Whew, it’s definitely been…a week. Monday and Tuesday were fairly chill, but then Wednesday rolled around. I was having such a good day, feeling really accomplished and proud of myself, and then everything sort of crumbled around me. The details are rather personal, so I’d rather not divulge, but my general state just took a nosedive. I’m slowly recovering, but everything still feels…heavy. Definitely not the ideal mood for a long weekend, but here we are.
But things are looking up a little bit. I found a few gems in my library holds, and I’m slowly digging into both the books I preordered over the summer that came in the mail a week ago. (Marie Lu: the cure for all that ails you. I rest my case, your honor.) I’ve been making a lot of art, but my mental state definitely made me fall behind on outlining for NaNoWriMo again. I’m slowly catching up on Fargo, finished up Raised By Wolves (@ Ridley Scott EXCUSE ME WHAT WAS THAT ENDING SIR EXPLAIN YOURSELF), and watched The Shining for the first time. Had some weird dreams about Six of Crows too, so there’s that…
Here’s hoping that next week picks up…I mean, I’ve got Memento to look forward to, and The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is FINALLY ready at the library…
Ever since I read The Black Witch back in May, I’ve been ITCHING to read the sequel. Of course, it wasn’t available on the Kindle library (*sniffle*), but now that my local library has started curbside appointments, I was able to get back into the library haul routine–and pick up a few sequels and anticipated books, including this one! And I must say, The Iron Flower did not disappoint in the least!
Enjoy this week’s review!
WARNING: This review may contain spoilers for book 1, The Black Witch, so proceed with caution! If you’d like to read my review of book 1, click here!
The veneer has been lifted from Elloren’s cushioned life, and now, she is neck-deep in the Resistance, hoping to restore peace and equality to the magical races of Erthia. High Priest Vogel has won the election, and now he rules with an iron fist, stealing massive swaths of land and bringing racial tensions to a fever pitch. Elloren and her friends are caught in a grand search for peace, trying to find solace for the ones that the Gardnerian government targets most, and rescue others from a fate worse than death. And Lukas Grey, the new commander of the Gardnerian army and the boy who her aunt wishes to Wandfast her to, has grown closer still, but Elloren is pulled away by Yvan, an enemy-turned-ally and a staunch member of the resistance. Both seem to awaken something in her–something that hints that she may not be as powerless as she has been led to believe.
Can Elloren and the Resistance protect themselves–and the world they seek to restore to harmony?
“Mage Council Ruling #271: Smuggling Selkies or spirits across the Gardnerian border shall be grounds for imprisonment.”
[“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” theme blaring]
[ahem] just thought of that while reading the book, don’t mind me
Rejoice, folks–The Iron Flower doesn’t fall into the trap of disappointing-middle-book-syndrome. On the contrary: it’s a truly worthy successor to book 1, with all of the elements that made The Black Witch so powerful still present and just as lushly beautiful!
Now that Elloren has shed much of her idiotic prejudice, she’s a far more enjoyable protagonist, and a worthy member of the Resistance. Though she still wasn’t my favorite character, her struggles were now far more palpable, and watching her heart turn kinder was character development at its finest. Most of our show-stealing cast was back and better than ever; though some of the characters had a reduced role after The Black Witch (ex. Aislinn, Wynter, etc.), I adored being back with Elloren, Tierney, Diana, and all the rest. At times, there were a few too many characters to keep track of, so some of them lacked attachment for me, but Laurie Forest still managed to create an incredibly strong cast with nearly impeccable chemistry. And I LOVED a few of the newer characters, especially Valasca and Marina. (We technically get introduced to the latter in book 1, but she has a much more prominent role in The Iron Flower.)
Another strong aspect was the political commentary. Book 2 has some even clearer parallels to the political climate today, making it all the more timely, and speaking to themes of racial equality, the senselessness of racism and xenophobia, and fighting back against the system. It’s certainly a very political novel (which I’m 110% happy about, honestly), and it serves to inspire others to make changes in their own communities. WELCOME TO THE RESISTANCE!
The one aspect I wasn’t a huge fan of was the romantic aspects. As much as I loved this novel, it sadly fell prey to what’s probably my least favorite trope in media…
…the dreaded love triangle.
Even though Yvan grew on me in The Iron Flower, I still wasn’t a fan of the whole dynamic of Elloren bouncing between him and Lukas. There’s some nice forbidden love being set up, which I’m all for, but Lukas’ interference dragged parts of the story down. It’s certainly making the situation more complicated, which I appreciate, but I’m still just…eh.
But overall, I can overlook the love triangle for once. Forest truly gave her all in The Iron Flower, and it shows in the best way possible. From the worldbuilding to the plot twists to the political commentary, this novel is truly a worthy sequel, and a unique and timely fantasy novel. 4.25 stars!
The Iron Flower is the second book in Forest’s Black Witch Chronicles, preceded by The Black Witch (book 1), and succeeded by The Shadow Wand (book 3, 2020), The Demon Tide (book 4, 2021), and The Battle for Erthia (book 5, pub. date TBD). There are also two novellas, Wandfasted (0.5) and Light Mage (1.5). Book 3 just came out this June, so I am SO EXCITED to get my hands on it…
That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
Anyway, it’s time for another Top 5 Saturday! This was originally started by Devouring Books, and it sounded like such a fun post to take part in. Today’s topic is hyped books. I thought I’d mix it up a bit this time, so I’ll pick books from my TBR.
This seemed to be one of the buzziest YA books of 2019, and it seems to be mostly deserving of it, from what I’ve heard. I had it on hold for a few weeks, and I finally have it on Kindle, so once I finish with my library books, I’ll have to see for myself…
Out of all the books on this Top 5 Saturday, this is probably the one that I’m most excited for. Even though we’ve seen a boatload of Cinderella retellings in the last decade or so, this one seems like a fresh and inventive take on it. It came out a few days ago, and I can’t wait to read it!
I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!
(About halfway through listening to this album…)
That’s it for this week’s Top 5 Saturday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!