In The Talisman of Elam, Jim Mastro has put together a story of adventure and suspense, a tale that can only be dreamed of. The story is strong and bold, delivering an impression of realism, with characters that walk right off the pages. Jason has to grow up quickly, and he steps up and takes the challenge. Kevin is bright and very much into gaming, and with his background he is able to guide the space ship through dangerous situations, saving the group on several occasions. Amanda, with her background in languages, is very adaptable and picks up new languages easier, but is also the most human, wanting to be home, while the boys are enjoying the situations as they occur.
Shalan starts out as an unknown, and while she is still very introspective throughout the first part of the book, when she finally breaks out of her shell she is courageous and very intelligent. She knows the information that will be needed, and when she is injured and almost killed, it takes everything that Jason, Kevin and Amanda have to keep her alive. She is their only link to both where they are going as well as their homes on earth and they need her.
The pace is quick and flowing, with strange and unique individuals, different and dangerous travel, and an exciting type of magic, which is imbued only to the owner of the Talisman.
This is a great young adult book, but with a strong story for anyone that is an enthusiast of science fiction. This is a first in the series of this young group of travelers, and I look forward to hearing more about them.