Series: The Talisman, Book 5
Author: Brett Salter
Genre: YA Fantasy / Adventure
Publication Date: 25th February 2022
Looks like our heroes can finally put an end to the nightmare that was Scarabadon, The Juggernaut. And it seems everyone’s favorite Synergist Knight and Master Dragon have fixed their Talisman issue too. Having thwarted every attack The Tyrant King has thrown at them to this point, The Alliance believes that they can endure any challenge as long as they remain together. Now, having the upper hand seems like the perfect opportunity to seek out more allies and even more of the realm’s mystical Talismans. Could this be a “happily ever after” for our ensemble of motley heroes? Or is this peace just a fool’s hope and just as temporary as the changing tides?
The Alliance are back in their quest to save their world from The Tyrant King, and this time it's not only unfamiliar faces that pose a threat to their lives. The enemy may be closer than they anticipated. What will the gang do when faced with an enemy who happens to be one of their loved ones? With The Tyrant King getting closer to achieving his goal of collecting the Talismans, will The Alliance be able to convince the dens to join forces with them to restore peace to their realm once and for all? More importantly, can Rome become the leader The Alliance needs to lead them to victory or will he crash and burn under the pressure and burden of such a mighty responsibility.
Having now achieved The Great Synergy, our favourite duo are back to doing what they do best: protecting their realm from Darkbrands and Nocturns. The boys continue their mission of locating the Talismans and building a defensive alliance to help them destroy The Void.
WHAT I LIKED
Although this book is part of a series and cannot be read as a standalone (it will cause great confusion to skip the other books), before we get into actual meat of the story, Salter recounts events of the previous book at the get-go to remind readers where we left off, and I found this to be rather helpful as a lot happens over the course of the book, thus a reminder is very helpful in getting you back into the mind frame of the story.
Of course, I have my favourite among the old crew, such as Rome, Julian and Mr Jones, however, I must admit that Mander was an exciting addition to the gang. I loved the additional characters that were introduced: Yule, Starboard, Tidalus Harborfin and Cyprien, to name a few. The characters really came alive in this book, and for the first, I felt as though I could envision them, especially Mander, who isn't just adorable but also really helpful in getting the gang to progress with their tasks and missions
What I really liked was the distinction between the characters and how that came through in the dialogue and their mannerism. Salter has created a great ensemble of characters with their own unique personalities and voices. Though Mr Rider isn't up there with my favourite characters, his character was highlighted more in this book, which gave him more depth and made it easier to connect with him to the extent where you can understand the reasons for his actions and his behaviour towards Rome (or rather Roman) and the tense relationship he has with his children. Mr Rider faces quite a challenge in this book. But with everything he has been through, could it change his mindset on how he feels towards dragons? Will he finally see the need for a coalition between dragons and humans?
I enjoyed learning more about the fascinating world of dragons and how they communicate and operate. We delve into the history of Atlantis and explore deep reaches of the Caribbean Sea. We get a great blend of fantasy, adventure and mythology. Mander provided a lot of information surrounding the world of the Elementals, who watch over the earth and keep the balance. With all the information gather by The Alliance, readers get a better grasp of what The Tyrant King is really after and why he wants the Talisman. The Elementals play a key role in his mission.
We also get to learn more about the legend and rumours that have been circulating for centuries about a warrior who would come from Volcano to destroy The Tyrant King for good. Could that be our hero Rome? Well, Mr Jones sure has his theories, and he might just be right. He is The Alliance's mage and advisor, so he clearly knows a thing or two.
There's a lot of pressure on Rome to be the leader of The Alliance in this book. Throughout the other books, Mr Jones has been preparing Rome to take the lead and doing all he can to convince Rome that he is the one who can defeat The Tyrant King. Although aware of how much faith Mr Jones has in him to be a leader, Rome struggles greatly with this newfound responsibility, however, for the first time since the series started, we get to see Rome take the initiative of leading The Alliance. It's small steps, but it's a good indication that he's starting to believe in his own abilities as much as Mr Jones believes in him.
Of course it wouldn't be The Talisman series without some kick-ass fight scenes, and this book did not disappoint. There was never a dull moment from start to finish. The visual storytelling was great and much needed for a story like this that features such a magnificent and magical world of dragons. There were some scenes that really stood out and that you could really envision. Like the scene on the island where the gang are attacked by the water dragon. Julian and his comic relief was amazing as usual, and I just loved the way the gang were backing up as he kept babbling on an on completely unaware of what was happening behind him. In times of great distress, every alliance needs a Julian. Salter really does well to paint a picture of the scenes so readers feel as though they are there with the characters. It's a great way of connecting and engaging with the characters.
This is the first book in the series that I have read and felt it wasn't missing anything. It had enough action, adventure and fantasy elements to leave readers satisfied. The story is coming together well and we get a clearer picture of the mission and agendas of the characters to the point now where one can anticipate what lies ahead.
Another magical adventure with a cast of characters you can't help but root for. A thoroughly enjoyable read indeed.