Iron Flame by Rebecca Yarros Book Review

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“The first year is when some of us lose our lives. The second year is when the rest of us lose our humanity.” —Xaden Riorson

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.

The Empyrean series is best enjoyed in order.

Sensitive Content

Here is the potentially sensitive content I observed while reading this book:

  • Ableism
  • Animal Death
  • Blood
  • Death
  • Gore
  • Grief
  • Injury
  • Misogyny
  • Murder
  • Poisoning
  • Profanity
  • Sexually Explicit Scenes
  • Torture
  • Violence
  • War


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There are possible **SPOILERS** beyond this point!

Overall Rating

3.75/5 ⭐️⭐️⭐️✨

Overall, I did enjoy Iron Flame. I loved how strong Violet was in the face of adversity and violence. Her reflection and introspection was interesting and insightful into the world here. I loved how much she cared for her friends and Xaden. Her dragon, Tairn, is my favorite! I love how grumbly and also reassuring he is. I also lived for snarky lil Andarna! The dragon relationships were unique and added a really interesting element to this story that makes this book memorable for me. Xaden is also my favorite! I love him and I love how he is with Violet because it’s a softness reserved just for her.

I have been looking forward to this book since Forth Wing came out! I love the dragons and the representation and though many don’t love the language I feel that it’s very accessible for individuals who aren’t a fan of the traditional way in which fantasy books are written. I like the modern language style. These books I feel are very much so coded for romance readers and not really for primarily fantasy readers. I enjoyed the twists and reveals of this book and my emotions definitely ran high with this book. Rebecca does not care about your feelings! She will kill off anyone!!

I do feel that there is a lot of information that seemed extraneous and could have been left out. While I received some of the answers I was looking for, this book did not answer the questions I really wanted. There were many new subplots and even more questions that occurred in this book that were unnecessary. For a fantasy romance, a lot of romance was missing. I wanted way more time with Violet and Xaden together but they spent way too much time apart from each other for me. Violet is revered for her brain but she misses some simple logic in the problems she faces. There was also so many characters introduced who serve only for shock value when RY ultimately kills off everyone. I get the shock is entertaining but I would rather have my heart strings be pulled for the main couple and not miscellaneous side characters. Xaden and Violet’s relationship issues were really cyclical and it wasn’t a lot of growth forward as they circled through the same problem over and over again. I was frustrated.

Will I read the next book, of course. Would I recommend this book, yes. Am I obsessed with this book as much as Fourth Wing? Eh.

Spice Rating

3/5 🌶️🌶️🌶️

There were several open door scenes, very minimal innuendo throughout.

Genre & Tropes


Fantasy Romance


  • He Falls First
  • Found Family
  • Man Obsessed
  • Will They?/Won’t They?
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Favorite Quotes

“You are the first and only woman I’ve ever loved.”

“You’re powerful and he loves you”


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