Iron Flame is one of the most hyped books of the last decade. The absolute storm that was Fourth Wing meant that when Iron Flame was announced and coming up to its release, a lot of the online bookish community was getting excited. It was the first book in a long time that had book shops across the country doing midnight launches for god sake!
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However, following up a book that so many people absolutely adored with a sequel that equals if not betters it is always going to be a huge struggle for an author. I think the fact it came out quite close to the original weighs both in its favour and against it.
It was a good idea for Yarros and the publisher to write and release quite soon after the first because it allowed Yarros to keep her writing flow going and allowed her to keep a vivid idea of the world and direction in her head. It also meant that the book itself still had lots of hype when it came to the original book so sales were guaranteed to be high.
However, releasing so soon also may highlight a lack of editing when it comes to the book. There have been some criticisms of the pacing of the book which editing would have helped sort and some criticised the length of it too, stating that there’s a bit of filler.
However, you’re here for my thoughts, not those of others, so let’s delve into what Luke’s Blog thinks of Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros!
Iron Flame plot 4/5
I noted that the plot of Fourth Wing was strong but that it did also suffer slightly by some awful unnecessary “smut”. Iron Flame is nothing stronger in parts and weaker in others.
The actual story itself very much feels like the middle of a series of books if that makes sense. The story focuses (without spoiling too much) on the idea of a larger war coming to Navarrios and how Violet and her team are going to help defend their home from such war.
Therefore, it never really feels like it gets going and so you by the end of the novel you do have a sense of it being unfinished and that it’s building up to greater things.
I know this is exactly what it’s doing but I don’t believe a good sequel should ever feel like the middle of a series. If you look at the the likes of The Chamber of Secrets or any works by Brandon Sanderson or George R R Martin – none of these feel like they’re a story set in the middle of a story.
However, the story itself is still quite gripping for the most part. It opens up the world a little more, introduces new characters and keeps you interested in enough in the politics and what is happening to make a third book still enticing enough to read.
Iron Flame characters 4.25/5
I feel like I could almost copy and paste my review of the characters from Fourth Wing into this area. The characters in Iron Flame are mostly the same – Violet is a little more dislikable in this one as she spends a lot of her time upset and so brings the tone of her personality down. She’s also completely obsessed with Xaden which is dull because their chemistry is about as deep as a puddle.
A positive would be that because you’ve had more time as the reader to get to know the characters by name, actions and choices that you’ve formed stronger opinions of them. This means the likes of Sawyer and Rhiannon are more enjoyable as we know their loyalty to Violet and so are a breath of fresh air during the more tense moments of the book.
However there really isn’t much comedy in any of the characters other than some cheesy lines by the characters that feel a bit like teenage banter.
Generally the characters are enjoyable enough to not be a detriment to the story but they’re not going to be the reason you read these books.
Iron Flame final rating – 4.25/5
Iron Flame does everything a sequel should – it expands the world, introduces new characters and gives you enough reason to carry on reading the forthcoming books in the series. The pacing of the plot is a little questionable and unfortunately it ends up feeling a bit like a filler book for the rest of the series but it does just do enough to keep my interest peaked and have me wanting to read the third book.
If you enjoyed Fourth Wing, you’ll likely find enough here to enjoy Iron Flame too. If you were hoping for one of those sequels that grows your expectations of what this series could be, you may come away a little deflated. I enjoyed it, I did. It just has a lot more to give.