Forsaken Talisman
by Ashleigh Raine, paranormal (2009)
Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 978-1-60504-483-5

Forsaken Talisman is a revised edition of the story of the same title that was previously published by Ellora's Cave back in 2004. If you are new to the series, please read my review of the previous book in the series, Lover's Talisman, to get the background details on the Shadow Walkers and all. In fact, I'd recommend that you read the previous book first before tackling this one, because the same villain is back and as a result, there are many references to events in the previous book as well as appearances by many characters with preexisting relationships.

We are back in Talisman Bay about three months after the previous story, and once again the big bad villain, David "Craze" Strickland, is trying to cause trouble. Dusty Clements, our Shadow Walker hero, has his work cut out for him because Craze is like the anti-Bruce Wayne: he's the villain who has fooled everyone but our good guys into believing that he's just a carefree easy-going millionaire. I'm skipping over a lot of details here, because it's a long story, so let me just say that the good guys discover that Craze has found another poor woman to torment. When they rescue this woman, she turns out to be a dead ringer for Mariah, the heroine of the previous story. What is going on here?

Again, let me tell you guys: read the previous book before you tackle this one. You will save yourself a lot of effort trying to figure out what is going on here. There is a love triangle of sorts here, a subplot-cum-romance involving two secondary characters that first showed up in the previous story, and plenty of twists and turns that will make no sense if you are new to the series.

I find the story more interesting than the romance between Skylar and Dusty. Dusty and Skylar's romance isn't as well developed as I'd have liked, and rather oddly, Skylar's relationship with the Tracker named Adrian feels far more heartfelt and poignant than her relationship with Dusty. Likewise, the secondary romance of sort between Twyla and poor Freeze feels much more well-developed and memorable than the main romance as well. Skylar is a more interesting heroine than Mariah despite the similarities in their physical appearances due to her more intriguing story as well as her interactions with the various characters in the story. But poor Dusty, he remains an underwritten typical action hero bloke.

Even if the story is far more interesting than the romance, I feel disappointed when the revelations begin to arrive. Not that I want to go too much into them since I don't want to spoil the story, so let me just say that the revelations turn out to be standard Special Heroine Drama stuff. Not that I am hoping for a sequel to the Clone Wars or something, but I wish the revelations aren't so mundane and clichéd.

Still, this is a pretty interesting and entertaining story while it lasts. Just read the previous book first.

Rating: 82

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