Sunrunner’s Fire: Not the end of the story

Sunrunner's Fire (Dragon Prince Book 3) Kindle Edition by Melanie Rawn (Author)Sunrunner’s Fire by Melanie Rawn fantasy book revewsSunrunner’s Fire by Melanie Rawn

Sunrunner’s Fire (1990) is the third and final book in Melanie Rawn’s DRAGON PRINCE trilogy, but it is not the end of the story. The story continues in a second trilogy called DRAGON STAR. While the immediate tension of Sunrunner’s Fire is resolved by the end, there are looming issues that remain, making Sunrunner’s Fire feel like another middle book.

The story begins just after the end of the previous book, The Star Scroll (for which this review will contain spoilers) and moves us quickly through several years’ worth of significant events before settling in on the main plot. Andry is the new lord of the Sunrunners and he’s become so powerful and unpredictable (bucking many traditions) that his royal family is concerned about his nature and where his loyalties lay. Pol, who still doesn’t know who his biological mother is, is feeling pressured to find a wife. At the same time, Pol’s two remaining half-brothers, grandsons of the dead high prince and puppets of an evil sorceress, are plotting to regain the throne which Pol’s father Rohan occupies.

As our heroes try to stop the bad guys’ plans, Pol learns more about how to be a benevolent leader, has the most boring romance imaginable, engages in a lot of boring banter with his family, hunts a dragon killer, and thinks about laws and loyalty. Meanwhile, Andry is in danger of becoming the monster he’s hoping to stop. There are some significant triumphs and losses, and the book ends with a tantalizing cliffhanger.

Fans of the first two DRAGON PRINCE books (Dragon Prince and The Star Scroll) will be pleased with Sunrunner’s Fire. As for me, I never really fell for Rawn’s characters, the plot isn’t all that exciting, and the prose is merely adequate, so I found the book pleasant, but not stimulating. There are a couple of noticeable flaws that I couldn’t get over. One is a lack of a sense of place. Much of the story takes place in a desert, but it’s hard to remember this fact because it doesn’t feel like a desert. Every time Rawn mentions that Rohan is the prince of the desert, I think “oh yeah, I forgot they live in a desert.”

Another, more problematic, flaw is that the villains are so full-on evil that they’re almost comical. Though Christa Lewis, the narrator of Tantor Audio’s new audio edition, gives a nice performance overall, her interpretation of the villains (including a cheesy evil laugh) only highlights this problem. And while we’re talking about characters, why does Rohan keep beating himself up over something we know wasn’t his fault? And Andry’s personality change was really hard to believe in. Oh, and there are not enough dragons for a trilogy called DRAGON PRINCE.

Sunrunner’s Fire is a must-read for DRAGON PRINCE fans, but this series is, overall, just average. It’s not a bad choice, but there are just so many better options available. If Tantor Audio sends me the next book, Stronghold, I’ll read it, but, honestly, I don’t really care if they do.

Originally published in 1990. Audio edition published February 13, 2018. Andry, the new Sunrunner Lord of Goddess Keep, must master potentially deadly magical knowledge before he can confront the ancient foe who nearly destroyed the Sunrunners ages ago. But the enemy is mobilizing to strike again, drawing on forbidden lore to play an ever-shifting game of treachery and betrayal.

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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3 comments

  1. People come into the used bookstore and ask for these everyone once in a while, but I was never drawn into them. I think they’re for a certain taste.

  2. Hey! I was just going to say that another really good clean trilogy that I have read recently is the ascendence trilogy by Jennifer A. Nelson. The first book is called The False Prince. If you love books with good plot twists you will love this trilogy.

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