Talismans is a clean adult high fantasy book that is the first in a series. Lisa Lowell back wrote her books to give the backstory to a lot of the characters from her earlier published books. This is the beginning of the story with Owailion and Raimi, who have been transported to the Land as adults without memories of their previous lives. The Land is being tended by dragons who, will soon go into a deep sleep and leave the Land to the humans. This Adam and Eve style story has explicit religious overtones and fun world building (literally) magic.
I really feel like Lisa Lowell did a great job of building her physical world. The descriptions were easy to picture and beautifully written, but not so overly done as to bog down the story. I was able to follow the location of things despite all the places (I am horrible at directions so this is saying a lot). I loved the dragons. They were fun and wise and added a distinct magical feel to the story.
I found the magic system to be a bit confusing since they seemed super powered, and then would randomly seem bound by rules. I would have liked a bit more foreshadowing of the rules of magic. Also, I was a little put off by the fact that Owailion would always dive into Raimi’s personal thoughts to figure out what was wrong with her without abandon, but I don’t remember Raimi ever once doing that to Owailion. It felt like a very one sided invasion of privacy in that sense.
I liked that Raimi came with insecurities that ended up playing into the themes of the overall story. It made the ending all the more poignant. Emotionally, I would have liked more of a balance between Raimi and Owailion to make them feel more equal. It was clear that Raimi had all the problems and Owailion was the man there to comfort and protect her. Although, this strangely served to make the ending a bit more satisfying.
The plot started out a bit slow, but the author notes this in her book description so that you are aware that is the case. It begins to pick up about halfway through, and gets more and more engaging from there. I feel like there were parts that were very cleverly done in how they find solutions to the ‘Name magic’ problems. (ie. using name magic to control people).
There were some grammatical mistakes. I am not one to notice a few grammatical mistakes, but there were enough in this book to trip me up a few times and have to stop and reread sentences.
As someone who is not a huge fan of fated stories, I found this one intriguing and well done. The dragons were fun, the climax intriguing, the ending poignant, and the descriptions beautiful. If you like religious based fantasy, then this would be a great book to check out!
Rocked from his cave by explosions, Owailion emerges with profound amnesia and comes face to face with Mohan, an enormous, powerful dragon. Owailion becomes an apprentice to the dragons, gifted with magic and charged with protecting the land from destructive intruders. And he must do this alone. Soon, Owailion begins having mysterious visions – and discovers that the realm’s precious runestones have been stolen. The first of the Wise Ones novels, Talismans explores Owailion’s quest to recover the irreplaceable artifacts from demons and destroyers, as he learns that even limitless powers cannot change fate. Aided by a mysterious woman from his dreams and impeded by a deceitful sorcerer, will Owailion thwart the thief – and discover a way to bring the Wise Ones to power?
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*Available in Spanish
Listen to Talismans on Audible.