Sunday 27 February 2022

BOOK REVIEW: Riders of Fire and Ice (The Talisman Series, Vol. 2) by Brett Salter

Riders of Fire and Ice
Series: The Talisman, Book 2
Author: Brett Salter
Genre: Middle-Grade/YA Fantasy / Adventure
Publication Date: 6th October 2017

Book Description:
They're back! Julian and Rome are taking their show on the road. This time to lovely, old England in search of Camelot. While there, everyone's favorite Knight and Master Dragon will be trying to solve the mystery of the Talismans, the mystery of their shadowy stalker, and the mystery of sibling rivalry. Prepare to meet some new faces and, of course, some new Darkbrands as the two further their adventures across the pond.

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The Dynamic ride or die duo are back for another magic-filled adventure with their intuitive mentor and sidekick Mr Jones as they continue to seek a resolution to destroy The Void and The Tyranny King for good and restore balance to the world. To do that, they need to learn everything they can about their enemy and, more importantly, how to achieve the full potential of The Great Synergy. This time, the boys are seeking out the mythical Camelot, and where better to begin their search than in good ol' England.

It's very rare that I enjoy a sequel as much as or even more than the first book in the series, but that's definitely the case here. When we meet back up with Rome and Julian, they've just left Georgia and are heading to England to find out about the movements of their enemies and hopefully find allies to join their cause in destroying The Void, the realm where the Darkbrand army are coming from to scout Earth for their master, The Tyrant King. In the previous book, the boys sealed one of the portals they were using. As part of a foreign exchange programme, the boys will be staying in Bridgewater, Somerset for the next three months, however, their trip has nothing to do with the exchange programme and Rome suspects someone might have caught onto their plan, but what he doesn't know is if their sneaky stalker is a friend or a foe.


The banter and bromance between Rome and Julian from the previous book has grown even more in this book. They're moving closer and closer to seeming as brothers rather than friends. There are dangerous matters afoot in this book, and the interaction between Rome and Julian does well in lightening the mood, especially with Julian and his antics. I loved the humour embedded in the story.

I liked the character development, especially with Rome. He's really growing into his role as a Darkbrand slayer, a Defender of the Earth. While Julian's development is slower, it's coming along nicely as we get to understand him a little better by exploring his family background, especially with the addition of a few new characters, one of who happens to be Julian's younger sister, Camela, who comes with her own sidekick and confidant, Krysta. Camela and Krysta are like the female versions of Rome and Julian. They were a great addition to the group as they helped to bring out traits of the boys we either handn't witnessed before or hadn't paid full attention to. The addition of Camela and Krysta highlighted just how difficult a task it will be for the boys to destroy the Darkbrand army, and I don't think the boys had fully grasped the full nature of the task at hand prior to engaging with the girls. There were some great team building moments I appreciated, and while there were back and forth arguments between Julian and Camela, who never seemed to see eye to eye, when push came to shove, they didn't second-guess themselves when it came to supporting each other. The fact that their sibling rivalry didn't interfere with their responsibilities showed just how mature these characters were, or, in Julian's case, how mature they could be.

I loved the action scenes. They were very descriptive, so it was easy to envision the scene as they unfolded. There was a lot of action packed into this book. It didn't seem as though the boys had a moment to rest, so there was definitely no stagnant moments. There was always something happening.


The feud between Julian and Camela felt repetitive at times and sometimes hindered Julian's development as a character. They definitely came across as siblings, but it just seemed as though their feud and them annoying each other was the only thing they had going between them. I would have liked to have seen them share some form of understanding of their similarities outside of their task of saving the world as they both come from a long line of knights who didn't believe in having dragons as allies as the knights of Camelot did, yet they both defied their father's authority. Clearly, they're more alike than they care to acknowledge. It would have been nice if the focus had shifted from their feud to a more familiar and familial conflict surrounding their upbringing and their father's ideologies.

While I did enjoy the fight scenes, they tended to last a little longer than necessary, particularly the fight between the gang and a rather curious member of the faculty that had accompanied them on their trip, which lasted a few chapters. It could have been shorter as the danger and strength of their opponent had been well established long before the battle came to an end.


Magic, mystery and adventure all rolled up into a spellbinding middle-grade/young adult fantasy story about a young dragon and his knight on a mission to save the world from evil forces. A thoroughly thrilling journey for the whole family.


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