant glance at Derkein, his father opened the front pocket of the bag and pulled out a talisman, burnished in copper with an engraved steel band and a circular dip in the centre. 'Luther and I dug this up in the Roncador Mountains in Mato Grosso, Brazil. The earthquake that hit South America two months ago. We caused it when we removed this from the earth.' He looked down at the talisman then back at Derkein, distress clouding his features. 'The moment the earthquake struck, we passed out. Two hours later, we woke up on Manhattan Bridge.'
'I don't understand what you're saying.'
'We didn't fly to New York.'
'Then how did you get here?'
His father started packing the weapons back inside the bag. 'I don't know. Three weeks ago, Luther called me and told me that someone was following him. I think whoever was after him wanted the talisman, and when they didn't find it, they killed him. Now they're after me.'
'So give it to them. Dad, this isn't worth your life.'
'I can't. This is my only connection to Arcadia.'
'Where are you going?'
'England,' his father replied. 'Thomas might be able to help me. If what he told me about these beings is true, I can't be around you. They got to Luther. I won't lose you, too.' He turned round and stared at the portrait covering the safe.
'I miss Mum, too, but it's been five years. Give up before you end up killing yourself. Arcadia doesn't exist.'
His father looked at him. 'It's out there. I'm going to find it. I will bring her back.'
'Mum's dead,' Derkein snapped. 'When are you going to get that?'
'I have to go,' his father said in a calm voice. 'I'll call you when I get there.'
'I'll be fine. I always am.'
'Dad, please -'
An ear-piercing scream ripped through the building. Derkein froze, his eyes the only things that moved. His gaze fixed on his father, who was rummaging through his bag. He took out a black pistol and turned to Derkein, a tortured expression on his face as he placed the weapon in his son's trembling hand.
'Shoot anything that moves,' his father instructed. He placed the talisman around Derkein's neck, tucking it inside his shirt. 'Don't let it out of your sight.' Cupping Derkein's face in his hands, he made him meet his gaze. 'I'm so sorry I got you involved in this.' He grabbed another gun from the bag.
'What exactly have you got yourself into, Dad?'
His father looked at him with a solemn expression. 'If anything happens to me, you find Thomas. Tell him. Tell him he was right.' He headed towards the door.
'Dad, wait.' Derkein went after him. 'Dad -'
The double doors burst open with a bang.
His father opened fire. 'Derkein, shoot!' he yelled.
Derkein glanced around the room in panic and confusion. He saw no one but his father. Then he felt a sharp pain in his arm, heard his shirt tear, and cried out. Something warm dribbled down his arm. When he placed his hand on it and drew it back, he saw blood. His father screamed, and he looked up and saw him flying across the room, crashing into a bookshelf that collapsed under him.
'Dad!' Derkein sprinted towards him but felt a powerful blow across his chest that sent him flying backwards, and he landed hard on the floor, his gun falling out of his hand. Staggering to his feet, he glanced around for whatever had attacked him but saw nothing. His gaze landed on his father, who was groaning, and then he was gone. There were no bright lights or loud noise. He had just vanished.
As Derkein stared wide-eyed at the spot where his father had been lying only moments before, something like a blast of electricity stunned him, and he felt an intense burning inside his chest. He let out a cry as his body lifted off the ground and hung in midair. Seconds later, he came crashing down.
Can you tell us something about you and your book, Talisman of El?
My name is Alecia Stone, and I currently reside in the UK. I love travelling and going to the movies. I have a degree in Film and Television - I took my love for movies to another level. I started off writing in poetry and screenwriting, as a hobby, before trying my hand at fiction. Talisman Of El is my first novel, and it's also the first book in a trilogy. The story follows Charlie Blake, a young orphan trying to find his place in the world. It's a young adult fantasy novel that features a wonderful blend of magic, mythology and adventure.
Do the words come easily most of the time? How do you unblock your writer's block?
Thankfully, I haven't experienced writer's block just yet. Fingers crossed, things remain that way. For the most part, the words do come easily to me, which I'm thankful for.
Do you write with an outline or do you just start writing and let the story take you where it wants to?
I'm not good with planning, so I just go straight into it and see where the story takes me. I find it interesting this way. It keeps me interested in the story when I don't completely know where it's going. Writing should be fun, and I certainly had fun creating this story.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes there is. The message is: Everything is connected. This is a theme that runs throughout the novel. There is a saying in the laws of ecology that states: "There is one ecosphere for all living organisms and what affects one affects all."
How important do you think villains are in a story?
I think it's very important. A story without a villain would flat line. If it were human it would clinically be dead. To create a sense of authenticity in stories, it should reflect life, which includes opposites: light and dark, life and death ... It's that whole concept of yin and yang, the representation of opposite principles in nature.
If you could have dinner with any author, who would it be, and what would you like to talk about?
I would like to have dinner with George Orwell. I loved 1984, and what we would talk about is the mysterious Room 101.
'You asked me once,' said O'Brien, 'what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.'
I wonder what Orwell would say is the worst thing in the world.
What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?
Well, since I'm writing a trilogy, I have two more books to write. I'm currently writing the sequel.
Have you included a lot of your life experiences, even friends, in the plot?
Naturally, I think every writer embeds a part of their history into their stories. There are some qualities of my family and friends in my characters as there are experiences in my life that have played a part in the plot. It's inevitable. The people around me have and will always inspire and influence me, so the plot will reflect some aspects of my life, whether intentionally or not.
Out of all of your characters, which is your favorite? Why?
It has to be the main character, Charlie Blake. I've spent a lot of time on that kid, and he's certainly had an impact on my life and has opened my mind to the wonders of the world. He's a great representation of humanity. He has both positive and negative qualities about him that makes him complete. I like the fact that he is flawed. I like his imperfection.
Titles: do you write the books first and the title comes next or does the title come to you as you write?
Usually the title comes to me as I'm writing the story or after it. It never comes before it, though. I need to have a general idea of where it's going before I can come up with a title I'm satisfied with.
Do you manage to write every day?
I don't get the chance to write every day, I'm afraid. Honestly, I think, creatively, it works best for me when I don't write every day. My mind's the kind that requires recuperation.
If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
The Maze Code (it's copyrighted - lol).
Who is your favorite literary character and why?
It has to be the boy who never grows up. It's none other than Peter Pan. He's a brilliant character. He sustains that immortality people long for. He represents youth in its purest form. I love his mentality, and he has the most amazing adventures. He's just a great character with a wonderful imagination.
If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be?
Whenever you are searching for an answer to something, you usually find the answer in what it is you are questioning.
The answer to the question is the question to the answer.
Thanks so much for answering my questions!! I loved your book!
Thanks for having me and for giving me the opportunity to introduce Talisman Of El. It's been great.