MetalMagic: Talisman by Derek Donais

Posted by on Oct 11, 2014 in Alberta, Book Reviews | 0 comments

MetalMagic TalismanSummary: In a land containing a metal that allows certain people to do magic, siblings Jaren and Morgaine are both convinced magical skills will be what gets them off the farm where they live with their parents. But while Morgaine has the talent to use Metanduil, Jaren seems to have no such talent. When the siblings have a run-in with a rich girl from town though, they must leave their home quickly. What they don’t know is that a Warwitch who has gone so far as to inject the metal into her skin is trying to take over the land, and Jaren and Morgaine may be the only ones who can stop her. Turns out Jaren can’t use the metal to perform magic because he is one of the rare people who was born able to do magic without it. The question is, will the allure of power prove too much for the siblings to handle, or will they be able to stop the Warwitch in her tracks?

Number of Pages: 272

Age Range: 14-16

Review: In the fight between the Truth and the Deceiver, who will be victorious? MetalMagic: Talisman by Derek Donais is the first in a trilogy that explores good and evil, and the personal decision each person must make to live in the Truth or be ruled by the Deceiver. Perhaps a bit heavy handed morally at times, Donais creates a fantasy world that uses magic with real and relatable characters.

There’s a lot going on in Donais’ book. Sibling rivalry, philosophical musings about right and wrong, learning how to be a leader at a young age, and all of this is on top of a society ruled by a monarchy and those who can perform magic. The good guys follow the Truth, and those obsessed with magic and power have given themselves over to the Deceiver.

I love the relationship between Morgaine and Jaren because it’s complex. Jaren believes he doesn’t possess any magical talent and is jealous of his sister’s ability, but then it turns out he is so rare someone like him hasn’t been born in a thousand years and his natural magical ability is something Morgaine envies. The comparison between how they both handle their power is intriguing, and I quite enjoyed the exploration of power as a corrupting force.

It may sound odd, but my favourite characters were Ver and the Warwitch. Ver because he’s a mentor and a protector, helping Jaren process what’s going on and his talents. He builds him up, and as a result Jaren makes better decision and is able to hang on to what is important in his life without letting his unique gifts go completely to his head.

The Warwitch fascinated me as a villain. Injecting herself with the metal so she can have her power amplified and access it all of the time is extreme but shows how the power has gotten to her. I can only imagine how angry she must have been that Jaren was born with a talent she had to go through so much pain to possess herself. By the end it is questionable whether she survived her encounter with Jaren or not, so I am interested to see what the next book has in store.

I was engaged in the world Donais has created, and would recommend this book as a Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes alternative for guys.

Memorable Quotes:

“Ver simply smiled and chuckled anew. ‘The True One doesn’t want to interfere more than is absolutely necessary. You have to find the answers for yourselves. I’m just here for a while to help you on your way, while the odds are stacked against you.’


‘That’s not encouraging, either. So, you could just disappear if you feel we’re no longer at a disadvantage?’ She got another elbow. This time, Iselle returned the favour. ‘Jaren Haldannon, you cut that out. I’ll ask whatever questions I want. I’m not altogether happy about being caught up in what amounts to a pieces match between good and evil.’ She glared at Ver. ‘Why don’t you just go and wipe them all out? You said yourself, the True One has unlimited power.’


Jaren gaped at her, astonished at the girl’s brazen words.


Again, Ver merely smiled. ‘I wish it were that simple young one. I truly do. But, while the Deceiver’s power is more limited, it is potent nonetheless. As long as he has people willing to sacrifice themselves for him, willing to take up his twisted cause, he cannot be utterly defeated.'” – Conversation between Ver and Iselle from MetalMagic: Talisman by Derek Donais

“He would apologize to Iselle as soon as they were free, he promised himself, to her and to his sister. Of late, he had spent too long in isolated self-pity. He was actually beginninf to feel homesick. Jaren suppressed a laugh at the irony of it. Perhaps it was best he had no summoning talent, if little more than a week’s absence from home made him yearn for the life he’d left behind. Perhaps it was best to admit the truth and move on.


In any event, his adventure was turning out to be nothing like what he had envisioned – all they’d been doing was running: running to Mother Haddie’s running to Ensin Llaw, and, now, running again – to wherever. Maybe the promise of a farmer’s life – predictable and hard, yet safe – was not so bad.” – Jaren from MetalMagic: Talisman by Derek Donais

“‘Fear is one thing. Panic is another. It doesn’t allow you to think things through rationally, you just act. Remaining calm enough… well, you’ll see. You’ve done well.'” – Ver giving Jaren a pep talk from MetalMagic: Talisman by Derek Donais

“Could you wander from the Truth unwittingly? If so, what were the signs that it was happening? He shuddered involuntarily with the picture of Morgaine’s face back in the clearing days ago, twisted with dark pleasure, and then thought of his own path, just begun. Which way was Morgaine headed at present? Obviously, the magic had an allure, a draw that was deeply tempting. He’d felt it himself. He’d even felt the yearning for it before he discovered his abilities. It was the pull that had caused him so much grief over the past months. But he knew it now, all the same. How could you handle such power and remain true?” – Jaden from MetalMagic: Talisman by Derek Donais

“Ver smiled. ‘Remember our discussions, Jaren. Remember that the choices you make, and the reasons you make them, shape your destiny. Remember your free will.’ He placed his hand on Jaren’s shoulder. ‘And remember, what the True One has made is supposed to bring balance and unity, not anger, fear, or revenge. Do not fear what is yours to use. Only beware the ends to which it is turned, and know the means will truly determine the outcome.'” Ver giving Jaren another pep talk from MetalMagic: Talisman by Derek Donais

MetalMagic: Talisman by Derek Donais is published by Wheatmark, (2010).

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