Rating: 4.5 stars
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After Moh’dredion takes his mate Kieran, Gaige vows to find him even when those around him are certain that Kieran is dead. In the meantime, Gaige takes up the position of Draegan Lord – protecting his people and continuing the stand against High Sorcerer Byram. One of his first decisions as leader is to rescue Jax, the one draegan who hates everything about Gaige, from Byram’s dungeons. After weeks of delays, he and his guards are finally able to begin the rescue mission only to have one of Gaige’s visions lead them to a mountain clearing where their worst nightmare is awaiting their arrival. And at the moment he is sure he will die, a vision of Kieran brings Gaige back, gives him hope and strength to believe in the draegan magick hidden within him.
Gaige is determined not to give up the fight to get Kieran back, but that’s easier said than done. Not having Kieran by his side, and not having the mind link that was the comfort and constant reminder of their true-mating are difficult for Gaige to live without. Dreams about Kieran only make Gaige miss him more.
A gift from his grandmother gives Gaige the answers he needs to get Kieran back, but facing possible death and leaving behind his people in the midst of a war is not a decision to be made lightly. Although facing a life without Kieran is something Gaige is sure he wouldn’t survive. With the help of his trusted inner-circle, Gaige sets out to rescue his mate before Death takes everything from them both.
Fires of Ballian is the third book in the Draegan Lords series by M.L. Rhodes. This book is different from the previous two in that it is mostly about Kieran’s rescue and Gaige’s journey to believing in himself and his abilities. They battle their fears, their weaknesses, and most of all themselves in this book. Don’t get me wrong, there is still romance, but there’s a twist to their romance that ends up making their relationship stronger. And as with the first two books, Fires of Ballian is wonderful from beginning to end.
I love this series. Absolutely love it. The story arc is riveting and constantly keeping me on my toes. The characters, main and secondary, are fascinating and continue to grow with each installment. The world building continues to amaze me. And the writing is, as always, captivating. And the way the series progresses, always changing and surprising, impresses me every time.
This story is mostly Gaige’s, although Kieran isn’t absent from this book, nor is his point of view. But for the most part we see Gaige’s progression and growth as a character. He gains confidence, courage, and independence in the draegan world. When he takes over leadership of the draegans and humans that live with them, Gaige was basically flying by the seat of his pants hoping for Kieran’s quick return. He never believed that he was capable of leading or protecting the people without Kieran and then he was thrust into it without warning. His dreams of Kieran telling him to believe in himself and believe in his abilities give Gaige the strength to become not only a strong leader but a powerful Lord of Kellesborne.
As I mentioned earlier, Kieran is in this story, but his is a smaller, supporting role. His journey is one of endurance, survival, and facing his fears. He doesn’t give up. His love for Gaige and his his people are what keeps him going. I love him because no matter what he faces in this world, he doesn’t let it break him. Don’t get me wrong, his is not an easy journey by any means, but it is a satisfying one.
The story arc continues with several twists and turns. I’ve said it before and it remains the truth in this story, every little thing within this story means something. It may not play out the way you were expecting. It may not even play out in the same book, but it all means something. In Fires of Ballian, Jax is rescued and returns to Kellesborne. A shadow of suspicion hovers over him. He is broken and afraid, and that leads to unexpected twists in his story. I’m still not sure whether I trust him or believe his story, but I am dying to find out how his role plays out in all of this.
The world of the Draegan Lords continues to get bigger, growing more intricate and even more alluring. The glimpse into hel, into Ballian, this world beyond the veil, is dark and scary. It’s heart pounding and exciting. Gaige’s expanding abilities are also a wonderful addition to the magical aspect of this world. I look forward to seeing the continued progression of Gaige’s powers and of the world-building in future installments.
My one wish for this book is that we would have been able to see more of Gaige and Kieran together, physically, but I understand that in the overall story what happens is meant to happen. I just love Gaige and Kieran together, together their bond continues to grow stronger. So I look forward to their future journey.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of M.L. Rhodes and this series is a big reason why. Fires of Ballian is filled with ups and downs, hopes and fears, but Rhodes delivers the hope that true love brings with this story. I am waiting on pins and needles for the next book. There will be an interlude for Wen and Wesley’s story, Unexpected Magick, before the next installment of the series. I’m dying to read both. I highly, highly recommend Fires of Ballian by M.L. Rhodes. If you haven’t read the first two books, do not read this one first. This series was meant to be read in order; otherwise you’ll be completely lost.