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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Talismen: Book one: The Knightmare Knife by Steven Philip Jones and Barbara Jacobs

Talismen: Book one: The Knightmare Knife by Steven Philip Jones and Barbara Jacobs
Publisher: Mundania Press LLC
Genre: Action/Adventure, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Age Recommendation: 12+
Length: Full Length (179 pgs)
Rating: 5 suns
Reviewed by Orchid

Colin Sinclair, Reggie Sinclair, Ollie Steele, and Timmy Shannon have never had a dream in their lives, but on their twelfth birthday they share the same nightmare about a vicious dragon and a mysterious orange-haired girl.

The next day strange things begin happening to the boys. Monsters appear in school water fountains. A hellhound prowls city streets. And a green man dressed in gold stalks the boys. Danger is suddenly everywhere and it is closing in all around them. Fast.

Talismen: The Knightmare Knife is the first in a series of illustrated Young Adult fantasy adventures that follows Colin, Reggie, Ollie and Timmy -- four boys from Earth -- as they discover they are exiles from the Plain of Imaginings, the land where all dreams and nightmares come from. With the help of a dream warrior name Pratt and his young daughter Jennifer, the four exiles must find their talisman, magical objects that can protect the exiles from the green man, who has a dark and secret need for vengeance. Pratt and Jennifer also hope to guide the boys to a great destiny IF they can master their talismans. For instance, Colin must master a knife that assaults his mind with nightmarish images each time he draws it. Images that include the recent murder of Colin’s father by a mugger with a knife.

Another land. A crystal city. A fire breathing dragon.

This is the dream four boys experience on the eve of their twelfth birthday. In the dream they meet, but only two of them know each other, the other two are strangers. Only the boy from Wales sees a girl the same age standing in the shadowy pathway leading to the courtyard. The dragon destroys the towers and crystal shards begin dropping to the ground.

Then they all wake up.

Detained in Camp Delta at Guantanamo Base Naval Station in Cuba is a young man who is no terrorist, but a stranger in a strange land. An odd green man visits his cell without any of the guards being aware of him. When he leaves he takes the young man with him.

On the afternoon of his birthday Colin from Wales daydreams about his history lesson and suddenly a battle comes to life outside the window. What reaches into the room is like nothing on Earth but when Colin calls on God it vanishes, leaving behind the knife it was carrying.

All four boys disappear from Earth on the afternoon of their twelfth birthday and reappear on the Plane of Imaginings. Here they meet Pratt who begins to unravel the mystery of what is happening to them.

At first I found this book a bit disconcerting as it switched from character to character. This soon passed and the story began to get its hooks into me. Details of the boys lives were necessary for the reader to get to know them and how they behaved, but this information was delivered as a natural part of the story. Each revelation peeled back like a layer being stripped from a parcel. The intrigue kept me reading as I wondered what was going to happen next.

As the first book in the Talismen Series, The Knightmare Knife will have you waiting eagerly for the next instalment of the series. The book sets up the storyline for the series without giving away any of the abundant mystery which is on virtually every page. A true fantasy, but with a difference. This fantasy relies on aliens, magic and a strange land rather than ogres, elves and the like.

By the end of the book I was looking forward eagerly to the next one, wondering if the hints provided in The Knightmare Knife would come to fruition or would the story take an unexpected turn.

Definitely a story of adventure and fantasy for readers of any age. Give this book to your twelve year old or older child on a rainy afternoon as an alternative to computer games. You'll be surprised how engrossed they will become once they start reading.

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