Title: The Emerald Talisman
Author: Brenda Pandos
Published: March 2010
Source: Won from author
Synopsis from Goodreads:To be normal, sixteen-year-old Julia Parker would shed her empathic gift in a second. Life has been difficult since her mother's mysterious disappearance ten years earlier - an event she witnessed, but can't remember. Julia's situation becomes more complicated after a near death experience from a blood thirsty stalker. As high school students go missing it is clear there is a connection to her own experience--past and present. Someone has to stop the madness and a chance encounter with a creepy psychic foretells that only Julia is the key to stopping the madness, but it may require the life of the one she loves.
The Emerald Talisman was an interesting take on vampires, though not completely original. There were quite a few things that I thought were quite parallel to Twilight, though I suppose that's a hard comparison to avoid in vampire books nowadays. I guess that it helps that I liked Twilight too.
Julia was a very interesting main character. She had the gift of empathy, which means that she can sense the feelings of those around her. I've never read a book where the main character had that ability, so it was very interesting learning about it. Nicholas was the main love interest, and made things interesting. He showed up, saved her life, then was rude and cold toward her. His secret isn't what you're thinking, but it's interesting.
The vampires in the story are there, but they aren't the main attraction. They have some stereotypical features, and then some not so stereotypical features, which kept the book fresh. The imagery in this book is gorgeous. I always knew what things and people looked like, and I could easily see most of it in my mind.
I felt that Julia's friends weren't very well developed, and could have had a larger role. We are introduced to about five friends in the first scenes, but then they are barely in the rest. This made for confusion when they had a reappearance. Another thing that annoyed me was how fast Julia had feelings for Nicholas. I did like how she realized that she was being ridiculous though.
Overall I thought that this book was very enjoyable, and I'm looking forward to the next in the series!
Overall: 42/50 B (4 stars)Title/Cover Comments: The emerald talisman is relevant to the story, and the cover is appropriately creepy. The colors work well together.