The fifth book in Eileen Mueller’s series sees the story head towards an action-packed conclusion.
Before I start… yes, it’s the final book. Yes, it’s book five of six. The sixth book follows another character parallel to the main story, a character that appears in book one and then in book five and, I guess, weaving that story through the other books would’ve been problematic with quite a few PoV characters present already.
Anyway, on to the actual book five.
The final book starts at a dire point – Ezaara is knocked out from her stunt at the end of book four, the master mage is captured, a royal dragon is affected by Zens’ mind-control crystal, and the riders are exhausted and lacking healing supplies. And they know that the next attack will come soon. As they converge at Dragon’s hold, they have to face the harsh reality as well as their own past – and, in this turmoil, form a plan.
Eventually, a small team is chosen to go and infiltrate Zens’ headquarters, to stop him from creating more monsters and, hopefully, take him out. This journey takes a lighter turn in some aspects as Kierion, the jovial rider, is battling sea sickness. In the meantime, there are further rivalries between some characters, caused – as usual in this book – by holding things inside rather than talking them through and setting things right.
Those remaining at Dragon’s hold try to get things under control and their people healed. At the same time, Hans has dreams that he dismisses to not be a prophecy because it feels too unlikely – which, for a master of prophecy and one of the few clear-minded characters, seems like a major lapse of judgment. Of course, it comes to bite them in the butt…
…as the couple of daring heroes find Zens’ HQ empty – all that was there was likewise taken to infiltrate Dragon’s hold, catching the defenders unprepared. Thus, both factions pretty much destroy each others’ base, leading to a clash at the focal point of the story, sending all characters to converge at the Mage Gate.
In a major battle, most good and bad characters (that still live) clash in a massive battle that takes almost two days. There are parts that are glossed over a bit but the general flow is good when it matters. Given what was revealed about Zens’ past in book three (I think), I expected his end to be similar to Galbatorix from Eragon, but that isn’t the case here, though I won’t spoil the details.
The story then has a significant fade-out, both right after the battle and a couple of scenes years later hinting at the world’s recovery and the fate of some characters.
I should probably mention that, expecting this to be book five of six chronologically, I was a bit wary about the end being an actual end for a bit – that’s a danger of keeping the sixth (parallel) book numbered as six instead of being separate.