“Likeable Heroine Battles Vampires”
I’ve chatted with friendly author Brenda Pandos online and I’ve wanted to read her Talisman series for quite some time. When I won The Sapphire Talisman on a Goodreads giveaway, it was my cue to bump up the series on my to-be-read list!
The Emerald Talisman is the first book, featuring Julia, a sixteen year-old blonde living in northern California. Her life is rather normal except for the unexplained death of her mother when Julia was young. Julia reportedly witnessed the event but doesn’t remember what happened.
Her normal life shifts into the paranormal when a strong young man rescues her from peril. Nicholas seems so calming and warm that Julia falls into despair when he doesn’t return her calls. At one point Nicholas is downright cold to her and at others he simply avoids her, though she can still feel his longing for her. Talk about mixed signals! Luckily Julia meets a kind boy named Phil, who just moved into town. It seems like their friendship might help her deal with the loss of Nicholas in her life. However, Phil gets attacked, which sets into motion a threatening vampire triangle with Nicholas, Phil, and Julia—-will Julia survive?
I really like Julia. Her special ability to read others’ emotions has likely advanced her thoughtfulness and wisdom beyond her years. I wonder if losing her mother at a young age is what made her sensitivity to others blossom. When Julia faces dangerous situations, she comes across as being brave without appearing idiotic. I also enjoyed her relationships with her brother and father. It’s nice to see a brother who might lightly tease her but isn’t such an antagonist like in many other stories. And her father seems to be striving to be a good parent despite his grief and absence due to work travel.
I think the writing improves as the story progresses. There are too many high school friends to keep track of in the beginning, and it takes a while to get into the story. I'm glad we find out what happened with Julia's mother, and I'm curious to meet Nicholas' father. I give The Emerald Talisman 3.5 stars. I’m really looking forward to The Sapphire Talisman, where I hope we learn more about Nicholas and about the talisman.