Home > children's book, fiction > The Talisman Of Elam: Jim Mastro

The Talisman Of Elam: Jim Mastro

A boy and his two friends…
a spaceship buried in the woods…
an ancient talisman hidden halfway across the galaxy…
and the fate of all mankind hanging in the balance.

The Talisman of Elam (The Children of Hathor) gets off to a very slow start. The text is weighed down by exposition and mundane detail, and although it’s an easy enough read its first thirty pages or so failed to engage me. If I’d seen this in a bookshop its lacklustre back cover copy and opening would not have tempted me to buy it.

The writing improves significantly once it’s past that slow opening but by then, of course, it’s too late. There are other problems with it too: I found a number of contradictions, a few minor plot-points which were much too obvious and were made far too much of; several out-of-character reactions; and far too many incongruencies which pulled me right out of the plot.

It’s a shame, as this book is better than most of the ones I review here; but being almost good enough isn’t enough.

If I were editing this book I’d suggest that the writer dropped most of those slow pages which begin the book, and then that he should rewrite it all paying particular attention to pace and authenticity. This would involve paring the text down by a significant amount and working out how to advance the plot without reliance on coincidence; but a good writer could do that without too much trouble and this book would be much better for it. I read eighty-seven out of this book’s three hundred and thirteen pages, but don’t feel inclined to read any further.

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  1. July 7, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    Jane, are you receiving hard or electronic copies of these books? Just curious.

    I have a question for you, if you don’t mind answering. Is it common practice for book publishers or authors to send copies to reviewers that are NOT the final draft? I’m very frustrated by the typos in the book I’m currently reviewing, and the publisher has stated that it has not yet been copy edited. This has also been the case with the other books I’ve been asked to review.

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