Tuesday, November 12, 2013

BLOG TOUR and KINDLE GIVEAWAY: Dark Talisman by Steven M. Booth


She's 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. Her mistake could cost Altira her life -- or save her race, and possibly the world as she knows it.

As 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 the darkness for millennia.

The first installment in The Guardian Chronicles, Dark Talisman takes us into the magical land of Salustra, where ageless Guardians are locked in an eternal battle with their mortal enemy: a Dark Lord intent on destroying their world.


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.


I quite enjoyed this book.  Altira is an interesting main character, rather too reckless for her own good, but quite skilled as a thief.  Unfortunately, it is that skill as a thief that gets her into big trouble and on the run from an assassin. Needing supplies she reluctantly aides the dwarf Tyke who then aides her when the assassin appears.  But Altira isn't the type to stay on the run for long and she's determined to to return to the scene of her crime and find out why the pendant she took seems to be so important.  And if she can implicate the Dar, the leader of her people who banished her.  But things don't go the way she hopes and she finds herself wondering what to do with herself, assuming she can stay alive.

An intriguing YA fantasy, I really enjoyed getting to know Altira and Tyke and how they learn to adapt to the major differences between them.  Each has skills that the other doesn't and their cultures are very different. For one thing, Altira isn't used to people helping her, usually it's the other way around. And when she discovers what the pendant she carries really is, can she use it to save her people? Does she even want to? Lots of interesting developments occur in this first in a series. I'm eager to find out what happens next to the rather independent, but tough dark elf.


Tyke is a Dwarf, and one of the most interesting and fun characters in Dark Talisman. He was meant to fulfill two roles: First, he's Altira's 'foil' or counterpoint, and he's also the reader's first introduction to the race of Dwarves in the series. When we first encounter him, he comes across (in Altira's eyes, you must remember -- it's her PoV), as a complete fool. The more we learn about him, however, the more we realize that he is anything but incompetent. Tyke is unfailingly true, honest, and forthright. Although he chides his Elvish companion incessantly, we all know that he does it out of a instinctive love and trust in her. When he is out of his element -- trying to be a thief in the beginning -- he is inept. But when it comes to things-dwarvish, he is not just competent, but exceptional.

Let me also say that the Dwarven race in the Guardian Series is unlike any other dwarves you may have previously known. They are wicked-smart, able to literally tunnel through rock with their bare hands, are as wide as they are tall, and are composed almost entirely of muscle. you cannot knock a dwarf over, and fighting with them hand-to-hand would be sheer insanity. They are anything but a laughing-stock; they are never comic relief. In the end, they will prove to be a key component in the salvation of the world of Salustra. Do not underestimate them.


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1 comment:

  1. An intriguing and captivating review. thanks. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com


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