This review contains spoilers for “Fourth Wing” and “Iron Flame.”
“Iron Flame” is a book by Rebecca Yarros that follows “Fourth Wing” in the “Empyreon” series. This was a very much anticipated book that, in my opinion, was disappointing. This book had a lot of plot twists that I did not expect.
“Iron Flame” immediately starts where “Fourth Wing” ends, right after Violet learns her brother, Brennan, is alive after six years of believing he was dead. The book then follows Violet through her second year at the war college, Basgiath. The readers get to watch how Violet and Xaden manage their relationship despite only getting to see each other once a week. The book ends after the revolution brings the wards back up to kill the venin—the evil in the series.
There were a lot of unforeseen plot twists throughout this book. Without going into detail, Chapter 25 holds the most surprising one. The events after involve the union between the dragon riders and the gryphon riders to defeat the venin and save the civilians of Navarre. In my opinion, the cliffhanger at the end was not as tastefully done as it was in “Fourth Wing.” The ending of “Fourth Wing” brought Brennan back to life and made me interested to see how Violet would react. The ending of “Iron Flame” made me want to return the book and pretend this series was never written. If you are expecting a happy ending for Violet and Xaden, do not.
With the characters, they were pretty much stagnant. Throughout the 640 pages, Violet and Xaden had the same argument over and over again. Neither one of them gave in even a little. Violet was mad at Xaden for keeping secrets and then proceeded to do the same thing to her friends. Violet’s character never took a step back to try and understand where Xaden was coming from. On the other hand, Xaden said that all she needed to do was ask questions, but was never forthcoming with information. The dragons, Tarin and Andarna, really carried this book for me. The interactions between Tarin and Violet were fun little comedic relief moments and watching Andarna grow into a “teenager” dragon was adorable. The parts where Tarin has to parent Andarna were my absolute favorite parts.
The pacing of this book was rather slow. I think this book could have done the same thing in 340 pages instead of 640. There was a lot of unnecessary dialogue—mainly between Violet and Xaden having the same argument for the 100th time—and some parts just seemed to drag. It didn’t hold my attention as well as “Fourth Wing.”
Yarros is a fantastic world builder and writer. However, this book did not live up to the hype for me. Violet’s character simply would not grow up and the relationship between her and Xaden is toxic. The ending of the book left no closure for the characters or the readers. With all that being said, it was still a fantastic read and I cannot wait for the third book.