Rating 4.2/5 | ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

…a must read for audiences who enjoy dragons, world building, and edge of your seat action scenes.

Jaclyn Kelly – North Star Odyssey

Genres: Fantasy, Romance, New Adult | Book Length: 623 pages | Avg. Read Time: 7hrs 15min

*There are spoilers at the bottom this review, if you have not read the book yet, please be advised of the spoiler warning later in the post. Happy reading!

First off, hats off to Rebecca Yarros for writing a 600+ page book with the very high pressure of delivering something quality in the time frame she did. Everyone had very high expectations of this book and I congratulate her on a solid sequel to her global hit and first book in The Empyrean series – Fourth Wing.

Fantasy Romance genre addicts, like myself, were eagerly awaiting the release of this book after Fourth Wing left everyone on a well crafted cliff hanger. I was not as into Fourth Wing as some others on #booktok and bookstagram were, but I really enjoyed it as a foundation builder for the series making me very excited for this sequel.

*Spoilers below*

Iron Flame Official Book Synopsis from Entangled: Red Tower Books:

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.

The battle scenes were *chefs kiss*

As a fantasy romance reader who enjoys politics/action scenes heavy in the plot, I thought this book delivered. Also the added world building with more MAGIC and real in DEPTH explanations on how the magic worked in the world was welcomed! I was really missing this in the first book.

World size was perfect

One of my pet peeves of reading fantasy novels is when the author tries to introduce too big of an area to hold the story. An analogy is with superhero stories and how the main character saves the ENTIRE WORLD.

A whole planet is usually too big to cover (depending on the book) and saying that one person or even a group of people are going to save maybe a billion people+, and they are the only people who can do it…it feels like too much.

A continent, a city, even a groups of regions is better, in my opinion, to write about and go in to depth with if you are writing series that is going to be under 7 books.

Xaden’s Obsession with Violet

In fantasy romance books, sometimes authors “tell” the readers how much the main characters are in love and devoted to them versus “showing” the audience. I would have preferred to see a more slow burn of Xaden and Violet’s love play out through this book because they really haven’t been able to know each other in a moment of peace since the first novel. Also, Violet complaining about how she did not trust Xaden every few chapters was tiring towards the end of the book. I wish there was more focus on different aspects of their relationship other than the fact that Xaden was keeping secrets from her for her own benefit.

With this, it sometimes felt as if the love between them was more surface level then what the author was trying to convey. Hopefully, in the next book, the readers will be able to see Xaden and Violet together in moments of mundaneness to showcase their connection in a different light than “fight-or-flight-24/7”.

Need More Side Character POVs

Violet is an extremely solid main character. She is relatable, strong, cunning, and shows what moving forward in the face of adversity looks like for someone with the cards stacked against them. However, it would have been a breath of fresh air at some points for the side characters in her group to showed more angles of the story. This would give Violet more depth and allow the internal monologue of Violet a reprieve.

I hope in the next book we are able to see more from her inner circle and allow their storylines to help give more perspective to the main protagonists struggles as well.

📖 Would I recommend a friend to read this?

Yes! I would recommend a friend to read this book. I believe it is a must read for audiences who enjoy dragons, world building, and edge of your seat action scenes. I look forward to reading the next installment in the series and seeing how Yarros’ writing style progresses.

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