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The highly anticipated “Iron Flame” by Rebecca Yarros, is a thrilling sequel to “The Fourth Wing” and should be on your never-ending book recommendations list.

No one thought Violet Sorgiell would make it out alive of the first year at Basgiath War College.  Now starting year two, Violet has to navigate the real training, which is meant to break riders. 

The year is meant to stretch out the rider’s endurance for pain beyond tolerance and it is grueling. And on top of that, the new vice commandant has made it his mission to show Violet how powerless she can be. However, leadership keeps forgetting the most important rule they taught the cadets: “Dragon riders make their own rules.”

Violet has an iron will and she is determined to make it through the year. But determination alone will not be enough to survive after uncovering the secrets the leadership was hiding. 

The sequel picks up right where the first book ended and the plot quickly moves through the rest of the novel. The readers find themselves following Violet through the second year in Basgiath War College, where she uncovers secrets and fights to save all of Navarre. 

After a hit introduction to a series, the second book can be the “dreaded sequel” where the author either hooks the readers for the rest of the ride or manages to lose the momentum started. The second book in The Empyrean series had a lot to live up to and “Iron Flame” not only lived up to the hype started by its predecessor but leaves the readers wanting more.

The book came highly recommended on TikTok and it seemed like every other book recommendation on the “For You Page” was “Iron Flame.” While the book has over 600 pages, the plot is quick-paced and moves smoothly throughout the novel. 

Yarros not only drives the plot forward but manages to develop her characters adding to their backstories to make the book even more enjoyable. The dialogue flowed easily between the characters and their bond was evident throughout the novel. 

The sequel also gives the chance for readers to learn more about the dragons in Navarre and spend more time with Violet’s dragons Tairn and Andarna. The dragon’s sassy and sarcastic dialogues throughout the novel stole the show. 

A big plot of the second book revolves around Violet and Xaden’s relationship. While the book isn’t primarily considered a romance, readers took a quick liking to the couple and it became a fan favorite. 

Sometimes fantasy authors can struggle to create a balance between the importance given to the plot driving the book forward and the romance. Especially if the book is not centered around romance. Yarros manages to balance the plot but also has a healthy mix of romance to entice the readers. 

If you enjoy quick-paced fantasy novels with found family, dragons and witty dialogue, The Empyrean series is a perfect fit for you. 

The third book in the series, “Onyx Storm” is due to come out in January 2025. 

Some trigger warnings include: explicit scenes, cursing, torture attempted murder, war themes, death and the death of a parent on and off page.

I will leave you with this quote from the book and a song lyric that will convince you to read the book if I haven’t already.

“I’m a princess cut from marble, smoother than a storm. And the scars that mark my body, they’re silver and gold.” – Yellow Flicker Beat, Lorde

“Violence, remember it’s only the body that’s fragile. You are unbreakable.”― Xaden

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