The second book of Eileen Mueller’s Riders of Fire series caught me by surprise in a couple of ways – and shows an interesting approach to series storytelling.
The surprise comes from the fact that the book acts parallel with book one for some two-thirds of the story. While the first book focused on Ezaara and what went on around her, the second book focuses on the rest of her family since her abrupt departure from Lush Valley.
Dragon Hero focuses on what goes on in Lush Valley. Marlies, Ezaara’s mother gets only a short attention as she, sighting Zaruusha, embarks on a long journey. The main focus is on Tomaaz, Ezaara’s bother, and Hans, Ezaara’s father. The father and son have to face prejudices – which, as it turns out, are strengthened by a manipulative trader. Bill becomes a major antagonist, especially as he’s revealed to be abusive towards Lovina – a woman that’s in his “care” as an adopted daughter.
With Hans thrown in jail by being suspected deranged after his warning of the impending danger and Bill in the same jail for his abuse of Lovina, the book focuses on both Hans’ thoughts in jail (and his next plans) and on Tomaaz who’s thrown unprepared into adult life. That said, he does his best given the situation – and the village is thrown into turmoil soon after.
For a good part of the story, Marlies wanders alone in hopes of rescuing a captive dragon from their enemy’s hands, thus hoping to repay her debt to the dragon queen. Hans and Tomaaz stick together as much as they can, facing several ambushes, on their way to Dragon hold. With Lovina, injured by Bill, as their passenger, it’s a tough journey that shows Tomaaz’s tender side.
Tomaaz is then thrown into the midst of danger when he learns that his mother had ventured into Death Valley. There, he infiltrates the slave camp, facing harsh labor while seeing drugged slaves beaten and discarded. Escaping with his mother – as well as one rescued child and a captive dragon – will take all his wit to pull off.
Read date: 10.-18.5.2022
Goodreads/Amazon rating: 4,51/4,6 (book two separately)
My rating: 85%
Length: 368 pages (Kindle edition of book two)
My highlights (shared link for first three books, book two starts at 34% and ends at 64%)
This was an interesting experience due to the parallel timeline to book one to a major degree – I believe that book two levels with the events of book one around 60-70% in. There’s also one thing that bugged me and I consider it a minor plot hole, though it’s possible there will be an explanation for it in book three. For now, it’s -5% compared to book one for this minor plot hole.