The sixth book in Eileen Mueller’s Riders of Fire series stands out a bit – it’s not the sixth book in the traditional sense but a parallel book focusing on a secondary plot line.
The main focus is on Ithsar – she was first seen roughly halfway through book one as a target of abuse among the silent assassins. Gifted by visions, she helped Ezaara and Roberto escape the assassins’ lair. This part is re-told from Ithsar’s PoV and continues this plot thread – the ruse is soon busted and Ithsar is sentenced to death.
Ashewar, the ruthless leader of the assassins opts out for making an example of her in a cruel way as she’s seen visions of her being killed by Ithsar in all sorts of ways – though, given her nature, it seems that her own hatred and cruelty turns this into a self-fulfilling prophecy. The fifth book has Ithsar mention that she took over the assassins after Ashewar’s death – and this story shows the details. Healed by Ezaara during the scape, Ithsar is no longer a weakling and won’t go out without a fight. Being thrown into the sea as a shark fodder instead has her finding a new ally, proving that if you want to kill someone, better do it yourself or have it turned against you; a mistake many evil characters make.
The story then shows Ithsar’s new approach to leading the assassins and preparing them to fight for the survival of their world, to join the fight against Zens that has been the main plot of this series – but first, she needs to make sure her people are ready for the task.
Once they set out, the storylines converge as Ithsar and her people follow the trail of destruction to catch up with Ezaara’s people. Eventually, most of the final battle is re-told from Ithsar’s PoV, showing many parts of it from a different angle. Just as with book five, there’s quite a major fade-out – focused on different moments and characters, so it’s not repeating the same 50-ish pages.
This side-story flows much better and faster – maybe it’s the narrower focus on one main PoV character and a couple of smaller scenes from different characters. Hence, +10%.