*Talisman of El by Alecia Stone


One Planet.

Two Worlds.

Population: Human ... 7 billion.
Others ... unknown.

When 14-year-old Char­lie Blake wakes up sweat­ing and gasp­ing for air in the mid­dle of the night, he knows it is hap­pen­ing again. This time he wit­nesses a bru­tal mur­der. He's afraid to tell any­one. No one would believe him ... because it was a dream. Just like the one he had four years ago - the day before his dad died.

Char­lie doesn't know why this is hap­pen­ing. He would give any­thing to have an ordi­nary life. The prob­lem: he doesn't belong in the world he knows as home.

He belongs with the others.

The thing that I noticed immediately was how much dialogue was in the story. I do not know why this stood out for me. I normally pay attention to the dialogue as it brings through most of the humor and a way for me to really get to know the characters. But I noticed that this particular story is told more in dialogue than anything else. Which is not a bad thing.
The reader is introduced to Charlie and how he does not feel like he fits in. He knows there is something different about him and possibly more out there. He suffers from nightmares and living with his adoptive family, he is bullied inside and outside of his home by his new family members and schoolmates. Eventually through different events that take place, he ends up bonding with a group of friends, together gaining the knowledge of a place called Arcadia, deep within the Earth's core.
They decide that they must go on this adventure together.
All of these events I could see building up and was expecting something more to happen next, but never in my life after reading the blurb and beginning this book did I imagine it would become a battle between Angels and Demons. The idea that part of the story takes place in the hidden lands beneath our feet was a very unique spin. One of the boys that Charlie befriends, Derkein is also an unusual guy, he is 26 but looks 60 and continuing to age faster than others every day.
I though that the world that they discover and the creatures and myths and rules that come along with this story was an amazing read. I loved reading as they had to overcome some of these weird animals, and finding Eden. Everything has to be done in a certain time frame and with all of these distractions it becomes a very intense and fantastical adventure. I wish that I could have stayed longer in the world of Arcadia.
I cannot say that I really had a favorite character in the story. I think that was partially because of the writing style, all of the characters showed an equal role to the story. Although their tasks could not be completed without Charlie and what he finds out he is, each and every character is just as unique and an integral part of the story that I had a hard time liking any of them over another.
At 364 pages, and once I got into the story I was hoping for more of it to be focused on Charlie's big task, but I find that I feel this way a lot in the first book in series, that of course we need to get introduced to the characters, the world and the plot before more of the adventures can take place. I struggled with whether I wanted to rate it 3 or 4 stars, it was an enjoyable read and I am going to continue to see where the next story goes.

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