The barrier is down, war is brewing and dragons fill the skies once more.
Bakari is the first dragon rider in centuries but he alone cannot subdue the growing tensions among the kingdoms around Alaris. He begins a quest to find more dragon riders — the only way to secure peace in the fractured lands around him.
In this second book of the Alaris Chronicles everyone is forced to choose sides in the battle for the governance of Alaris. Roland Tyre seizes control of the Citadel and carefully plays both sides — but his immense charm and considerable wizard powers may prove useless against a deadly and hidden enemy. Battle Wizard Alli Stenos is in the thick of every fight she can find and only wants to secure an end to the violence.
The three young wizards, Bakari, Roland and Alli have become more powerful than many of their elders. But will that be enough to keep Alaris, and the surrounding kingdoms, from descending into all out war?
Mike Shelton’s The Dragon Rider, starts where the first book had left off. Bakari, now a Dragon Rider, is trying to make sense of his new role in life. He starts by visiting Mahli, his ancestral land. There he learns more about his people and his heritage, as well as the prophecies of the Dragon Riders and the Dragon King. He also learns that there are more dragon eggs and riders spread around the land, so he heads out to find them with Abylar, his growing blue dragon.
In the meantime, battle wizard Alli deals with an impending war with evil wizard Kanzar, who wants to impose himself as the king of all Alaris. In the Citadel, newly appointed High Wizard Roland Tyre is trying to keep neutral in the conflict between Kanzar’s forces and the Chief Judge Daymian Khouri. The three friends, each working separately in growing their respective powers and responsibilities, ultimately come together to try and stop Kanzar and Khouri from clashing, thus preventing unavoidable bloodshed and political unrest.
On this second book, Mr. Shelton’s fantasy world expands further into the land beyond the failed magical barrier, brought down on the first book. However, the book stands on its own and gives the reader hints and context of what had happened on the previous installment. Where the first book was a sort of younger-reader friendly to understand the machinations of politics, this book focuses a lot more on the use and abuse of power. Our three main characters confront some of their biggest fears, which they have to overcome in order to grow and prevail.
Dragon Rider is packed with action, adventure and a well-thought fantasy world. A sort of collage of a wide variety of fantasy literature, from Lord of the Rings to The Wheel of Time, Mike Shelton goes into the ugliness of power and politics in a very interesting way, creating this type of introductory and age-appropriate version of Game of Thrones for kids. I think any tween, from 10 on, would love to immerse themselves into this world of treason and power, where children are the ones who hold everyone in check.
Note: I received a free digital copy of this book through Readers’ Favorite in exchange for my honest review.
About Mike Shelton
Mike was born in California and has lived in multiple states from the west coast to the east coast. He cannot remember a time when he wasn’t reading a book. At school, home, on vacation, at work at lunch time, and yes even a few pages in the car (at times when he just couldn’t put that great book down). Though he has read all sorts of genres he has always been drawn to fantasy. It is his way of escaping to a simpler time filled with magic, wonders and heroics of young men and women.
Other than reading, Mike has always enjoyed the outdoors. From the beaches in Southern California to the warm waters of North Carolina. From the waterfalls in the Northwest to the Rocky Mountains in Utah. Mike has appreciated the beauty that God provides for us. He also enjoys hiking, discovering nature, playing a little basketball or volleyball, and most recently disc golf. He has a lovely wife who has always supported him, and three beautiful children who have been the center of his life.
Mike began writing stories in elementary school and moved on to larger novels in his early adult years. He has worked in corporate finance for most of his career. That, along with spending time with his wonderful family and obligations at church has made it difficult to find the time to truly dedicate to writing. In the last few years as his children have become older he has returned to doing what he truly enjoys – writing!