Sarah Hulcy's Reviews > Talisman of El

Talisman of El by Al   Stone
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's review
Aug 19, 2012

really liked it
Read in August, 2012

August 19, 2012: Talisman of El Review

I received a free copy of Talisman of El by Alecia Stone in return for a review on and I will be posting this review to Amazon, Goodreads, Smashwords, and Barnes & Noble.

This is a good, solid beginning to a series with an interesting series arc, unique characters both human and otherwise and is quite well-done for a first-time author. I will be looking for future books in this series because it does what a series is supposed to do: make the reader want to find out what else happens to the characters and the story. The pacing of the story overall is good because it moves right along without rushing or dragging. The main characters are very consistent in their behavior and are described well, with the reader learning more about each character as the story continues. The characters are pre-teen/teen in age and it appears that we will stay with them as they grow up some and grow into their abilities, especially Charlie, the main character. It is also nice to see a book without incorrect homophones (bear, bare, etc.) and with proper sentence structure. The author obviously put a great deal of work into this book and it shows.

There are some first-time author issues that should be addressed such as getting to a character's back story a little sooner in more detail because it would answer questions the reader has that really are not major parts of the story arc but are waiting to be answered a bit too long. It is obvious very early in the story that the protagonist is an orphan who has been placed with a foster father in a small village away from London, where Charlie grew up with his dad until the father died. However, the manner in which it was decided that Charlie be placed with this widower so far from his home and why with this particular man stays a mystery for almost the entire book. There seems to be no reason to wait until almost the end of the book to find out why Charlie ended up with Jacob. Not only would it help for the reader to know why Charlie ended up where and with whom he did, but some of the foster father's behavior is completely at odds with someone who would volunteer to be a foster father to orphans from as far away as London. We would not need to know absolutely everything about Jacob, but it would help to understand why Charlie is sent to him instead of being placed closer to where he grew up.

The story is a bit choppy in places and could use fuller descriptions of some of the characters (like Richmond), their motivations and the reasons for some of the activities, but overall it is well-plotted and a fun read.

There is a problem with the Kindle formatting that makes it a bit difficult to follow the story, but those can be dealt with and the file re-uploaded. Where a scene change occurs or when the action jumps forward in time, there is no indication of any change in the text -- the paragraph that starts the new scene or time frame is directly after the last paragraph of the prior action, so it is a bit confusing and causes the reader to have to stop and check back to figure out what has just happened. A division or extra spacing would help very much so the story moves more smoothly in those situations. Having formatted a fair number of Kindle books, I completely understand there being problems with the initial formatting.

I give Talisman of El four stars and will be watching for more from this author.

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message 1: by Al (new)

Al Thanks for the great review, Sarah. In regards to the Kindle formatting, NetGalley doesn't have a mobi file of Talisman Of El, they have a pdf file which is sent to readers' kindle device. I'm not sure why the formatting is off when it gets to the kindle device, but I can assure you that the mobi file (when bought from amazon) is correctly formatted as I have seen it myself.

Thanks for mentioning the format. I'll have to take it up with NetGalley to find out what's going on.

Thanks again and glad you enjoyed the book.

Sarah Hulcy Most of the time, the author is not the person who actually does the Kindle formatting and uploads the file to Amazon/KDP so they may not always be aware of the problems. But if this is actually a PDF, then I don't know what it would do when viewed on a Kindle! Keep writing!

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