Are you in search of an enthralling and compelling book to read?

Look no further than Iron Flame. This book review will provide an engaging and easy-to-understand overview, helping you decide if this action-packed novel is worth a read.

Iron Flame follows the gripping tale of a young protagonist on a thrilling adventure, filled with mythical creatures, suspense, mystery, and unexpected twists.

The story is sure to keep you turning the pages. So, if you're curious about whether Iron Flame is worth adding to your reading list, then keep reading to find out more!

Just a heads up, Reading Rhapsody could make money from sales or other compensation through any of the links on this page if you purchase something – that’s how I keep afloat! My reviews have been tweaked to ensure they are both concise and clear. Nevertheless, all opinions in this article are my own.

Book Details

My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

Title: Iron Flame

Author: Rebecca Yarros (Bestselling Author)

Publication Date: November 7, 2023

Genre: New Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Romance

The Empyrean Series: Book 2

Other Books in the Series: Fourth Wing (Series not completed)

Spice Level: 5. There are 3 open-door scenes. (spicy chapters are 12, 27, 37, and 48 in case you want to skip).

If you are curious about how I rate spiciness in books go here.

*Note: If you enjoy immersive historical fiction with strong, independent heroines, emotionally charged love stories, and elements of fantasy and adventure, you will likely be drawn to "Iron Flame" by Rebecca Yarros. This book weaves together forbidden love, and high-stakes quests in wartime settings, making it a compelling read for fans of multi-faceted storytelling and intricate world-building.

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Plot Synopsis

Violet Sorrengail faced the expected challenges at Basgiath War College, but surviving Threshing was just the beginning. Now, the rigorous and brutal training tests her limits, especially with a new vice commandant determined to show her powerlessness.

Despite her weaker body, Violet relies on her intelligence and strong will. Yet, this year holds a deeper secret at Basgiath, and even her determination may not be sufficient. As dragon riders navigate their own rules, Violet realizes that the hidden truth could jeopardize everything, and not even dragon fire might save them in the end.

Spoiler Free Review

One of the best things about the book is how it reveals secrets slowly. It's like a puzzle that gets pieced together, just like the main character, Violet, discovers things. This made me curious, and I couldn't stop reading.

The characters, especially Violet and her squad (and Tairn and Andarna!), became my favorites. I got attached to them, and I worried about what might happen to them. There are some funny moments, thanks to Ridoc and Sawyer, which add a nice touch to the story. However, I didn't like that Violet kept secrets, especially from her best friend Rhiannon. It made me feel a bit uneasy because their friendship is a big deal.

The other characters in the story, like Imogen, Mira, Sloane, Jesenia, and Maren, have unique personalities that make the story interesting. There's also some drama between Violet and Xaden, which got a bit frustrating. I kept hoping they'd just talk and sort things out, but I guess it adds drama to their relationship.

While the story is exciting, there are times when it gets a bit confusing. Keeping track of all the relationships and secrets can be a bit tricky. Some parts could have been simpler to make it easier to follow.

Despite some confusing moments, I stayed hooked because I wanted to know what would happen next. The mix of characters you love and those you don't create a good balance. I'm looking forward to the next book to see where the story goes. 

In-Depth Review

Attention: This review contains spoilers. If you want to avoid plot details, please proceed with caution. This is an in-depth review and includes detailed information about the storyline.

Plot Summary:

Iron Flame picks up immediately after the events of Fourth Wing. Following a Venin attack on the Basgiath War College outpost, Violet recovers in Aretia, Tyrrendor Province. Her world is turned upside down: Xaden, her love, is part of a secret rebellion; her brother, Brennan, thought dead, leads the rebellion; and Venin, a dark magic-wielder, threatens the Continent. Navarre hides the truth to protect their people behind magic wards.

Brennan and Xaden keep Violet in the dark about the rebellion's details. Violet distances herself until Xaden is fully honest. Andarna undergoes Dreamless Sleep, while Violet and her peers graduate. Threatened by Colonel Aetos, they keep silent about venin. Violet reveals the truth to her friends. As the second year starts, Violet faces challenges, hidden venin attacks, and strained trust with Xaden.

Keeping secrets becomes harder. Violet tells Rhiannon about Dain's signet and the deaths of Athebyne survivors—Aaric supports fighting venin. The group plans to steal journals from the Archives, but Violet is caught and tortured by Varrish. Dain helps her escape. Truth is revealed; 200 cadets and dragons desert to Aretia. Violet learns to control her lightning but struggles with warding rituals.

She goes to Cordyn for the luminary, facing challenges, alliances, and betrayals. Violet retranslates journals with Dain's help. The wards are activated but prove faulty. Jesenia is recruited to translate Lyra's journal.  Xaden's second signet is discovered. General Melgren seeks Aretia's aid against Venin. Violet and Xaden mend their relationship. Basgiath is attacked, and the wards fall due to Jack. Violet gathers dragons for a ritual after Jesenia reveals important info from Lyra's journal and realizes the truth about Andarna. General Sorrengail sacrifices herself to activate the ward stone, causing Venin to flee. After the battle, Violet finds Xaden turned venin.

My Thoughts:

I liked how the fantasy world was set up in the story. The magic, dragons, and political twists made it all very interesting. The idea of venin, these dark magic users connected to the earth and wyverns, added a cool and mysterious element to the plot.

Discovering a hidden rebellion, family secrets, and erased history added a lot of layers to the story, keeping me interested. The relationships between Violet, Brennan, Mira, and General Sorrengail were well done, and the conflicts they faced, both personal and external, made the story more engaging.

However, I got a bit frustrated with how the characters kept secrets from each other. I get that it adds suspense, but it felt like important information was being kept back just for plot twists. The struggle for honesty between Violet and Xaden created tension, but I wished they were more open with each other.

Sometimes, the way secrets were revealed made the story feel a bit confusing. Also, the pacing seemed to change a lot, with really intense action scenes followed by slower parts. While this can be good for variety, a more consistent pace might make it easier to follow.

I loved Andarna and Tairn the most as characters, but Violet started to grow on me in this book. In the first book, I wasn't a big fan of her, but her strength during the torture scene showed her development and loyalty. I also really enjoyed the female characters like Jesenia, Maren, and Sloane because of their unique personalities.

I found the explicit intimate scenes to be a distraction, and it seemed like they were included just to cater to people who enjoy that content. However, I felt that these scenes didn't contribute much to the overall plot. As a result, I often found myself skimming or skipping them to get to the main storyline.

Despite these things, I'm still interested in seeing how the characters grow and what happens next. The mix of magic, characters, and political twists makes the story promising and enjoyable.

Thanks for reading!