Shiloh Wallace spells her name with a ‘y’ instead of an ‘i,’ not because she’s shy, but just to be different. She has few friends, beyond her dad, his best friend, Samuel, his blind secretary, Bea, and her best friend forever, Katie. Life in Welch, West Virginia is boring for 17-year-old Shiloh who is anxious to turn 18 and finally graduate from high school so she can leave Welch in the coal dust. Then, she starts to have strange dreams and experience strange things, especially when the strange man, Lazarus comes to town with plans to buy the man where he daddy works. When she touches the stranger, she learns an even stranger thing, she can read thoughts of people when she touches them. As if that’s not strange enough, the oddball geology professor who came to town with Lazarus, when she finds him sneaking around Shiloh Ridge, informs her that she’s not really ‘human.’ She’s a Talisman, a strange race of supernatural being who can channel awesome powers through stones. Okay, do I have you attention? Good, because it only gets better—or worse depending upon your point of view—from that point. Shiloh quickly finds herself in a life or death struggle with other Talismans who want to kill her because she’s the heir to the most powerful item on earth.
Talisman by S. E. Akers is a refreshing paranormal story, with lots of humor, a ton of teen angst—did I mention that Shiloh’s mom hates her and her kid sister thinks she’s been put on earth only to serve as her handmaiden. Add a town bully, son of the mine owner, and the usual complement of high school harridans, and Shiloh doesn’t really need angry Talismans trying to poison her or rip her throat out. But she has all that, and precious little time to learn to harness her powers, because not only is her life at stake, but so are the lives of the few people she cares about and the survival of the whole town. If Shiloh can’t learn to control the diamond wand—yeah, and you thought diamonds were a girl’s best friend, right?—it’s curtains.
What can I say—you’ll enjoy this book. The dialogue is authentic without becoming insulting or corny, and the action is riveting. My hat’s off to the author for writing a YA s tory that an old graybeard like me could read without concealing it behind a ‘Sport’s Illustrated.’
I give this one four stars.