Series Name: The Empyrean # 2

Review By Veronica

The next installment of The Empyrean series is going to take you on one wild unforgettable ride.

Favourite Quote:

Tairn lands on the wall behind us, his wings flaring so wide one nearly touches the dormitory as he takes out the top row of stones next to the parapet. First-years scream, running for their lives.

“Tairn!” I shout with more than a little relief, but there’s no breaking through the absolute fury coursing through him. My attention whips back and forth between Tarin and the dragons behind the dais.

The wingleaders’ dragons all rear back, including Cath, but Solas holds his ground, his tongue curling when Tairn chest expands.

“You do not have the right to burn what is mine.” His words consume all my mental pathways as Tairn lets loose an earth-shattering roar in Solas’s direction. Everyone slams their hands over their ears, including me, my entire body vibrating with the sound, hot air blasting the back of my neck.

The wingleaders’ dragons take a step to the side of the wall as the roar ends, away from the Pragne Daggertail, but Solas stands firm, his eye narrowing to a golden slit.

“Holy shit,” Nadine whispers

That about sums it up.

Goodreads Synopsis: 

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 am obsessed with this series. It’s just so well done, and Rebecca has created this world that is so addictive and entertaining. I always get nervous when reading the second book in a series, especially when the first book rocked my world. I am happy to say that Iron Flame doesn’t suffer from second-book syndrome. The overall plot line may not move as fast as it did in the first book, but there is still a lot of action, intrigue, romance, and excitement to keep readers entertained. For readers who haven’t read the first book yet, don’t read this review because there are spoilers from that book below. You have been warned. 

This book picks up right where the first book ends. Plenty of major secrets were revealed at the end of the first book. Violet learns that the rebellion is alive and well and hiding in a city that was supposed to be destroyed years ago. Venin and wyvern not only exist but have been attacking cities along the kingdom’s border; the government and Violet’s mom know about their existence. And finally, it turns out her brother, Brennan, is alive, and he is also one of the leaders in the rebellion. At the beginning of this book, Violet tries to come to terms with everything she learned from the previous book. She also has to figure out where her relationship with Xaden stands now that she knows he has been lying to her all this time. But the one thing she knows for sure is that she wants to help destroy the Venin and wyvern before they kill more people. 

A lot is going on in this book. You have Violet and the rebellion trying to gather resources to combat the Venin threat. There is a lot of cloak-and-dagger stuff happening with the rebellion, and Violet has to ensure that the government and those who run the school don’t catch on to what they are doing. Then there is Violet and her friends, who are still in school training to become dragon riders. If things weren’t tough enough for them, a new enemy within the school targets Violet and is determined to break her. And finally, there is the relationship between Violet and Xaden, which has hit a bit of a rough patch. Violet refuses to be in a relationship with Xaden unless he can be completely honest with her.  

I really enjoyed the flow and feel of this book; every element was balanced perfectly, and it makes for an entertaining read. Rebecca does a great job at expanding the world she has created in a cohesive and interesting manner. I always felt that I had all the tools I needed to understand what was going on. I adored all the dragon elements that were present in this story. We get a small glimpse into the secret dragon world that just leaves you wanting more. I enjoyed the relationship between Andarna and Tairn, which has become this reluctant father- and teenage-daughter relationship. A teenage Andarna can be pretty moody at times, and I loved it. 

Not only does the world expand, but so do the characters that interact with that world. I loved all the continued character development in this book. One of the reasons why I love book series so much is because you get to spend a lot of time with these characters. You get to watch them grow and develop a deeper connection with them. Violet’s circle of friends grows in this book, and it was wonderful watching all these different relationships develop.  

Violet and Xaden’s relationship once again has this rocky feel to it. There is a lot of delicious tension that is being built up between these two for the first half of this book. They are kind of on a break. Violet doesn’t know if she can trust Xaden with her heart, especially if he is unwilling to be 100% honest with her going forward. For Xaden, there are things that Violet cannot know about the rebellion, but he also wants to prove to Violet that he loves her and would do anything for her. It takes a bit for these two to work out their issue, but when they finally do, there are lots of spicy moments that fans love and, of course, want. I loved every moment between these two. Their relationship just checks off all those romance boxes for me. 

Iron Flame is an action-packed fantasy full of lusty romance and, of course, dragons.