Book Review- Sunrunner’s Fire by Melanie Rawn

Two 60 hour work weeks down, one to go! I’m fairly exhausted lately, and adding school to my list of responsibilities really puts a crunch on my blogging time.

But, it’s Sunday, I have a spare moment, and I’m here to talk about Sunrunner’s Fire!
Sunrunner's_Fire

That’s right, I finally finished it! It took longer than anticipated, mostly due to another obsessive slip into Dragon Age. I spent my precious free moments of spring break either playing the game or reading fanfiction.

But, as real life forced its way back into my daily routine, I found my nose back in the pages of the last book in the Dragon Prince Trilogy.

So let this be the warning, there be spoilers ahead!

Like Rawn’s other books, Sunrunner’s Fire spans many years. The opening chapter picks up right where The Star Scroll left off, with Andry bandying about his new-found status as Lord of Goddess Keep, Maarken and Hollis newly married, the latter still battling her addiction to dranath, and Sioned and Rohan, grim as ever. Sioned knows that Rohan did the right thing in killing Masul, and he doesn’t regret saving his beloved nephew’s life, but any act of physical violence or blatant use of his power as High Prince kills something inside of Rohan.

Through all the books, Rohan battles with the duality of man, especially one in a place of extreme power. In the first book we meet Rohan, and he’s young, optimistic, and an idealist. A scholar, he spent most of his free time studying and designing laws, so that man could exist and share power without the need for war.

And though the boy still exists within the man, Rohan has met with many failures, both with his subjects, and with himself. These failures of dimmed the bright light of the idealist, and hardened him into something a touch more fatalistic. He’s no less the scholar almost 40 years later, and he’s a much stronger, and wiser High Prince.

If you can’t tell, I adore Rohan. But, I also adore his wife, Sioned. I loved watching them grow together, and rule together. I ached with them as they struggled to conceive, and I hurt as Sioned battled with feelings of worthlessness at her inability to carry a child. Not only because they needed an heir, but because they both truly wanted a child.

This is an issue that, while I’ve never had any first hand experience, terrifies me. And it hit home to watch this beloved couple fray at the edges because of it.
Dragon prince en francais

But, nearly 40 years later, and their son Pol is a man. And though he has all of Rohan’s charm and wit, he doesn’t seem to like using it. I love Pol, mainly because Rohan and Sioned love him. Because he is the shining light of their lives, even as they fret and worry over his flippant approach to relationships.

And for a time, Pol’s indiscretion seems the biggest trouble in the book. Of course, having read The Star Scroll, I know that Marron, Ruval, and Mireva are still out there, biding their time to make their next move against Rohan and Pol. They’ve got big plans to oust the princes, and put a diamardh’im on the throne.

But, Andry is not to be ignored. He’s brutish in his straightforward use of power. He lacks Rohan’s grace and subtlety, and spends much of the book behaving like a child denied his way. Which is fitting giving his parentage. Chay is a straightforward man. A soldier at heart who likes to tackle problems head on. Tobin is pure fire, and gets what she wants. If she does find herself thwarted in her endeavors, she often throws small, and wildly entertaining tantrums. So, Andry’s disposition, as aggravating as it is, is actually quite natural for him.

And he’s seen a vision of a future he can’t allow to come true. A future where the diamardh’im have made an alliance with the Merida (eternal enemies of the desert) and wage a disastrous war against the faradh’im and the High Prince. In his vision Andry sees his childhood home, Radzyn Keep, completely gutted, its inhabitants strewn in a trail of dead all the way to the sea. He sees Stronghold burn, and knows that Rohan and Pol would have to be dead for such a thing to happen.

And so, being Andry, he vows to do anything he can to prevent this future. And he manages to stomp on a lot of toes to do so. He even manages to get himself banished from Stronghold! Which was a sad affair for all involved.

While Andry pisses people off, and Pol struggles to ignore the innocent beauty of an enemy’s daughter, Mireva and Ianthe’s sons infiltrate Stronghold. Marron, impatient fool that he was, implements a plan to thwart his own brother, and attempts to issue a challenge to Pol right in the middle of a feast. But, the moment he starts to use his sorcery, and foolishly admits that he was the one to kill Sorin, Andry sets him on fire until there’s nothing left but ash. Right there at dinner.

It’s this action, this murder, that gets Andry banished from Stronghold. Even though Rohan admits the boy would have been put to death, Andry ignored the laws, ignored the boy’s right to be heard and tried, even if it were a formality. And Andry’s disapproval of Rohan’s respect of the laws he created gets the Lord of Goddess Keep banished.

So, there’s one murderous diamardh’im out o f the picture.
The Star Scroll en francais

Mireva and Ruval keep a low profile after Marron’s outburst. But, finally Ruval issues a challenge to Pol. A duel using only their gifts as Sunrunner and Sorcerer. When Pol accepts, Rohan and Sioned know that they must tell their son about his true heritage. That he is Ianthe’s son.

Well, that goes terribly. Pol’s a jerkface about it. Sioned cries. A lot. And Rohan puts all the blame on himself, as usual. And I was angry at Pol. I identify with/worship his parents, and for him to be so cruel in the moment was torturous.

Eventually he comes around, though it hardens him incredibly. He goes from being the flippant young man, to becoming a prince. And though the change is painful to watch, his parents and the readers know that it was necessary.

So, he wages epic battle with Ruval, and basically sets the entire desert on fire, which is an awesome, and dangerous image. While their starlit battle rages on, Andry continues to be an idiot, and question Mireva in the dungeon. Of course she escapes, and tries to help Ruval. She quite nearly gets Pol killed, but is killed mid-cast by Riyan, who stabs her through and says, “That was for Sorin.”

I always liked that kid. Ostvel and Camigwen’s son if you’ll recall. He’s the only one besides Maarken who ended up having any sort of brains. And I swear by the Goddess, if Pol gets either of them killed in the next trilogy, Imma be pissed!

So, Stronghold is safe. Pol knows who he is. Rohan and Sioned weathered yet another storm. All seems well.

Except for that part where Andry has decided to go about secretly murdering all diamardh’im he can find. Even those of mixed nature, like Pol and Riyan. He knows he can’t murder those in his acquaintance, or those that don’t know their true heritage, so he decides to keep a close watch on those few he can’t murder out right.

In short, Andry has gone batshit. And I’m pretty sure his actions are going to make his vision come to pass. That is, if Pol doesn’t stop him.

And that’s where Rawn leaves us before the next trilogy begins. As much as I love this series and these characters, I’m taking a break from the series to read some other things in the next few months. Redshirts by John Scalzi, The Lies of Locke Lamora, Jurassic Park, etc. I love these books, but some distance might help me cope with the happenings in the next book. Thanks to some reviewer on Goodreads, I know something awful happens, and I just can’t handle that right now.
Sunrunners Fire en francais

Thanks for making it this far. Hopefully we’ll chat again soon!

BZ

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