Things are going from bad to worse in Llangard. Their young king, Roland, has been kidnapped and is being held by Jarl Vidar. Tristram has been revealed as a half-dragon in a country that still has much anti-dragon sentiment. And as much as they have tried to hold off the machinations of Jarl Vidar and Nicholas Cavendish, it is clear that war is coming.
Those leading the country have found themselves spilt into two fronts. Gillian is in Atheldinas, trying to oversee the capitol, particularly as dragons are now in the city. They may be allies, but the truce is still uneasy. Sidonie and Rhiannon are headed to the city with the children from the monastery, hoping to warn them of the impending trouble and not realizing trouble is already there. And Tristram and Bet have led an army to Merrick, hoping to head off the attacks before the Tornish invaders make it to Atheldinas.
Jarl Vidar has magic unlike any that has been seen for generations in Llangard, and he has created an army of slathering, mindless beasts. Both humans and dragons are slowly realizing that they have no chance against the Tornish unless they band together. Forgetting past conflict isn’t easy, but Tristram’s bravery has gone a long way to easing many minds. Now Tristram, Bet, Gillian, and more must lead their country to victory, or see their entire world destroyed.
The Assassin’s Dragon wraps up the Fire and Valor trilogy in wonderful fashion. The series is told as one long story broken into three books, so you definitely need to start at the beginning here to follow along with the action. As with the other books, the authors do an amazing job of building an engaging ensemble cast and letting them all tell the story. We get a wide range of POV characters, from our leads, Tristram and Bet, to Maddox, Gillian, Sidonie, Rhiannon, Roland, and more. As I have noted before, this could have been all muddled, but instead, all these narrators allow us as readers to really keep up with all the action. There are so many pieces in play here and people are in different locations and pursing a variety of goals. By getting in varying POVs, we can keep up with what is going on, as well as really get to know each of these characters. So am constantly impressed with how well the authors manage such a large cast and use them to tell one flowing story, even as we jump from one to another as chapters change.
I really enjoy how the character stories intermingle with the larger series plot. I have come to just adore Tristram and Bet together. Poor Bet felt so in the shadows, as if he was good for nothing other than dark things, a tool for others to use. It has been so rewarding to see not just his relationship with Tristram grow, but also his own sense of self worth. He is still so frequently surprised that others care about him, and watching him tell Tristram he loves him is just swoony given Bet’s past. I also really enjoy our two side couples, Rhiannon and Sidonie, and Maddox and Gillian. They get enough page time to really see their characters and their relationships develop, without pulling too much focus as secondary characters. I particularly love the way the authors give us such strong women characters, not just these three, but others as well. And Gillian has a wonderful role here, in particular. I also was really thrilled to see Roland stepping out as a character in this story. He is just a young boy, one who has huge responsibilities thrust onto his shoulders well before his time. And here we see Roland really find his own leadership and strength in new ways. It is just such a great cast and I have grown very attached to them.
The larger plot takes a bit to get started here, mostly because it takes some time to get everyone into position. The early parts of the book felt like a little too much stage setting and getting pieces moved around. But once things get started, this is just as thrilling as the other books, perhaps more. We get a wonderfully exciting battle at the end that brings the series together, and again, the authors make great use of this large cast to have many things going on all at once. It is exciting and well done, with enough time at the end for us to see everyone happy and settled into their next stage of life.
Overall I have been so happy with this series and can highly recommend it. I have fallen in love with the characters and this world and think the authors have done a great job with their large cast. I will be sad to see them go, but definitely enjoyed the journey.