After learning that King Seran has obtained the help of a more powerful witch and is on his way to Torsere, Nykin and King Ryneq journey by way of Nykin’s bonded dragon Fimor back to the kingdom of Torsere from the elven kingdom of Alel. Upon arrival, they are still faced with the upcoming battle and in his haste to protect Nykin from being hurt, Ryneq makes the mistake of implying that the dragon riders are not part of the king’s warriors.
Tension runs high within the kingdom, but especialy between Nykin and Ryneq. Their saving grace is Fimor and his words of wisdom for both men. As Seran builds and readies his massive army on the borders of Tosere lands, Ryneq sends parties out to retrieve villagers from the outlying villages, along with dragons and their riders to watch over and protect the parties. When the riders are attacked by the witch and Nykin is hurt, Ryneq begins to realize what they are up against.
The elves that traveled back to Torsere uses their magic to protect Torsere’s wall, though it will not sustain at the level it will once Cerylea’s union is recognized by elven magic, but that could take weeks and they don’t have weeks. This will have to do for now, but too many attempts against it will break the spell and allow the Rodethian army access to the wall and possibly to the kingdom. When the witch finds a way to obtain dragon blood, the stakes change.
Decisions have to be made. Ryneq orders the dragons and their riders to Alel if the city is taken by Seran and the witch. He will not allow them control over the dragons, who came to Torsere for refuge. Nykin is against the plan, but is determined to fight to the very end to be with the man he loves.
As a finale, Alliance is a good book. There are points that are a little long winded and strained, but overall, I really, really liked this book. I love the series. The relationship between Ryneq and Nykin has continued to grow and progress and change as the books have moved on. The story had intensified and challenged me as a reader with each installment. This one was the most difficult to read in the manner of emotions. I’ve grown so attached to the characters and to find one a traitor broke my heart and to see others hurt or worse had me near tears. Jacobs did a great job in that sense with this series. The characters, including the dragons because they are very much characters in this series, are so well developed and amazing. I find myself engrossed in their stories every time I pick up one of the books. This book in particular because I’ve grown to know and love each and every one of them.
I really enjoyed the depth of this story. Like I said earlier, there were a few places I felt the story may have dragged a little, but looking back, I think it was needed for the plot. Closer to the end, everything comes so quickly and hits so hard and fast, I was thankful for those moments of downtime. The ups and downs of this book are critical. It seems like every time Ryneq catches a break the witch is two steps ahead of him. This is the darkest of the three stories in that it’s bleak and seems hopeless on all fronts. I had a hard time hoping for a happy ending at times, because the author did such a good job at hiding it.
I only have one small issue with Ryneq and Nykin. There’s a point of contention where Ryneq makes a comment about dragon riders not being warriors and Nykin takes it to heart. Even after he says he forgives Ryneq, he holds it against him. But then it’s simply over. I expected the contention to be a definitive stumbling block for them, but it wasn’t. There are still lingering insecurities that creep in for Nykin in the beginning of this story that I also expected to come to a head, but they seemed to simply fizzle out. I only feel that if something like that is going to be pointed out, it needs to be acted on and resolved. Please.
And the ending. Oh my god. I’m not going to give it away but heartbreaking is too simple a word. Jacobs redeemed most any criticism I carried with that ending. It hurt from the time the war started to the time the last word was penned, I was enamored. I could not look away. There are parts in this story that are slow and needed, but the ending is beyond wonderful.
Overall, I really, really liked this story and loved the series. The ending is worth reading everything. For all the dark moments in this book the final battle is worth the wait. I highly recommend Alliance by Annabelle Jacobs.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.