Publication date: June 22nd, 2021 Links:  Amazon  |  Goodreads The third and final installment in Sean's rip-roaring 'firefighters m...

Review || Flame Riders by Sean Grigsby


Publication date: June 22nd, 2021

The third and final installment in Sean's rip-roaring 'firefighters meet dragons' fantasy series

In the final installment of the Smoke Eaters series, the New United States Army has taken over and America has devolved into a full-on dragon apocalypse. Smoke eaters are banned and have gone into hiding to avoid being held prisoner by the soldiers.

Guiellermo Contreras is a private in the NUSA, and when he's accused of potentially being a smoke eater upon pain of death, he escapes and sets out to find the heroes who disappeared years before. But what he discovers is that the NUSA has been working on something unthinkable, and it's going to take more than a few smoke eaters to stop them.

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After having read Ash Kickers, I couldn't wait to get back into this dragon-filled world. I was surprised that after the cliffhanger ending of Ash Kickers, we start all over with a brand new character but it didn't take long to get back into the flow. The world has progressed through finding out how to deal with the dragons to more of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The smoke eaters who were idolized years before have been banned. The New United States Army (NUSA) is not the organization that Guillermo Contreras believed it was. They aren't entrusted with keeping the world safe and are in fact, mercenaries who are bullying the civilians into providing resources for them. Contreras steals a tank with the intent of returning home, but things don't always turn out as expected. 

Guilly is a well-crafted character that you can't help but root for from the start. He's listening to his conscience and attempts to flee the NUSA by stealing one of their tanks all while wearing nothing but a bathrobe. You'd think this would be a fantastic idea and that he could escape easily, but the tanks only go so fast, making this more of a humorous would-be sluggish getaway. Upon finding out that he is a smoke-eater and part of a now underground group that he completely fanboyed over, it only gets better from there. 

Once again, Grigsby has continued his portrayal of this unique, but entertaining world. While the setting is much more dystopian than the previous book, it hasn't lost any of its high stakes. There's plenty of action, fire-spewing, and dragon fighting. Plenty of battles to be fought and danger to run towards. There's even the delightful appearance of some of his previous book's characters, tying all the books together. Flame Riders surprised me. Given the time jump and the incongruous new POV, I expected to not enjoy it as much as Ash Kickers but I devoured it in just a few hours.