Monday, 21 September 2015

The Divine Talisman - Eldon Thompson


When Torin, the young king of Alson, drew the Crimson Sword from the ruins of Thrak Symbos, he had know idea what he would unleash upon the world. Like his friends, like every living soul, he had no idea that the ancient talisman was a key, a key that held the insidious illysp trapped in the desolate void between universes. The monsters that seeped through the unlocked doorway were more terrible than anyone could imagine and steal the bodies of the recently deceased. The illysp enslave the very soul of their coil and use it to perform acts of unspeakable cruelty.

Torin left Alson to seek the last vestiges of the Finlorian Elves, the people who had first unleashed this horror and then locked them away. But his quest, as noble as it was, failed and Torin returned to the shores of Alson without the answers he sought. He returned to his capital city in the midst of a coup led by his chief general, a coup in which cost him more than just his crown. Alson was left as broken as the other nations of Pentatia, having no way to defeat the illysp swarms that are bearing against them.

Starving, afraid and beaten, the ever dwindling numbers of humanity forget old banners and country borders. They group together, accepting help from races they once shunned to resist the illysp. Attack after attack wears them down and their own soldiers rise against on the battlefields after being killed. Worse still, a new leader of the illysp has risen. Known as the Boundless One, this leader recognises the power in Mount Krakken, of possessing the very dragon that Allion and Kylac Kronus had so valiantly slain less than a year ago . . .

The Good
Eldon Thompson has finished The Legend of Asahiel off with a stunning book that is the best in the series yet! The story is fast paced and harrowing, filled with epic battles that only grow in scale as humanity is worn down by weakness, despair and lack of numbers. It's a true story of humankind fighting to save its its very right to exist and leaves little to be desired.

Furthermore, Thompson has finally corrected many of the little 'bugs' that annoyed me in the earlier books. Despite being fictional soul-enslaving spirits, his antagonists seem much more real then they have previously and no longer 'smirk' and 'snigger' at the evil things they do. His writing makes them seem much more like beasts in The Divine Talisman, which I think makes them all the scarier. His protagonists, too, have improved. You might remember me saying that they are too weak and docile in the earlier books and the horrors they have lived through had not really affected them in any way. His main characters are finally beginning to be changed by their suffering, growing colder and losing hope. As well as adding a realistic depth to them that the earlier instalments of the series was lacking, Thompson has clearly had a lot of fun delving into this and it adds an interesting aspect to the story.

Thompson has also introduced a number of new story arcs and PoV characters into the book, which helps to invigorate the story and allows him to come to a satisfying conclusion to both the book and the series as a whole, which he might have struggled to do plausibly otherwise.

The Bad
There isn't really much to criticise about this book and Thompson has really found his feet as a writer, producing a story of interesting characters, exciting events and a good pace, all on an epic scale of world disaster!

My Thoughts
The Divine Talisman is a fantastic end to a pretty good fantasy series. It's exciting, full of battles and has pages that burst with magic! It's a great example of what fantasy can be when it's done well and concludes The Legend of Asahiel nicely, while leaving it open for his characters to feature in sequels.

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