Iron Flame: Empyrean, Book 2 by Rebecca Yarros
Narrated by Rebecca Soler with Teddy Hamilton
Romantic Fantasy, Book 2 of 5. Must be read in order.
“The first year is when some of us lose our lives. The second year is when the rest of us lose our humanity.”
I absolutely devoured Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros. Right before this release, I re-listened to Fourth Wing and I’m so glad I did. That was almost 50 hours total listening to this series and I loved every second. I do not read a lot of fantasy, and I usually don’t love reading about college-age kids, but this series has grabbed me and I’m hooked. I can’t wait to listen to them both again before the third release. I didn’t know this was a 5 book series going in, so I thought it would end here which contributed to me not being able to put it down. Had I known, I may have taken a break to nap!
“I will not die today,” I whisper to myself.”
Fourth Wing, the first book, was basically perfect. Iron Flame started with a bit of a sophomore slump but quickly became a story I couldn’t stop listening to, especially the second half. When I first finished Iron Flame I was ready to give it 5 stars. But as I look at my notes and write my review I realize I had more in my dislikes than my likes.
For me, the romance is third in importance, or maybe even fourth, after the dragons, the fighting, and the side characters. Violet and Xaden had a lot of drama in the first half—he didn’t tell her things, she gets mad, and he says she didn’t ask. Over and over. It kind of got a little old and I felt like they were starting to get a little toxic, but that all changed pretty quickly.
“I will happily watch Aretia burn to the fucking ground again if it means you live.”
A LOT was going on in part 2 and it seemed like the whole world was in Violet’s hands. It was good to see her starting to rely on her friends a little more in the end but I worry—how much more can this poor girl take? She sure has a doozy coming for her in the next book!
I kind of felt as if there were “episodes” built into the story, maybe because it is being made into a TV series. It felt like the group would have different challenges they would beat then move on to the next, scarier challenge. Some of these felt almost like filler, I’m not sure how much they all advance the story.
Iron Flame was INTENSE but the dragons add a little lightness and humor when it’s sorely needed.
“Scratch her eyes out,” Andarna suggests. “Really. The eyes are the softest tissue. Just jab your thumbs in there—” “Andarna! Use some common sense,” Tairn snaps. “The kneecaps are a much easier target.”
“Good idea. I could use a snack.” Andarna’s tone is indecently excited.
“We do not eat our allies,” Tairn lectures.
“You never let me have any fun.”
The spicy scenes were lacking in this book compared to the first, but I think that’s because they were fighting so much and the world was crumbling around them. I also found some of the story a little hard to follow because so much research AND action is going on at the same time. There is a LOT of info in this book.
- I love those dragons so much! Tairn and Andarna are just the best! They were snarkier and even better in this installment.
- Xaden. ‘Nuff said.
- Violet is growing and gaining self-confidence again.
- The secondary characters just keep getting better. I especially love Rhi but I love the whole group.
- So thrilling and exciting you never want to stop.
- You don’t know who will live or die. I don’t doubt Rebecca will kill another favorite.
- Holy cow, that end!
- There are a LOT of characters to keep straight.
- I missed Andarna the first half.
- Violet and Xaden fought about the same stuff too much.
- It felt episodic (see above for more on that), and I felt like a good 100 pages or maybe 5 hours could have been edited out for an even more exciting book.
The first day I listened all day and my phone died so I had to switch to my Kindle immediately. Apparently, I can hear way clearer on my Kindle because there were so many mouth noises and swallows you could hear! There was awful post production.
She also used the same voice for Zayden and Tairn (even more so as the book progressed) which often confused me when she was hearing the voice in her mind. Until they distinguished who was speaking I couldn’t tell. Otherwise, the narration was fabulous. She was amazing at all the different voices and the excitement, terror, and passion the characters felt.