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Shadows of the Realm: The Circle of Talia (Volume 1)
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Top Customer Reviews
The characters are superbly delineated, and the action is realistic and intriguing. A good balance is achieved between destiny and free will in the lives of the characters, an effect not always managed in fantasy stories. The world-building is also very accomplished. In fact, I encourage readers to keep an eye on author Dionne Lister and anticipate, as I am, the next installments in The Circle of Talia series.
The book centers around a secret group called Realmists, possessed of magical powers who are sworn to protect their world, Talia, from the evil race that exists in another realm. This race once lived on Talia and were banished, but are determined to return.
The book contains a surprising variety of characters, ranging from teenagers through to adults and magicians of advanced age. And of course the dragons, who in this case are portrayed as being on the side of the realm. The dragon characterisation is fascinating. The words used to draw a picture of their intelligence, strength, and their nature are so powerful that the reader has absolutely no difficulty in accepting them as part of the world we are drawn into. Equally the human characters are drawn as individuals, each with their own backgrounds, faults, opinions and reactions. Again it makes it very easy to find yourself drawn into their world.
Realmists can bond with one selected animal, a creatura, and even these are well drawn with a great variety of animals used. I found it a pleasant surprise to be able to read about , as it were, familiars who range from rats to panthers. Another pleasant surprise is the way that the Creatura's point of view is also presented.
All through the book I felt an odd sense of familiarity. I could not pin down why at first, it was not that I had seen the plot or any major plot devices used before. Some elements of the world drawn can be found in other fantasy novels, for example familiars, but that was not it either. In the end I simply had to conclude that it was due to the way the writing drew me in and made me feel a part of the book from start to finish.
Shadows of the Realm is also the first book in the Circle of Talia fantasy series. It's important to know that going in because you're not going to get any resolution at the end of this book, just some major cliffhangers. The other thing to be aware of is that this is designated as a Young Adult book so that gives you an idea of the target audience the author is going for.
The basic story here is familiar ground for fantasy fans. We've got a world in peril from a hideous evil that is returning from banishment. We've got magic, dragons and a couple of teenagers with a somewhat mysterious background who will play a key role in saving the world of Talia. Nothing particularly original, but there's nothing wrong with it either. Some of my favorite fantasy stories growing up were things like the Shannara series by Terry Brooks and The Belgariad by David Eddings.
Where I feel Lister stumbles a little is in the pacing and the narrative focus. There are a lot of characters and some just appear out of nowhere as it were a hundred pages into the book. That makes it harder to get attached to anyone because things are moving around so much.
Additionally while clearly there is significant peril, we really don't feel it for a very long time. We get told how dangerous things are and how important to get places it is. But none of the events we see along the way really connect together. It's all a little distant.
It's really not until the last third of the book than things kick into gear and we start to see real peril for the protagonists.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This trilogy is very well written, full of action, and the world created by the author is awesome! It's really worth to read, and the reason I gave 4 stars is due to a lack of... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Fábio S.
It took a while to get the various sub stories in line but became very interesting. I can easily imagine where they are. The writing is very descriptive.Published 15 months ago by Jackie Baker
Good reading. Almost simplistic. At times can be bordering.but overall interesting.Published 16 months ago by easlygary
A wonderful tale that is beautifully written. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an exciting read. Truly marvellous.Published 19 months ago by Raji Fernando
Interesting read, not my usual pick, (Brought because of the name Talia; my granddaughter's name). will read the rest of the series eventually,Published 21 months ago by SandyC
The story has a lot of potential and it is well written. However I felt this first book was very slow, had little action and did not make me excited to continue the read. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Amazon Customer