There is always a fear that the first book in a series you love was a fluke and that the next book is going to be less than the book before it. Not so with The Iron Flower.
The Iron Flower picks up right after The Black Witch left off with Ren joining the Resistance and her motley crew of friends trying to weather the political changes that the Mage Council is enforcing. The mandatory wandfasting of girls of a certain age, including Elloren, the iron testing of people trying to leave the country, their aggressive stance on Fae. And dear Aunt Vyvian is trying very hard to go her proposal through to kill all the Selkies. Ren spends very little time in class this book, or dealing with her peers. Instead, Ren takes a lot of trips off campus, working behind the scenes to find a way to get all the Selkies out of Gardneria and Verpasia before the decree comes down. On top of that, increased Gardnerian control of the the Verpasian Council means that everyone you love, Trystan, Rafe, Diana, Jarrod, Tierney, Ariel, Wynter, Yvan and the entire kitchen staff are increasing danger, and they aren’t going to be safe at the University much longer.
The Iron Flower will give you all the feels. The atmosphere is like a constant looming cloud of darkness on the horizon that you can’t escape. Ren and her friends try to carve out as much happiness as they can, but the plot has some high highs and some low lows from them. I want to yell and rant and rave about them, but I also don’t want to spoil them for you. But there is a moment where everything seems happy and good and you just know that Forest is hovering over you with a giant shoe somewhere ready to smash all your good feelings with extreme prejudice.
3 pages later…
And just like Elloren has moments when she just needs to cry because everything seems too awful and hopeless, you’re going to want to curl up and shut of the world too.
One of my favorite things about Forest’s writing style is how she doesn’t feel the need to tell you everything at once. She understands exactly what information to hold back from the reader and when telling the reader is going to have to most impact. Sometimes she keeps back secrets for entire books, but when she finally lets you in on them, they hit at the exact right moment.
Through Ren’s adventures we get to explore Keltania and Amaz territory. The Amaz feature heavily in this book and you won’t be disappointed by them one bit. Every one is a fierce warrior, battle-trained and ready, living in a society of freedom, advanced magic and peace but for women only. As much as you love them and their way of life, their attitude towards men as the scum of the Earth is a clear example of how a society can be both positive and negative. It’s an example that is much needed in a book where no place seem good.
For anyone that’s a huge fan of the romance aspects, whether that be Ren/Yvan or Ren/Lukas Grey you’re going to come away with something you want. We learn a lot about the two of them, and some of it is very very unexpected (I’m looking at you Lukas!).
The next book is going to open up a whole lot of new places and characters. It’s going to be very different than the last two book. One character we saw almost nothing of this book was Fallon Bane. She is still laid up after the assassination attempt on her life, but she hasn’t forgotten how much she hates Ren for stealing Lukas Grey’s attention. She isn’t one to lie down quietly, and she’ll be gunning for Ren.
I am dying for the next book. It can’t come fast enough. And now that I’ve read it I’m impatient for other people to read it so we can yell about all the things that happen. If you loved Black Witch, you are going to love The Iron Flower too.