Monday, January 26, 2015

Rick Brant #24 Magic Talisman and Final Thoughts

In Rick Brant #24, The Magic Talisman, Scotty becomes reacquainted with some old friends he knew from the Marines, Derek and David Cameron, who are magicians.  The Camerons set up their magic act in an old mansion.  Their first performance is manipulated by an unknown person, so Rick and Scotty investigate.  Adding to the mystery, Jan senses a friendly presence in the mansion as well as an unfriendly one near the mansion.

I have mixed feelings about the plot.  The magic talisman's properties bother me, since I am not convinced that the talisman would have done as much as the book depicted and not so easily.  I had to ignore how I felt about the talisman.

In the early chapters of the book, I thought that the presence that Jan felt was a ghost.  I then realized that she was sensing a living person who was hidden in the mansion.  I wish that had been more clear, and I would have had less trouble with it.  I am very skeptical about the existence of ghosts.  I do not have a problem with a person sensing that more is present than is visible.

I know from personal experience that it is possible to know something that has not yet happened.  I have one instance in my life where I knew a very specific piece of information before it came to fruition.  It was quite unsettling until I came to terms with it.  So while I am a strong skeptic of the supernatural, I do know that sometimes events occur that cannot be explained through science.

I can't say that the events of this book caused me to suspend disbelief anymore than did the climax of The Scarlet Lake Mystery, so The Magic Talisman is not any less believable than the ending of that book.  The only difference is that the former deals with science and the latter with the paranormal.  

According to series book researchers, The Magic Talisman was written between Rocket Jumper and The Deadly Dutchman.  The book was rejected by Grosset and Dunlap for various reasons including the presence of ESP and magic.  When fans heard about the unpublished manuscript years later, they begged for it to be published.  It finally was published in 1990, although Hal Goodwin did make changes to what he originally wrote.  Fans do not know exactly what was changed, except that the story was changed so as to provide closure to the series.

Readers of the higher numbered Rick Brant books can make some assumptions about the future relationships of the young people, but The Magic Talisman leaves no doubt, which gives the series a definite ending.  Most series end without warning, which is what happened to the Rick Brant series in the 1960s.  It is quite neat that the author provided closure to the series more than two decades later.

I read this story via a PDF file, which I found online.  While the PDF has some words run together and a few errors, it is easy to read and a good alternative to spending a fortune for an actual copy of the book.  Some of the other high-numbered Rick Brant books can also be found online, possibly all of them.  I normally do not recommend free texts of books that are not in the public domain, but the books are not available in print copies.  I always purchase legal copies, but the only legal copies sell secondhand at rather extreme prices.

I greatly enjoyed reading the Rick Brant series.  When I made my impulsive decision to read the series, I somehow knew that I would enjoy them, and I knew that my certain belief was a bit odd.  Hmm... perhaps that was a touch of ESP on my part, since I had never been even slightly inclined to read the books.  Somehow I knew I would enjoy reading them in spite of my past lack of interest.  I was right, because I enjoyed all of them, even the stories that I didn't like quite as much.

I did not find that the books near the end of the series declined in quality.  I felt that the books remained strong.  Some of them were different, but they were still good stories.

I have mentioned that I do not have a good track record with boys' series.  I guess I can't make that blanket statement now.  I do like Rick Brant a lot, and I enjoyed the series more than I did Ken Holt.  I did like Ken Holt, but I also had problems with the books.  I will be reading the Ken Holt books again, so look for those thoughts soon.


Avinash Machado said...

Will you be reviewing the Nancy Drew Files as well?

Jennifer White said...

I don't have any plans right now. While I'd like to read the Files again and write reviews, it won't be for a while. I am currently focusing on books I have never read before.

Wewe said...

I have a feeling that you have mentioned earlier that you bought the book of Talisman?

Jennifer White said...

I have not purchased the book. Three copies of the book have sold on eBay recently, for $332.00 up to $900.00. I am not currently willing to pay that much.

Mariah Tahmisian said...

Where is the PDf's you have read online?

Jennifer White said...

I don't have any links to PDF files handy. However, you can find them by running searches on Google. Take the name of a Rick Brant book and include "PDF" as part of the search term, and you will find them. For some titles, you might have to search harder, but I'm pretty certain that all 24 books are online for free in various locations.