I’ve been meaning to write my Iron Flame book review for a little while now. I’ve deliberately sat on this for some time to allow those who haven’t read this book yet, time to read both Fourth Wing and Iron Flame before being hit over the head with spoilers. There is nothing worse (in my opinion) than getting excited about a new book, only for everyone else to read it then share all the spoilers. I kept my Iron Flame review on Instagram vague, so that others weren’t impacted. Now that some time has passed, I feel it is time to share all of my thoughts. So without further ado, here is my Iron Flame book review.
Before you read any further, this is your first warning for spoilers ahead.
PLEASE NOTE THAT MY POSTS CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS
Everyone expected Violet Sorrengail to die during her first year at Basgiath War College—Violet included. But Threshing was only the first impossible test meant to weed out the weak-willed, the unworthy, and the unlucky.
Now the real training begins, and Violet’s already wondering how she’ll get through. It’s not just that it’s grueling and maliciously brutal, or even that it’s designed to stretch the riders’ capacity for pain beyond endurance. It’s the new vice commandant, who’s made it his personal mission to teach Violet exactly how powerless she is–unless she betrays the man she loves.
Although Violet’s body might be weaker and frailer than everyone else’s, she still has her wits—and a will of iron. And leadership is forgetting the most important lesson Basgiath has taught her: Dragon riders make their own rules. But a determination to survive won’t be enough this year.
Because Violet knows the real secret hidden for centuries at Basgiath War College—and nothing, not even dragon fire, may be enough to save them in the end.
I promised a second warning for spoilers. If you’ve not read Fourth Wing then check out my review, and if you haven’t yet read Iron Flame and want to do so without spoilers, then turn back now. You can come back later once you’ve read it. If you’re feeling brave, then read on for my Iron Flame book review, but consider yourself warned!
Dragons and battles galore!
Coming into the second instalment of the Empyrean series was daunting. Riding the hype was inevitable and everyone was praying that this was as good as the first book. Well, it certainly caught a few people off guard and split Rebecca Yarros’ fans straight down the middle!
One of my favourites aspects of this book was the increase in tempo with the dragons and battles. We have far more action in this book than we did in the first. For the die hard romantasy lovers out there, you may find the battle scenes a little bit of a slog, but for me, these were a great change. Another one of my favourite pieces of this book is that Andarna becomes a grumpy (and rather sassy) teenager, with Tairn taking on the parent/guardian role. I love that we haven’t lost the witty exchanges between Violet and her dragons. In fact, in this book, they felt much more natural and have developed with the character’s own age/experience development. These moments had me laughing out loud and giggling under blankets reading at night!
Clues were left everywhere…
When I say Rebecca Yarros dropped clues everywhere, I mean everywhere. These little easter eggs were in the dusted throughout from introductions, to descriptions and even smack in the middle of chapters. On your second or third read, you’ll be surprised how many you missed the first time around! I won’t say more for fear of really spoiling this!
Xaden and Violet, please stop bickering.
The constant bickering, hot & cold and back-and-forth between these two did get pretty old. Yes, we know you’re annoyed with him Violet as you feel you’ve been lied to, but c’mon. Xaden isn’t going to tell you everything off the bat as you’re rubbish with your shields and it might get him killed. We’d like to keep our new shadow daddy around a little longer, thank you.
Personally, I felt this was a little worn out and a bit of filler for the lack of romance in this book. I didn’t mind the lack of spice as this is book 2 in a 5-book series where the focus on the plot is not about the relations these two have, or how many times they can have it. We can’t expect the heat to be turned up all of the time.
Was Iron Flame rushed?
There were elements in this book where I do feel the writing has been rushed. Whether this is due to the pressure or excitement surrounding this book I am unsure, but I do feel the book has suffered for it. There were some areas where the writing felt a little flat or a passage was added with no real context. Other areas we could have benefitted from more development surrounding particular plot points or characters. I’m not alone in this thought either. This book seems to have really divided the book community, and many agree that we could have waited another 6 months to a year for this book. Especially if it was more refined it it’s writing. This hasn’t hugely harmed the book for me but I did knock off a little in the overall rating.
As with it’s predecessor, once I finished it I felt a pang of emptiness and was left with more questions than answers. This book is a rollercoaster and one I’m not sure everyone was ready to ride. I know many expected it to take a left turn then they were violently thrown right. Iron Flame definitely divided fans, but I think it’s important to not forget this is only book 2 in a 5 book series. It’s the prelude to the big bang; the great showdown. Although many of us can forgive Rebecca for her rushed writing this time, we may not feel so generous when the next book rolls around.
I felt Iron Flame did exactly what a prequel should do. It developed the plot, gave us a big pull on the heartstrings and a punch in the gut with action. Despite some of the more tiring aspects of Violet & Xaden’s relationship and the rushed writing, this book gives you everything you’d expect from a sequel with more to come.
Buy the book
Rating: ★★★★.5/5 stars
As always, happy reading!