The fourth book of Eileen Mueller’s Riders of Fire series forces some characters to face their unpleasant past. And while the story goes on at a decent pace, there are still what I consider minor gaps.
The third book ended with the main couple departing to celebrate their honeymoon which, in the middle of a conflict, may not be the best solution. Worse, someone they’ve considered dealt with by the end of the first book, makes an appearance, hungry for revenge. And despite their major disagreements, the father and son are bent on getting their revenge. This goes to show how the Dragonrider council is so set in their ways that, just after one character survived banishment, they sentence a trio of traitors to the same fate, instead of imprisonment or death sentence. During their stay, the also discover another character from the past, who was believed to be dead. The resurgence of an (unwilling) traitor now haunted by guilt puts another dent into the already strained relationships between the characters.
In the meantime, Zens makes another move – sending his next weapon, strange shadowy dragons, to attack along with the tharuks. With medical supplies – especially the miraculous piaua juice – running low, it’s another problem to be dealt with that’ll force the dragon riders to be spread over the world as some of the remedies are only obtained in very specific locations. Some of them are now beset by enemies, who do realize their value.
To make things worse, Zens gets his hands on one of the teleportation rings – and manages to get it working, though this part severely lacks detail. I’d expect more about this, especially as it was a major plot element in the books.
The final confrontation gets most characters to one place, to battle the hordes of Zens’ shadow dragons. Unfortunately, one major character is captured and another out of action for the moment and the dragonriders are barely any wiser about how to fight this new threat.
Because there are things I’d like to be touched on in more detail or explained better, I’m going down 5% compared to book three. It’s still an enjoyable read, so I’m going on with book five of the series.