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Read this Iron Flame review to discover whether it’s just hype, or if there is magic within its pages. The much-anticipated fantasy book sequel in the Fourth Wing book series by Rebecca Yarros is a bestselling sensation. You’ll learn the pros and cons, as well as whether it’s worth it. So, let’s “fire” it up!

iron flame by rebecca yarros in front of a fireplace.

Iron Flame Review: An Analysis of Fourth Wing Book 2

In this Iron Flame review, you’ll find a quick plot summary (without spoilers), the pros and cons of the book and, finally, whether it lived up to its hype.

My review: 4 out of 5 stars

One of the bestselling books of the year. While the world-building in the first half makes for a slower read, the action takes off and never stops in the second half.

Iron Flame Summary (Without Spoilers)

  • Release Date: November 7, 2023

Iron Flame is a long and epic sequel that spans two parts:

  • Part I: a slower-paced one dedicated primarily to character introductions, history telling, and fantasy world-building
  • Part II: a fast-paced action-packed battle of numerous forms against dark wielders

It begins where the shocking finale of the first book left off. Violet learns more about the big surprise that was dropped in the final pages.

Thereafter, Xaden graduates from Basgiath War College and heads to battle. Violet begins her second year, undergoing brutal training like interrogations.

Meanwhile, first years like Liam’s younger sister Sloane arrive for Conscription Day. Violet conducts intense and secretive research about all the shocking revelations she’s learned and what can be done about them.

This all sets the stage for more action and surprises than you can imagine. It all leads to another shocking ending that leaves you wanting more. It’s a more difficult read in many regards, including its length, details, and pacing, but it is just as immersive.


Iron Flame Pros and Cons

PROS


  • Immersive
  • Surprising
  • The kind of book you want to re-read
  • Leaves you wanting more
  • Character redemptions

First, let’s talk about the pros of Iron Flame. While I was immersed in Fourth Wing, I was possibly even more immersed in Iron Flame — I think because I am already so bonded to the fantasy world and the characters. At times, I felt so immersed that I was actually tired from just reading about the action-packed adventures!

Part of what made Fourth Wing such a sensation was its surprising plot twists, and Iron Flame arguably delivered even more of those. There are several huge revelations and deaths in the last 100 pages or so, including another shocking cliffhanger at the end of Iron Flame. This is exactly what the reader of such an epic saga hopes for.

Rebecca Yarros has called herself a meticulous plotter of her books, and it shows. This book was very much about providing information. There are so many Easter eggs and hints that I just want to go back and read it all again, so I can better predict Iron Flame theories for book 3, Onyx Storm. It’s so rare that I want to do this, and I almost never do!

Lastly, I loved the fact that a few of the characters had redemptions. I just enjoyed these character arcs, especially since they were surprising.

CONS


  • Very long (600-900 pages depending on your format/edition)
  • Miscommunications between Xaden and Violet
  • Lots of info dumping in Part I
  • Details can be hard to understand
  • Pacing is really slow then really fast
  • Dragons take a bit of a backseat
  • Plot holes

Iron Flame is not a perfect book, but it’s especially hard to make a sequel “as good as” the original story that captured our hearts. The struggles I had with this book were, indeed, also shared in many other book reviews.

First, Iron Flame is extremely long, and Part I especially involves massive amounts of info dumping. This made it slow at times and hard to understand. I read it over the course of two weeks and took 700 notes, and I was still confused at times. With so many characters, I especially found it hard sometimes to know who or what Yarros was talking about.

(This is what I get for complaining about not having enough historical context in my review of Fourth Wing.)

I definitely wish less important details were left out, such as the details of characters who only appear once. The reader would be able to focus on the core plot — which is already a lot to learn in its own right.

While it was to be expected that Xaden and Violet would experience some conflict, it was also annoying at times to be around our beloved couple as they continued to bicker and miscommunicate.

Lastly, it was a bit of a bummer that the dragons were more in the background than they were in Fourth Wing because they are so much fun! That being said, I have an inkling we will get much more from them now that the fantasy world has really been built in Iron Flame.

Iron Flame vs. Fourth Wing

If you’re wondering what the similarities and differences are between Iron Flame and Fourth Wing, let me break it down for you.

Similarities in Fourth Wing and Iron Flame

  • incredibly immersive
  • surprising plot twists
  • memorable characters
  • lots of magic
  • epic cliffhangers
  • meaningful themes about war, information, and power

Differences in Iron Flame

  • longer
  • slower-paced in the first half
  • less focused on dragons
  • a bit less focused on romance (there is more conflict than communication here)
  • more details and information about the fantasy world
  • threats of war are more prevalent

Differences in Fourth Wing

  • faster pace throughout
  • shows the personalities of the dragons more
  • more tension for the budding relationship between Xaden and Violet
  • more focus on surviving the year at Basgiath War College than winning a war

Is the Book Iron Flame Worth Reading?

Does Iron Flame live up to the hype?

The answer to that penultimate question is a resounding yes. It’s always a challenge for a sequel to be anywhere near as good as the original. But, Iron Flame moves the overarching story forward while giving us so much that we loved about Fourth Wing, from magic to dragons, spice, plot twists, a cliffhanger, and more.

It’s longer, slower (at first), and somewhat harder to read, but 100% worth it for fans of Fourth Wing, especially if you love to look for Easter eggs and theorize about what will happen next.

But, don’t just take my word for it. At the time of posting Iron Flame has a rating of 4.37 out of 5 stars on GoodReads (870,000+ ratings).

I also polled my Instagram followers, and here’s how they rated Iron Flame:

Stars (out of Five)Ranking
1 or 210%
30%
457%
533%

Overview of the Empyrean Series and Author Rebecca Yarros

about

Rebecca Yarros is a graduate of Troy University and an American author of over fifteen books. She is best known for her bestselling dragon fantasy romance books in the Empyrean series, including Fourth Wing and Iron Flame. She will serve as the executive producer of the Amazon adaptation.

She and her husband co-founded the charity One October to improve the lives of kids in foster care.

More by this author: In the Likely Event is another popular choice with readers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Iron Flame worth reading?

Yes. Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros is worth reading if you are interested in fantasy romance novels and/or popular books. It’s both immersive and suspenseful.

Is Fourth Wing or Iron Flame better?

Fourth Wing is better than Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros. Iron Flame is longer and more dense. There is also less romance, and the beloved character Andarna is featured less.

Does Iron Flame have romance?

Yes. Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros has spicy romance in chapters 12, 27, 37, and 48.

What is the plot of Iron Flame?

Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros unfolds in two parts. The first focuses on world-building, while the second is driven by action-packed sequences against dark wielders (Venin). Both parts unravel the first book’s cliffhanger, and it ends on another shocking cliffhanger.

Does Iron Flame end on a cliffhanger?

Yes. The ending of Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros includes many shocking twists, including deaths and revelations. It particularly leaves open questions about what will become of Xaden in the next book in the Empyrean fantasy romance series.

Conclusion

This Iron Flame review analyzed a magical book recommendation. This sequel lives up to the hype! As noted, it moves the overarching story forward while giving us so much that we loved about Fourth Wing, from magic to dragons, spice, plot twists, a cliffhanger, and more.

It’s longer, slower (at first), and somewhat harder to read. But, it’s 100% worth it for fans of Fourth Wing, especially if you love to look for Easter eggs and theorize about what will happen next.

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