Author: Brenda Pandos
Published by: Obsidian Mountain Publishing
Source: Obtained free from Amazon (12/27/2011)
Rating: 2.5 stars
Summary 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 started out with so much promise. In fact, I flew through the first third of the book. The writing was good, the plot enticing, and the characters quirky and fun. Then for some reason it changed for me. It didn't hold my attention or feel like anything that was extra special. It turned into one of those novels that you feel like you've already read.
Julia has led a hard life and it just got more crazy. She did seem caring and used the gift of empathy to help her friends, instead of using it to her advantage. I'm not sure how much she would call it a gift, but it seemed to help her out at times as much as it was a burden. I liked Julia, but felt she was a bit obsessive and was annoyingly stubborn at times which put not only herself, but others at risk. She didn't think very clearly and instead acted on emotions alone. This is not someone I'd like in my corner when facing blood thirsty stalkers.
The story was good, but not very original and it got a bit weird at the end. A lot of major events happen at the end without any real explanation. The conflict of this story did get resolved, but I think Brenda Pandos also used this novel to set up her next in the series by leaving the readers with some major questions.
While it wasn't my favorite read, I still think I'll check out the next in the series to see if some of those questions get answered.