Author: Steven M. Booth
Age Range: 12 and up
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Azimuth Books (October 15, 2013)
Series: The Guardian Chronicles #1
Source: Wunderkind PR for tour
My Rating: 4 of 5 stars
About the Book:
been banished from her home without a word of explanation. Assassins
are hot on her tail, and she’s fleeing without a plan. On the whole, her
future looks pretty grim. Then again, it’s nearly impossible to catch a
dark elf. And even tougher to kill one.Meet
Altira. She set out to rob a sultan, and ended up stealing the
deadliest gem in the world. This mistake could cost Altira her life – or
save her race, and possibly the world as she knows it.
Altira struggles to triumph over the vast forces arrayed against her,
she acquires (mostly against her will) a rich cast of unexpected allies –
perceptive dwarves, giant Phoenix birds with mysterious powers, and
ephemeral creatures made from nothing but air. Together they must find a
way to defeat the army of assassins set against her, overcome the wrath
of three nations, and forge allegiances with despised enemies, to
reveal the truth to a people kept in darkness for millennia.
“DARK TALISMAN features a snarky heroine along with a colorful cast of magical creatures struggling to triumph in the midst of an eternal battle set in a vividly written world. This fun, fantasy adventure is not to be missed!”
—Fantasy Book Addict
“This entertaining, sweeping fantasy is the first installment of the new Guardian Chronicles series geared toward the young adult market but equally suitable for adults. The diverse, obviously flawed characters are a treat, especially Altira who gradually replaces her snarky, knee-jerk reactions to people with genuine caring. Tyke, Altira’s dwarf friend proves to be steadfast ally and companion while the Guardians add just the right amount of magic to this engaging tale that all started with the simple theft of a stone. This is a treat for fantasy readers of all ages and is certain to win Booth a loyal following for his upcoming releases as there are more challenges ahead for Altira.”
—Monsters and Critics
“Well written. Compelling. Sequel-likely (and worthy), I recommend this book to all of you nerds out there…immersive, comfortable, and wildly fantastic (as in Fantasy!!!) world.”
“A delightfully sassy heroine takes center stage in this vibrant tale of action and intrigue, set in a lovingly crafted world of magic and mystery. A treat for new and veteran fantasy readers alike.”
—Eldon Thompson, author of THE LEGEND OF ASAHIEL
About the Author:
STEVEN M. BOOTH works with artists in the film industry to create some of the most spectacular effects and animation on the silver screen. He has worked as a software developer, programming the production and artist tools used to convert 2D to 3D films, on films such as Transformers 3, The Green Lantern, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Smurfs.
Steven combined his love of the natural world with his ability to think outside the box, developed after working in computer software for over 30 years, to imagineer the fantasy world of his first novel, DARK TALISMAN.
Steven has been a competitive equestrian rider in dressage, a championship-caliber amateur ballroom dance competitor, is a certified SCUBA diver, likes flying helicopters, and enjoys sailing, photography, and all things Disney. He currently lives in San Diego.
‘Alti, can I git yer magic sight, please? I kin ‘ardly see where I’m goin’ ‘ere.’
Altira waved a hand in the Dwarf’s direction, casting vision for herself as well. The umber and black shadows were transformed into ghostly images in shimmering teal. ‘How far is it, do you know? To the entrance?’
‘Dunno, never been on dis road. Though da innkeep said it was a day’s walk to da service gate on the south, I’m nae sure where dat be.’
‘Remind me again…Why did I bring you with me? You don’t seem to be much help.’
‘Me sparklin’ personality?’ He flashed her a toothy grin.
‘Yes, that’s it, no doubt,’ she muttered, turning and continuing up. They ascended through a myriad of switchbacks and massive granite bridges, climbing ever upward, getting ever closer to the Dwarven capital.
They took most of the night, ascending into the silent, darkened pinnacles. In the wee hours they stopped to rest and Tyke revealed that the monstrous pack he’d been lugging up the hills contained mostly food. There were several tiny casks of ale, black bread, some vegetables, and what looked like most of a side of pork. Altira wondered idly what kind of ring the Dwarf could possibly have possessed to barter for all of it, but it was none of her business. She accepted a carrot and two apples with a nod and watched in amazement as her companion polished off an entire cask of ale, three meat pies, and several slices of pork, burping loudly afterward. She scowled and shook her head. Dwarves were such barbarians.
They rose and continued upward. The air, chill at first, became downright cold after a while and Altira had to pull her coat from her pack. The Dwarf, however, didn’t seem to require additional clothing and trudged on without complaint. It was nearly dawn when the well-traveled road finally descended into some sort of valley. The moonless night made it impossible to see more than a few score cubits even with magisight, though she sensed they were coming to a large open space. When they discovered a stunted beech tree clinging to the sloping, rocky ground to the right, Altira decided it was time to stop. She led them into the rocks at the base of the cliff some distance behind the tree to wait for dawn. As the sky over the jagged peaks began to brighten, she finally saw that the path descended into a gentle valley carpeted with grass and diminutive trees. The road hugged the right wall of the canyon and terminated at a pair of huge granite doors on the northern side, embedded in the bare rock of the mountain. She turned to her companion and whispered.
‘Is this it?’
‘Aye, reckon I’tis.’
‘What do we do? How do you get in?’
I had a tremendous amount of difficulty getting into this book, but once I did, I really enjoyed it. I can’t decide why I had a hard time at first, because the book is well written and has an interesting and nicely paced plot. Maybe it was because I didn’t like the main character, Altira, at the beginning. She came across as grouchy, arrogant, and rude. I found that I liked her more as the book progressed and she began to develop relationships with other people. By the end, she had grown on me and I liked her a lot. She retained her snarky attitude throughout the story and she was somewhat of an acquired taste. I especially liked Tyke and his easy going nature. Actually, I really liked almost every character in the book.
The thing I like about fantasy books is that there is no limit to where an author’s imagination can take you. Dark Talisman is no exception. There are twists, turns, weird creatures, and lots of action. The writing is easy to follow and not overly flowery. The author did a wonderful job of creating a believable world without info-dumping all at once. Many details are picked up along the way without great explanation, but which add to the richness of the world he created.
This book will appeal to teens and adults that enjoy fantasy, a save-the-world plot, and a strong female lead.
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