The Iron Flower by Laurie Forest

the iron flower by laurie forestSummary:

Elloren Gardner and her friends were only seeking to right a few wrongs, but their actions have propelled them straight into the ranks of the realm-wide Resistance against Gardnerian encroachment. As the Resistance struggles against the harsh rulings of High Priest Marcus Vogel and the Mage Council, Elloren begins to realize that none of the people she cares about will be safe if Gardneria seizes control of the Western Realm.

With tensions heating up in Verpacia, more and more Gardnerian soldiers continue to descend upon the university…led by none other than Lukas Grey, now commander of the newly rebuilt Fourth Division base. Though Elloren tries to keep him at arm’s length, Lukas is determined to wandfast to her, convinced that she has inherited her grandmother’s magic—the prophesied power of the Black Witch. As his very nearness seems to awaken a darkness inside her, Elloren finds it more and more difficult to believe that she’s truly powerless, as her uncle always claimed.

Caught between her growing feelings for the rebellious Yvan Guriel and the seductive power offered by Lukas Grey, Elloren must find a way to stay true to what she knows is right and protect everyone she loves…even if that means protecting them from herself.

Review: 4 Stars

This sequel was exactly what I wanted. Where The Black Witch was about characters having their eyes opened and changing their ways, The Iron Flower was about rebellion. Elloren and her friends fight against Elloren’s native country, joining the resistance. The first novel focused a lot more on character development as it set the scene for this series, where this novel focused more on action and relationships.

The characters I grew to love returned in this sequel with different obstacles to overcome. The Western Realm is beginning to fall to Gardnerian control and anyone who isn’t Gardnerian is no longer safe. Elloren and her friends struggle to fight against insurmountable odds and the possibility of mass genocide. I loved reading about these characters as they fight for what is right with extreme bravery and protect each other with fierce loyalty.

“Please, don’t tell me that everything will be all right.” He holds up a hand as she starts to speak. “Because nothing is all right. Nothing in this entire world is all right.”

The Iron Flower returns to the same world as the first book, but also shines light on some places and races that we hadn’t seen in the first book, like the Amaz. The politics of the different countries are a large part of this novel and it’s plot, even more so than the first book. While in the first book it was more bearable in this one I did find the politics to be a little overwhelming and a bit dull. There was just a bit too much of it for my taste.

The relationship between Yvan and Elloren is probably about as star-crossed as it gets. Elloren’s conservative Aunt keeps trying to push her towards Lukas Grey and Elloren is conflicted on if she should follow her heart and be with Yvan or if she should be with Lukas for the political advantage that it might have. There are so many reasons that Yvan and Elloren can’t or shouldn’t be together, but their relationship grows in spite of adversity and difficulties.

This epic fantasy brings hope to anyone who has ever tried to fight for what is right, It is a beautifully imagined fantasy world, full of cruel, prejudiced people. While the book is incredibly entertaining it also sends a message to fight against hate and to fight for the people that you care about. I love these characters because they are fiercely loyal to one another and take care of their friends like family. This story shows that even if you come from hate you can learn to fight for love, and focuses on values like loyalty and bravery.

Power changes everything.

“This is bigger than just us,” Yvan says. “If no one steps forward to fight, they’ll win.”

But could we actually do it? Could we harness our power and help take down the Gardnerians and the Alfsigr and any and all of their allies?

One thing I didn’t like in this book was the affinity lines. Affinity lines are an internal connection to elemental magic. When Elloren talked about her affinity lines of magic, it was something she felt inside of her. It didn’t feel tangible. Invisible magic doesn’t really feel like magic to me, and while this was mentioned in the first book it wasn’t really focused on until the second book. Another thing that bothered me was that I felt that some moments did not have enough emotional tension built up. The way I love these characters I felt like certain scenes could have made me cry, but they fell a little flat to me.

I really grew attached to these characters and I will follow them through the rest of the series, but I do feel like this book suffers a little bit from second-book-syndrome. I loved the first book for the character development and since I already knew the characters this book focused more on action, which is done well but didn’t blow me out of the water like the first book did. I would recommend this series for anyone who likes epic fantasies or enjoys immersing themselves in fantasy worlds.

If you want to read my review of The Black Witch click here!

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