The Battle for Verdana (Talisman 4)

The Battle for Verdana (Talisman 4)
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Release Date
July 19, 2020
What’s REALLY hiding in the forests of the Pacific Northwest? Could it be The Tyrant King’s army of Darkbrands? Could it be more of Mr. Jones’s liaisons? Or could it be the solution to the problem vexing our favorite heroes? Whatever mystery it is, you can guarantee the boys from Georgia are sure to find themselves deep in the thick of it.

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Fighting to regain lost powers
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What worked:
A large twist ends the previous book when Julian and Rome lose their powers after being infected by the Dark. I’ve been waiting for the characters to achieve their full potential and now they have almost no powers at all. Rome can still transform his arms to wield the strength of his dragon form and he can still shoot fire from his eyes. However, you know from earlier books that these weapons are of little use when fighting Garms, Minotaurs, and Nocturns. The main goal in this book is for the boys to cement their bond and regain their formidable abilities by properly completing the Great Synergy.
This book continues the pattern in the series as Julian and Rome add allies but the Darkbrands display increases in numbers, power, and frequency of attacks. Rome and Julian travel to the upper northwest of the USA where they’ve noticed a new portal and increased Darkbrand activity. In the past, this evidence has indicated a talisman is near. Readers may remember from book one that few Darkbrands were able to pass through portals from The Void as The Tyrant King is amassing the energy needed for a full-on Darkbrand invasion. Well, with all the monsters popping up in the past two books, it’s not a stretch to predict the ruthless Tyrant King will make an appearance. The series seems to be building to that inevitable climax between Julian, Rome, and The Tyrant King, although it may need to wait until the final book.
Character relationships create different conflicts as Julian and Rome explore new places. Dragons and knights trusted and bonded with each other centuries ago to defeat the Tyrant King but things have changed. A rift between the two races has lingered and the boys meet resistance whenever they encounter new dragons. Dragons distrust human motivations and expect them to eventually succumb to their own desires and turn against dragons. Julian’s father openly thinks all dragons should be slain and readers have been waiting since the first book to find out what will happen when the man discovers his son has bonded with one. Julian and his sister continue to have a contentious relationship while Rome’s feelings for Krysta are growing stronger.
What didn’t work as well:
After reading all of the books in the series so far, the descriptions of the battle scenes are fairly familiar. Clay bowls people over, Jericho fights like a staff-wielding ninja, Krysta expels ice and slashes with her claws and tail, while Rome uses his arms and laser eyes to help. I guess there are only so many ways to describe fight scenes, so perhaps my concern is born out of reading all the books at once. Nevertheless, I’m not too bothered as I’m enjoying the series so far.
The Final Verdict:
I suggest you read the series from the beginning or you’ll miss out on the character relationships and how the conflict with the Darkbrand creatures has been building. This book will appeal to lovers of dragons and fighting as Rome and Julian find monsters everywhere they go. I highly recommend you give this book, and the series, a shot.
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