Sometimes, when the world gets tough, all you need is a good adventure with dragons (which are awesome), characters you can really root for, a challenge or villain to overcome, and dragons (still awesome). Eileen Mueller’s Riders of Fire series does just that. But since I don’t want to spoil later books, I shall focus on Ezaara, the first in the series.
1. Thoughts on the plot
In this book, Ezaara is found by Zaarusha, the Queen of the dragons, and they imprint as rider and dragon. From that dramatic beginning starts a series of events that land Ezaara right in the middle of a fight between the dragons and Zens, a being from another world who wants to conquer the realm of Dragons; a series of political machinations that call her right to ride Zaarusha into question; a quest to prove her devotion to her friends and to the realm; and some serious drama. There are many things going on and it is really wonderful.
I was hesitant at first because things started off so quickly, but once you got past the first five percent of this book, events really started to take form and it works really well. This series focuses not just on the overarching battle between the dragons and Zens, but the little details as well. The training, the character growth, the relationships that form between friends and more, the back story, all of it is woven together in an intricate web that draws the reader from one scene to the next in an enthralling manner. The plot, in short, is quite fun.
2. Thoughts on the main character
I like Ezaara. A fair bit. From the outside, she looks like a hesitant sort who can’t quite seem to figure out what to say to appease the politicians, and isn’t quite certain of her place in this world. But as we get to see what Ezaara is thinking, and how she grows, we learn that she really is just someone with a bit of spunk who wasn’t born into this world of dragons, but grows to become one of its most valued assets. That, and she really does very well at not caring hugely what others thing. Well, she cares, but isn’t afraid to stand on her beliefs, either. And the growing connection between her and Roberto? I think it adds that extra element of depth to the story.
3. Favourite part
I think my favourite part has to be the bond between Ezaara and Zaarusha. They just seem to be matched so well in personality, but are independent thinkers, too. It works so well and makes the story more than your typical YA fantasy.
4. Least favourite part
The cliffhanger! Aaaah! I will warn you that every book of this series that I have read so far (1-3) ends in a dramatic cliffhanger. It makes sense, because each story is leading into the next and we can’t be allowed to forget that there is a larger story at stake and things are going to get worse, but…my goodness!
As a writer, I can appreciate the cliffhanger, because it makes the stories flow together quite well. But as a reader, I give that all-too-typical dramatic “oh, no!” that comes with such things.
Overall, I would say that Ezaara is a great first book to a really fun and interesting YA fantasy series. The plot does not follow the formula that you would expect. The characters are deep and interesting. There is always something new to discover around the next corner. Basically, I enjoyed it quite a lot. I would say that it is very good.