Monday, March 31, 2008

Book Review: The Talisman Unsealed by David R. Ples

Every Monday, I'll be doing spoiler-free, bite sized book reviews.

Ples is reminiscent of Christopher Paolini in the sense that he's self-publishing his own fantasy novel and wrote it before he was even legal (the book claims that it was written when he was thirteen). So how does The Talisman Unsealed really fare? Ples's writing is more or less clean, although the book could have been helped by some minor copy editing (a few grammatical errors, error in formatting, etc.). The real weakness of the book is its overall approach. For one thing, the protagonists travel around the world and through time but these travels are superficial. Most of the people they meet or the setting they're situated remains the same. The second is the abrupt cropping up of the Filipino heritage of one of the characters (and the sudden use of Tagalog) during the last fourth of the book. This could have been seeded earlier and Ples manages such a feat with two other characters in the book so it's not really a question of the author's capability to do so. Third is the choice to portray the main villain as a silly and comedic overlord and shows few examples as to why he is evil, or what the consequences are for failing to stop him. Fourth, Ples also needs to work on his use of adjectives as the words "evil" are utilized too much, especially when describing physical features. What Ples excels in is his kinetic use of dialogue and this is evident in the early parts of the book as several pages are dedicated to conversations between the various characters. As for whether the book is appropriate reading for you (or your children), the question you have to ask is whether you enjoy a formulaic story with stereotypical characters and a plot similar to video games like Final Fantasy. The author in my opinion shows potential (considering his age) but as for The Talisman Unsealed itself, it is sub-par fare.

Rating: 1.5/5.

Rating System:

1 - There are better ways to spend your time.
2 - Ho hum books, usually typical of its genre. Probably only recommendable to die-hard fans.
3 - A cut above the rest, usually with one or more elements that sets it apart from the norm.
4 - Highly recommended and is easily a pioneer of the genre.
5 - A classic or it will be.


Sean said...

I suppose that it's good to see younger and younger writers hitting the publishing scene nowadays, but sometimes I wonder if the novelty of their youth is supposed to outstrip the quality of their text.

Anonymous said...

Read this months ago and was very disappointed with it. Yes, the boy was thirteen when he wrote it. So? Is this what they're looking for nowadays? Young writers as opposed to quality fiction? I've read stories written by writers near his age group that are better. And none of them have tried publishing.

Potential? I'm sorry, but I don't see any.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you guys must have masters degrees in literary criticism. Imagine, to be able to declare whether or not a person has potential---geesh. Please indicate your credentials to do such kind of reviews!!!! Even God is not so sweepingly judgemental!!!

Anonymous said...

Jeez, he was a kid, don't be so hard on him. :|