Talisman Of El

Arcadia, Book 1

Young Adult - Fantasy - General
385 Pages
Reviewed on 10/11/2020
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Al Stone is the author of the Arcadia Saga (YA Fantasy). After graduating with a BA in Film & Television, Al worked in the television industry for a brief period before a disabling injury led to a pursuit in storytelling. Talisman Of El is Al's debut novel. The sequels Blackout and Ground Zero are currently available for sale.

At present, Al lives in England, United Kingdom.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite

The first book in Al Stone’s Arcadia Saga, Talisman of El will grip you at the very beginning. Fourteen-year-old Charlie Blake often has nightmares, but he never had one that makes him wake up sweating, clutching his chest, and catching his breath. Visions of long ago, danger, and death infest his sleep, and they appear real. In one of his gruesome dreams, he witnesses a murder, and he struggles to contain it out of fear that no one would believe him, as it only happened in a dream. As he tries to make sense of his nightmare, he will encounter Derkein Odessa, a mysterious man who is aging prematurely and in possession of a talisman. Together, they will search for the mysterious land of Arcadia. Charlie will soon discover that his life is anything but ordinary.

Talisman of El is a wonderful initial offering for a promising new series. The story draws inspiration from mysticism and biblical allusions. The prologue sets the mood for your page-turning journey as it shows Derkein and his father being attacked by unseen dark forces, then it jumps into the first chapter with Charlie having nightmares. Al Stone effectively ends most of the chapters with cliffhangers, which induces your curiosity to keep on reading. In young adult fiction, the young hero battling external forces while battling his own demons is a common trope. However, this book gives it a balance. Charlie may operate in a world of bullies, thieves, and supernatural forces, but he is also blessed with faithful allies that keep him on his feet. Consider adding the Arcadia Saga on your list of series to read.

Lit Amri

In Talisman of El: Arcadia, Book 1 by Al Stone, Charlie Blake is an orphan who lost his mother at childbirth, then lost his father when he was aged ten. Because of his strangeness - being plagued by nightmares, terrible visions of the future, and his inability to stay out of trouble - Charlie has been bouncing from one foster home to another. Things start to look up when he’s adopted by Jacob Willoughby. However, Jacob is not what he appears to be, and when he finds an injured Derkein Odessa, Charlie discovers the mystical secret of the Talisman of El.

Author Al Stone introduces readers to a world coexisting with our own, called Arcadia. I like the distinctive concept of the world-building, particularly the different levels of angels. It was somewhat puzzling at first, as there was a lot of information to take in, which made the story start slowly. Nevertheless, the imaginative world of Arcadia gradually connects and the Arcadians themselves are interesting, perhaps a bit more than the protagonists.

For me, it’s a tale with some blend of love, faith, metaphysical mystery, theology, and mythology nicely visualized by Stone with some staggering environments and expressive characters. The ending gives a clear hint of a sequel without being too much of a cliffhanger. All in all, if you’re YA reader who likes your fantasy novel to be intricate with ingenious world-building and adventure, there should be a lot in Talisman of El to keep you engaged.

Ruffina Oserio

Talisman of El by Al Stone is the first book in the Arcadia series and an enjoyable story for fans of young adult fantasy. The story follows fourteen-year-old Charlie Blake who has just moved to Windermere Drive and has experienced a disturbing dream again. Jolting up in bed and sweating in the middle of the night. Even the dark garden and the still lake have nothing to show when he looks through the window. But these are not mere dreams. They are premonitions of something awful, so when he witnesses a brutal murder in his sleep, he knows it is real, just like the dream he had four years before the death of his father. So, who is he? Where does he really come from? What is his mission? Follow this young protagonist as he walks a dangerous path to unravel the mystery about himself.

Talisman of El is an imaginative story that will appeal to fans of I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore. The story features a protagonist who is young and who comes to a new environment and starts school but soon begins to experience strange happenings. From being in a group home to finding a new home with Jacob Willoughby to encountering characters like Alex, Richmond, the kid who robs homes, and many others, Al Stone paints an ordinary world where kids evolve, and this renders the story realistic. Al Stone writes well and the plot has many characters and plot points. The worldbuilding is fantastically executed and the imaginative character of the story, exploring two worlds, offers an exciting adventure. Overall, Talisman of El is an enjoyable read, thanks to the author’s handling of character and the impeccable worldbuilding.

Christian Sia

Talisman of El is the first book in the Arcadia series by Al Stone, and it is a gripping young adult fantasy, featuring a well-developed protagonist. Fourteen-year-old Charlie Blake lives in this world, but he is not of this world. And he still hasn’t figured it out. That is until he wakes up in the middle of the night soaked in sweat after a disturbing dream. And it just isn’t a dream. He had had a similar dream four years ago, a day before his father died. This time, he witnesses a vicious murder in his dream. He knows that something is seriously wrong — with himself or the world. Follow this young protagonist as he slowly understands who he is and a mission he never asked for, facing enemies from the mythical world.

This is an enjoyable story with fascinating characters. Al Stone introduces readers to the key conflict of the story right off the bat — it is the conflict of identity. Readers encounter a seemingly ordinary boy who goes to school with his friends and does fun stuff like confronting the bad guys but who gradually begins to understand that there is a parallel world, inhabited by strange and dangerous creatures. As the story progresses, he gets into more danger. The suspense is very strong as I wanted to see the young protagonist understand the full extent of his powers and what is ultimately awaiting him. There are other interesting characters, like Derkein, that are deftly written. The author explores the relationships between the protagonist and his friends and with the world around him so skillfully. Talisman of El is a good story; it is filled with adventure and features beautiful writing and likable characters. One of those books I will read again.