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A pop culture phenomenon or another remake mash-up

“Iron Flame” has the fan girls screaming but is it worth the hype.
Heather Sherrill

Rebecca Yarros created her first mainstream series after writing and publishing 20 other books.

The Empyrean series currently has two of the five planned books published. “Fourth Wing” was the start of this success and was published in May 2023.

The second book “Iron Flame” came out six months later in November and sold more than a half a million copies in its first week.

While I want to give Yarros’s “Iron Flame” five stars, I can’t justify giving another fast fashion book a rating it doesn’t really deserve.

It struggles with pacing issues, grammatical errors, predictable tropes and a love triangle that will work your nerves the longer it goes on. Not to mention they had hundreds of misprint copies sold.

The hardcover had many problems. Some copies printed with the title as “Fourth Wing” instead of “Iron Flame.” Others had the spine of the book upside down, as well as the map on the inside or the pages were in the wrong order.

Publishing books this fast affects the quality of the writing, the story’s meaning, and in this case even the printing of the book itself.

“Fourth Wing” became a viral phenomenon during its opening week because creators in the TikTok subgenre, BookTok, used hashtags such as #FourthWing and #RebeccaYarros more than a billion times.

This caused it to jump to the top of the charts and led to the second book coming out so quickly and a TV series already in the works.

Authors such as B.K. Borrison, Tarah Dewitt, Sarah Adams and so many more have gotten publishing deals from some of the biggest names in the industry thanks to BookToks that spotlighted these books.

While Yarros had already started working on “Iron Flame,” it definitely feels like authors and publishers are taking advantage of a BookTok algorithm to publish more hits than creating actual literary masterpieces.

That is not to say that I didn’t absolutely love the book, but you can devour something and still wish for it to be better and not so predictable. That is why so many have called “Iron Flame” the next fast fashion piece of BookTok.

This romantasy is a mix of “Game of Thrones,” “The Hunger Games,” “A Court of Thorns and Roses,” “Harry Potter” and more.

While I love that it has a little mix of everything, the lack of mystery and the poor writing made it overly predictable and the characters unlikable.

The relationship between Violet and Xaden made me want to pull my hair out. They may be in their 20s, but they act like they are kindergarten love birds who can’t decide whether to trust each other and commit to their relationship or call it off.

Because of this the first 100 pages or so are beyond annoying and a little bit pointless.

Another problem I had with “Iron Flame” is that Yarros messed up the Gaelic language.  She should have taken the time to research or hire someone to fact check before rushing into another publication.

While she apologized in many interviews, this is one of those avoidable problems if only publishers checked their work.

“Iron Flame” ended on a huge cliffhanger. While I would like to think I do not know what is going to happen, I can see this series continuing down the predictable trope it has left me on.

Unfortunately, “Iron Flame”  was not the 5 star rating I was hoping it would be.

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