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The Iron Flower

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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 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.


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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 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.

30 review for The Iron Flower

  1. 4 out of 5

    Laurie

    Busy editing The Iron Flower today - very excited to share the continuing story with you all in 2018 - thank you to all my readers for so much support and enthusiasm for this series and its anti-prejudice message. #grateful (and I can't wait to share the cover with you).

  2. 5 out of 5

    Samm | Sassenach the Book Wizard

    OMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMGOMG All my theories from the first book are null and void! My head is so confused and foggy. My heart just hurts! *Spends rest of day starting off vacantly*

  3. 4 out of 5

    Scrill

    UGHHHHH SO GOOOOOOOOD. Full RTC. ARC provided by the publisher for a fair review. YAYY! January 1, 2018 When did this cover come out!? I love it! Gimme!! August 18, 2017 I need this in my life.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lillian ☁ Cloud 9 Books ☁

    ***** 4.5 Stars ***** Cannot be read as a standalone. I want to cry right now.... I want to cry because the next book isn't available yet!!! The Iron Flower is even better than the first book. All the characters are wonderfully written, and the relationship between Elloren and Yvan is so heartfelt. This story is dark and ugly. High Priest Marcus Vogel rules the land and plans on purifying the race and conquering neighboring territories. It isn't safe anywhere, and Elloren and her diverse group of fr ***** 4.5 Stars ***** Cannot be read as a standalone. I want to cry right now.... I want to cry because the next book isn't available yet!!! The Iron Flower is even better than the first book. All the characters are wonderfully written, and the relationship between Elloren and Yvan is so heartfelt. This story is dark and ugly. High Priest Marcus Vogel rules the land and plans on purifying the race and conquering neighboring territories. It isn't safe anywhere, and Elloren and her diverse group of friends have to face terrible events. Although Elloren is powerless, she is stronger, wiser, and braver than before. She proves to people that she is not like her murderous grandmother and makes a lasting impression on everyone she meets. This story is a hot mess (the best kind, of course), and I can't wait for the next book!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Iryna semi-hiatus (Book and Sword)

    2/5 stars DNF at 33 % So not the rating I thought I was going to be giving this book, I was pretty sure that this would have been a 5 star, boy was I wrong. Gorgeous cover though, so that's something. To start off, I'm not giving this 1 star, despite having dnf-d it, because I only save 1 stars for books I really did not like. And I just didn't care for Iron Flower, it's not a bad book, but it isn't a book for me, unfortunately. The Black Witch was though, so I honestly have no idea how the book w 2/5 stars DNF at 33 % So not the rating I thought I was going to be giving this book, I was pretty sure that this would have been a 5 star, boy was I wrong. Gorgeous cover though, so that's something. To start off, I'm not giving this 1 star, despite having dnf-d it, because I only save 1 stars for books I really did not like. And I just didn't care for Iron Flower, it's not a bad book, but it isn't a book for me, unfortunately. The Black Witch was though, so I honestly have no idea how the book went from that to this... So, let me summarize this book for you: "Oh Yvan! Oh Lucas! Oh Yvan! Let me make out with Lucas. But Yvan is so beautiful! But I can't have him. Oh Lucas! blah blah blerhhh!!" In other words, ya fantasy is dead because ya romance has killed it. RIP. The entirety of 33 percent of the book that I read was filled with Elloren wishing she was with Yvan, Elloren thinking that Yvan is beautiful, Yvan glaring at Elloren with passion, Elloren making out with Lucas, Elloren thinking how she can't have Yvan.... You got the idea. If romance overload and love triangle tropes are your jam, you will love this book. Me? I loathe those things. For a book that's 608 pages long 33 percent is not little, so for nothing to happen in those 33 percent is really mind boggling. That's why I just had to give up reading - I couldn't care less about the romance, or Elloren as a main character, and with plot going absolutely nowhere and telling us nothing new, even Diana (what little of her was there) couldn't save this book for me. Which is really sad because I was so sure that I'd have loved this. So what happened? The Black Witch (despite rising a storm of stupid controversy) was a wonderful and engaging book. Sure, the romance was still there but other things more than made up for it. I read Black Witch in 1 day! That's 608 pages in 24 hours people, and it isn't a small feat. The Black Witch had a story - it was a beginning, a new chapter in life for Elloren - she was sheltered, she was naive, she was bullied and she had to go out there and find her truth. And she did, and it was beautiful. The Iron Flower focused more on which character was in love with which character, what material her dress was made of and how many times can Yvan stare at her without Elloren bursting into flames of passion. There was very little substance, unfortunately, in it for me. ​The writing also got very repetitive - there was a lot of "shivering", "glaring", "drawing a breath" and in general the descriptions were over explained an drawn out. The ending of The Black Witch had a huge cast of characters and they were all present almost immediately here without any throwbacks really, so it was hard to remember who was who at first. I'm sure the book gets better, and some things do happen eventually, I just don't have any patience to wait around for that. Big thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Teen for providing me with a digital arc of the book. All opinions are my own, honest and come from the heart. My WEBSITE My INSTAGRAM My WORDPRESS BLOG

  6. 4 out of 5

    Sol ~ TheBookishKing

    June 24th: I finally wrote my review! You can read the full thing on my blog HERE! \\ June 23rd: I just finished this after devouring the final 300 pages today! This is sooooo good and it makes me so so sad that more people are not reading this series due to Lots of Reader Issues a couple years ago with The Black Witch. BUT ANYWAYS, The Iron Flower is such a fantastically beautiful book and so many SHOCKERS that I was dumbfounded. Laurie Forest really just blew it out the water with this one, so so June 24th: I finally wrote my review! You can read the full thing on my blog HERE! \\ June 23rd: I just finished this after devouring the final 300 pages today! This is sooooo good and it makes me so so sad that more people are not reading this series due to Lots of Reader Issues a couple years ago with The Black Witch. BUT ANYWAYS, The Iron Flower is such a fantastically beautiful book and so many SHOCKERS that I was dumbfounded. Laurie Forest really just blew it out the water with this one, so so so great and I can't wait till it's released into the world <3 RTC. \\ June 16th: FINALLY GET TO START THIS YES ! SO PUMPED ! HOORAY ! \\ June 4th: Thank you Harlequin Teen for sending me an ARC! I'm so so so excited to read this and to go through this fantastic world. This book is thicc and I pray it's as great as The Black Witch XD

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rylee (Hermit Odysseus)

    If you like added gifs, you can also check out my review here! =) If you liked the first, chances are you’ll like the sequel. It carries on in the same vein as the first with predictable plot progression but an unfortunate lack of character growth. Grammatically, I have zero issues. The book was actually very well written. My inner English major was content that I didn’t have any hang-ups that pulled me out of the story. And story-wise, the characters and plot are consistent with what was establi If you like added gifs, you can also check out my review here! =) If you liked the first, chances are you’ll like the sequel. It carries on in the same vein as the first with predictable plot progression but an unfortunate lack of character growth. Grammatically, I have zero issues. The book was actually very well written. My inner English major was content that I didn’t have any hang-ups that pulled me out of the story. And story-wise, the characters and plot are consistent with what was established in The Black Witch, and I know there's a fairly large audience that liked it and won't be disappointed. I had my fingers crossed for the sequel, hoping that the series would improve (as in, make the characters more likable). Spoiler alert –– superstitions won't save you here. And that cover was so beautiful too. *sigh* The target audience: If you like romantic tropes, with a helpless-yet-simultaneously-powerful heroine who obsesses over a boy, a love triangle, and a hate-to-not-yet-love romance — talking to you, Twilight fans — then this book may be for you. The plot drags, but these tropes may pull you through the slow bits if you thrive on that kind of thing. Maybe if I weren’t so annoyed be Elloren and so bored with Yvan, I could’ve appreciated the predictability. Spoilers ahead! Elloren: My largest complaint is our protag, Elloren. And she is my largest complaint because I’m stuck behind her POV the whole story, which is torture because I fricken’ hate her. It’s like being strapped in a chair with my eyes pinned open watching Twilight on repeat. I’m not saying this is an equivalent of Twilight, because the stories are definitely not the same, but there are enough similarities between Bella and Elloren for me to see them as equally frustrating. Elloren literally obsesses over Yvan the whole book. And the same circle of thoughts go through her head on repeat. Here’s the condensed version: “Why is Yvan cold and distant? We should be together. He has feelings for me, I know it. We can’t be together, it’s impossible. We should be together. *sad puppy-dog eyes*” Also, Yvan bores me. You could’ve switched him with a cardboard cutout of bearded Chris Evans, and I would’ve been infinitely more interested. His whole hot and cold thing is annoying. But Elloren annoys me too, so I guess they’re a perfect match. And she's written to be so perfect but still the object of so much contempt. Can she not do anything wrong? She's inhuman, both flawless and yet victimized. She's Bambi. And two beautiful men both vying for her affection. In the words of Heath Ledger, "What is it with this chick, she have beer-flavored nipples?" Supporting characters: Complaint number 2: her surrounding cast is essentially a ploy to make Elloren more likable. Apparently I should feel sorry towards Elloren because she's descended from the powerful Black Witch, earning the instant hatred of the "good guys." They attempt to put her in the underdog position, as she’s an outcast among the cool kids, but the story is telling me to like the cool kids since they're cruel because they’ve been persecuted unfairly, so how the heck do I get over that paradox? I'm supposed to like bigots? I get they've been through a lot, but it doesn't make their prejudice OK. But they only exist to make Elloren the martyr, so really, they're pointless. And Elloren’s response to the haters? Cue sad puppy-dog eyes AGAIN, because apparently she can’t feel the irony of her situation. Does she have to be nice to everyone? It’s like she’s a Disney princess, and can’t act human — ZERO instinct for self-preservation. She's nice to everyone except for the one guy that everyone hates –– she'll willingly hate him too. She can't think for herself. I can't relate to her. No defiance, no petty behavior, she just absorbs the hate. I can’t relate, I’d kick ‘em in the shins. She deals with being the victim of racism over and over again, and yet she panders to the people who judge her. How can you tell me she’s a strong character, book — I’m not buying it. Oh, and her cursed heritage that she’s struggling to overcome comes with a large amount of untapped power, so I’m supposed to feel sorry for her again? Um, what? Don’t get how that works. Apparently she’s simultaneously the underdog and the top dog. I’m drowning in the inconsistencies. Plot: As far as the plot goes.. meh. I didn’t care about the story. It dragged me from place to place, showing me characters that I was supposed to care about but couldn’t. There’s plenty of drama, but it just felt like Super Bowl halftime show — never quite lives up to what you’re anticipating, and you could’ve been watching Friends reruns instead. The ONLY compelling character: The only character I felt myself caring about was Lukas, a flawed character with hidden potential that goes undeveloped. He pursues Elloren, partly because her untapped power can boost his own abilities (selfish motivation — hello someone relatable!). Lukas and Elloren can’t lie to each other because plot magic, so he’s up front about his disbelief in love and his ambition, but he also has a strong attraction to her and they’ve got chemistry that develops into something deeper— at least on his side. You get the impression he’s confused about his feelings, which I get; I’d be confused too if I had feelings for Elloren. You see his internal struggle throughout the book, and notice his moral progress even if Elloren is blind to it (again, frustrating!). Out of all people, Elloren should be the one to recognize that Lukas isn't what everyone thinks he is (see what I mean about the irony?). What Lukas and Elloren have going on — the challenge they are for each other — is so much more interesting than whatever will-they-won’t-they dance Elloren is doing with Yvan. How is Lukas not our love interest?! Unfortunately, at this point it seems Lukas is a tragic character doomed to an unhappy ending. I’m seriously hoping his story doesn’t continue on that way, but I guess we’ll see. He’s the one redeeming thing about this book. It’d be a waste to kill him off.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I really enjoyed this sequel to The Black Witch, the controversial YA fantasy book that explores racism by way of a world filled with many races such as Urisks, Lupines, Kelts, Fae, Icarals, etc. who all have their own prejudices against each other. In the first book, we saw a young girl overcome the ignorance she was raised with and learn to be better. In this sequel, we see tensions rise in Verpacia and a need for the Resistance to act. Elloren finds herself torn between Lukas Grey and Yvan. I really enjoyed this sequel to The Black Witch, the controversial YA fantasy book that explores racism by way of a world filled with many races such as Urisks, Lupines, Kelts, Fae, Icarals, etc. who all have their own prejudices against each other. In the first book, we saw a young girl overcome the ignorance she was raised with and learn to be better. In this sequel, we see tensions rise in Verpacia and a need for the Resistance to act. Elloren finds herself torn between Lukas Grey and Yvan. What an adventure!! I don’t want to dive deep into the plot. This is a 600 page book, like the first, so there is a lot to unpack in these pages. In ways, it reminds me of Harry Potter in that way where the books have so much that happen within them and there is the boarding school setting. It’s a nice similarity to have, while also being completely it’s own story. The writing flows nicely maintaining a steady pace throughout. There are times the action ramps up a bit more, which is nothing but exciting. The characters are well-written. Some of the side characters are developed a bit more in this sequel. The romance is a bit more prominent here than in the first. In fact, a love triangle begins to ensue…. I loved getting a chance to explore the world Forest created even more here. I loved the choices characters made and the side-journeys they went on. The way this one ends has me anxiously waiting the sequel. The pace really picked up at the end ramping up to the big twist leaving me dying to know what happens next. Overall, if you enjoyed The Black Witch, you’ll enjoy this sequel. I am really loving how this series is turning out.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    I finished this book in less than 24 hours. I couldn’t put it down. I cried, I screamed at certain parts, I was happy to see some of my thought of what might happen in the next book come true. The worst part of this experience is the fact that none of my friends have read it yet so I can’t cry on a friend’s shoulder for support. Laurie Forrest did an amazing job on the sequel, I can’t wait to read it again. This is flat out my favorite book of the year, it was filled with Elloreen still fighting I finished this book in less than 24 hours. I couldn’t put it down. I cried, I screamed at certain parts, I was happy to see some of my thought of what might happen in the next book come true. The worst part of this experience is the fact that none of my friends have read it yet so I can’t cry on a friend’s shoulder for support. Laurie Forrest did an amazing job on the sequel, I can’t wait to read it again. This is flat out my favorite book of the year, it was filled with Elloreen still fighting for what she believes in, but making more actions than getting educated. This book if you’ve read the first will make you cry, want to throw it, then pick it back up and say I’m so sorry. It will make you laugh and the love interests are phenomenal. The ending itself OMG, Laurie be careful because kidnapping you is high on my mind right now with that ending!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Carrie (The Butterfly Reader)

    *I was lucky enough for NetGalley and Harlequin Teen to approve me for this ARC in exchange for an honest review* Holy Jesus! I did not see that twist coming! I still can't even fully process what just happened and I'm so upset that I have so long to read the next one. You can't just leave a girl hanging like that!!! Okay, let my try and reign myself in here. The Iron Flower, in my opinion, is even better than The Black Witch, it's still very very heavy handed in it's ideals and such but that's th *I was lucky enough for NetGalley and Harlequin Teen to approve me for this ARC in exchange for an honest review* Holy Jesus! I did not see that twist coming! I still can't even fully process what just happened and I'm so upset that I have so long to read the next one. You can't just leave a girl hanging like that!!! Okay, let my try and reign myself in here. The Iron Flower, in my opinion, is even better than The Black Witch, it's still very very heavy handed in it's ideals and such but that's the whole point of this series and it's making it's point very well known. The characters are flushed out so well that I honestly feel like they could be real. Even the side characters are well developed. The first one was more about Ren overcoming what her people had always told her, seeing the other people as just that, people. This one leans more towards the romance (swoon Yven) and her helping the resistance. This book made me cry, laugh, pump my fist into he air, scream, and even at the end, blew my mind. The writing is fine, detailed wonderfully, the pace is also much better than the first, I don't feel there's any parts that drag. Overall, I can't wait to see what happens to Elloren next because she's got her plate full now.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Eryn

    This is coming out this month! I'm excited to see where Forest takes us in this installment. :)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    I loved this book. I found it so drenched with fantasy and I just hated having to put the book up for the night when reading it. I truly loved this one more than the first and I believe I gave the first book a four or five star rating. Readers really learn way more about the characters’ upbringings in this one; more so than the first book where we are introduced to them. I cannot wait for book three to come out next year! My quick and simple overall: so good! For a 600 page book, it is actually a I loved this book. I found it so drenched with fantasy and I just hated having to put the book up for the night when reading it. I truly loved this one more than the first and I believe I gave the first book a four or five star rating. Readers really learn way more about the characters’ upbringings in this one; more so than the first book where we are introduced to them. I cannot wait for book three to come out next year! My quick and simple overall: so good! For a 600 page book, it is actually a fast read because it is so hard to put down.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    This sequel to The Black Witch, which caused a massive explosion of outrage on Twitter and Goodreads when it was published last year (IMO the accusations of various types of phobias/prejudice/White Saviorism/etc. leveled against it were mostly unfair and not based on a true read of the text), will be published next week, Sept. 18, 2018. It's queued up in my read list. The big question in my mind: how hard has the author and her publisher worked to make sure this won't offend ANYONE? Pretty hard, This sequel to The Black Witch, which caused a massive explosion of outrage on Twitter and Goodreads when it was published last year (IMO the accusations of various types of phobias/prejudice/White Saviorism/etc. leveled against it were mostly unfair and not based on a true read of the text), will be published next week, Sept. 18, 2018. It's queued up in my read list. The big question in my mind: how hard has the author and her publisher worked to make sure this won't offend ANYONE? Pretty hard, I'd guess. We shall see.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bentley ★ Bookbastion.net

    See this review and more like it on Bookbastion.net! ________ You might remember that last year I championed really hard for a little young adult debut fantasy book called The Black Witch, which was being unfairly lampooned by some overzealous keyboard warriors on Twitter who hadn't even bothered to read the book before judging it. Well, I read the book, and I became pretty passionate about defending it because it turns out, it was actually a pretty decent read with a subtext about the importance See this review and more like it on Bookbastion.net! ________ You might remember that last year I championed really hard for a little young adult debut fantasy book called The Black Witch, which was being unfairly lampooned by some overzealous keyboard warriors on Twitter who hadn't even bothered to read the book before judging it. Well, I read the book, and I became pretty passionate about defending it because it turns out, it was actually a pretty decent read with a subtext about the importance of inclusion - if you gave it a chance and didn't judge it without reading.  I will defend that book, and my decision to read it and the fact that I enjoyed it a great deal until my dying day. So when I remembered that The Iron Flower - Laurie Forest's followup to her debut novel - was hitting shelves this October, I ran out out to greet it with a fervor I reserve only for my most anticipated reads of the year. In the regards of finally getting to catch up with Elloren and Yvan's story and place in this unique fantasy landscape definitely didn't disappoint. If you were a fan of the high fantasy landscape and vivid imagery put on display in the first book, you absolutely will not be let down revisiting that here. The world is still quite well realized in its various cultures and the ways that they play off of each other, and Laurie Forest still kills it with the way she describes the lay of the land in this world and her character's placement in it.  That being said, I unfortunately felt the bite of the dreaded sophomore slump with this one and would be remiss if I didn't cover the aspects I struggled with as well. First things is first: What happened to the university setting from the first book?? In The Black Witch, Elloren's studies - and her inability to master them - were quite prominent throughout. I think there were maybe 2 scenes that took place in a classroom in this book. The rest either take place in the North Tower (basically Elloren's dorm room) or in various kingdoms surrounding the University.  Unfortunately, this makes the world feel very small at times. When Elloren and company travel to the surrounding kingdoms, it takes them about one evening to get anywhere, which means that these vast cultures that are at war with each other are basically living right in one another's backyard. I think the story would have benefited from remaining within the confines of the University setting, still revealing aspects of the world without showing us how they always seemed to be right around the corner.  It was as though Forest grew tired of writing the characters within the confines of this school she had placed them in within the first book, and just conveniently drops the setting here in favor of writing more character driven drama. I wasn't entirely sure if Elloren and friends were even still a part of the university or not for a large chunk of the story. It's a head scratcher for sure.  And then we've got to talk about my biggest pet peeve in YA novels: the dreaded love triangle. I can't lie, the romantic aspects of this book were almost a dealbreaker for me. The first half of the novel is almost entirely dedicated to Elloren alternating between the will they, or won't they dynamic Elloren and Yvan has, and Elloren being drawn to Lukas Grey and his sultry smolder as well. Honestly, I was just over it and ready for the plot to actually get started. Seriously, I spent way too long in this book wondering when the actual story was going to pick up again.  That being said, when the plot picks up (around the 50% mark) the pacing of this novel dramatically improved as well. I was much, much more bought in to the second half of the story. Things go from zero to 100 pretty quickly and whereas I felt like the first 50% was a slow burn that I struggled with, I flew through the latter half feeling much more committed to events. Reader be warned again though that this world is still incredibly dark and dangerous. The world is in the midst of what is essentially the start of a great world war between the various cultures and kingdoms, which lends itself to strained relationships among the groups. People who struggled with the content of book one will probably have similar issues here as well. That being said, this book was edited with the aid of sensitivity readers so I think even those who had complaints about the way things were handled in book one might find themselves pleasantly surprised here.  If you're looking for compelling YA fantasy set in a vast and dangerous world, look no further than The Iron Flower. While I didn't enjoy this book quite as much as the first, I'm sure I'll pick up book 3. Based on how this one ends, the next book is bound to be wild!  3 out of 5 stars

  15. 4 out of 5

    Attack Salmon

    I find this super dissapointing considering I loved The Black Witch and ..... I have a ship The Black Witch series have created great awareness regarding racism but its getting very old when the two novellas and now the second book also talks about racism. In Iron Flower, we have to keep reading about how oppressive Kelt/Gardneria is and Elloren always have to listen to someone else's sob story. The whole chunk of it is Elloren trying to save oppressed ppl, trying to be the perfect superhero. It I find this super dissapointing considering I loved The Black Witch and ..... I have a ship The Black Witch series have created great awareness regarding racism but its getting very old when the two novellas and now the second book also talks about racism. In Iron Flower, we have to keep reading about how oppressive Kelt/Gardneria is and Elloren always have to listen to someone else's sob story. The whole chunk of it is Elloren trying to save oppressed ppl, trying to be the perfect superhero. It get tiring to reading after a little while (view spoiler)[ U know I love an Alpha male. I expected some hot sizzling romance between Lukas and Elloren but I am let down in the worst way possible and Lukas doesn't even appeal to me anymore. They did fast in the end but not in the way I wanted it to happen. One thing that was really weird is after Aunt Vyvian found out Elloren in bed with Yvan, she forced Elloren to fast with Lukas immediately. And then the very next day Elloren is back in bed with Yvan again. I thought after that incident Aunt Vyvian could have keep a tighter leash on Elloren?? It don't make much sense (hide spoiler)] Well there goes my longing for book 3

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ails

    ACTUAL RATING: 4.5 STARS I didn't like Elloren that much in the first book but the story was great so I was definitely looking forward to reading The Iron Flower. And WOW. I'm glad I decided to continue on with this series! Here's a summarized/short review for now: PLOT - 4.5 (So goooood!) WRITING STYLE - 4.5 CHARACTERS - 4.5 (Diana is my absolute favorite! And there's definitely character development.) ROMANCE - 5 (I loved the tension between Elloren and Yvan so much + Diana and Rafe were couple goals ACTUAL RATING: 4.5 STARS I didn't like Elloren that much in the first book but the story was great so I was definitely looking forward to reading The Iron Flower. And WOW. I'm glad I decided to continue on with this series! Here's a summarized/short review for now: PLOT - 4.5 (So goooood!) WRITING STYLE - 4.5 CHARACTERS - 4.5 (Diana is my absolute favorite! And there's definitely character development.) ROMANCE - 5 (I loved the tension between Elloren and Yvan so much + Diana and Rafe were couple goals.) UNPUTDOWNABLE LEVEL - 5 (I savored it) It's easily one of my top favorites this year. Now I can't wait for the third book! (Thanks to Edelweiss and Macmillan for my advance reader's copy!)

  17. 5 out of 5

    Fen'Harel

    I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this book! Here is my review of the book! I'm trying not to include spoilers, but please read with caution and I'll try to catch anything I might write by accident! I only had one issue with the book and that will be addressed but, just so you know, this novel was great! What a breath of fresh air. Laurie Forest seriously knows how to write epic fantasy. Forest knows she doesn't need a book filled with plot for the sake of plot - sometimes it's nice to have mome I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this book! Here is my review of the book! I'm trying not to include spoilers, but please read with caution and I'll try to catch anything I might write by accident! I only had one issue with the book and that will be addressed but, just so you know, this novel was great! What a breath of fresh air. Laurie Forest seriously knows how to write epic fantasy. Forest knows she doesn't need a book filled with plot for the sake of plot - sometimes it's nice to have moments where we just see friends together, enjoying life or school. So many moments in this book made me smile, and one actually made me cry - and I don't cry at books! Following the strife of The Iron Witch, we follow Elloren as she learns how she can defeat the evils her race is perpetuating - and Forest doesn't hold back on this. With a realistic view on the demonisations of opposing races, torture, murder and the like (although it's not explicit) it's enough to send the reader into a whole new world that we need changed. I feel just as much desire as Elloren to have this world changed and made egalitarian. Forest does an amazing job of tugging on the reader's heartstrings and making us feel desperate and filled with a need to see this world become a better place for everyone. I love the way Elloren makes mistakes. She's not the perfect protagonist with all the answers, instead she makes assumptions and mistakes and is not afraid to ask for help when she needs it. (view spoiler)[ This is shown when she meets the Amaz, the race of female warriors who live apart from all the issues plaguing the outside world. These are not a good race of people - they are abusive to men and believe they're all evil and wrong. However, Elloren needs to work with them. When they first reject her, she accuses them of many things - until she finds out they only said no because she didn't have a plan. She then humbles herself and asks them what exactly she needed to do for a yes. There's nothing worse than the feeling that you've attacked someone when you just haven't understood what they meant. (hide spoiler)] Elloren is treated with suspicion this entire novel - but this does not shake her faith in what she's doing. Sometimes she needs to act or behave a certain way around other groups of people. Imagine being her ally in the "good guys team" and seeing her around her own race, pretending to be allied with them. It would confuse you and maybe make you not trust her. However, her friends never once grow confused or question her allegiance. This makes me love her friends even more! Villains! Aunt Vivian becomes worse than bloody Vogel! She takes control of everyone's lives and makes them miserable. Fallon is pretty much off camera and I hope that's not because of the nasty reviews Forest got for "girl-on-girl hate". Fallon was a great character, and although she had her time on the pages as well, I hope she comes back to work some rudeness on the pages! Vogel is also a bit of a baddie - and that's what I love. He's a huge villain, but he doesn't have to cross paths with Elloren yet! Such a shock to read in a novel these days - we're setting up so much and don't need to have fight scenes with the bad guy every so often to remind the reader they're there. Dare I say I loved the fashion in this novel? Because I did! Elloren has strict guidelines as to what she is and isn't allowed to wear. It has to be black, she has to have layers, she has to cover herself up etc. In this one? She puts on dresses and flowers and really has fun with what she wears! Although we don't catch her wearing a baby pink tutu, she still broadens her horizons as to what she can and cannot wear. The only problem I had with this book was the SJM effect. (SJM = Sarah J Maas). Maas has an issue with making sure there's someone for everyone. No one is allowed to be single and they all have to find the person they're going to be with forever and ever and ever. This book grew similar in that ideology, although it didn't completely take over. (view spoiler)[ Nearly every side character started batting their eyelashes at another character. Gareth pops in (I love Gareth) and he immediately goes straight to Marina. Within several pages, they're acting like they're best friends forever. Now, they didn't get romantic per say, but I felt those vibes all too well. Their relationship, whether it's friendship or romantic, grew a little too quickly for comfort. Then Ariel admitting her feelings for Wynter. This was really random and probably not even useful in the story considering everything that happens after this. The Amaz guy (whose name I can never remember) suddenly has a past lover too, but then starts making eyes at another girl in the group. I ended up putting my head in my hands and wanting it to stop. I can see exactly how Forest is pairing off these characters and it's just frustrating. (hide spoiler)] I really loved the ending to this book. Now, we have THE plot twist which I saw coming. It wasn't secret and I don't know why anyone was surprised. It was pretty much explained (which I'll do here for anyone interested but don't open the spoiler if you're not ready! (view spoiler)[ Yvan is THE Icaral of prophecy. I was not shocked. I knew this was coming - it just made sense. Why would the prophecy be about an adult and a baby? How would that be fair? It had to be someone close to her own age. Yvan was a sketchy bro about his past which made it even more obvious. Pair that with the discussion in The Black Witch about the belief Icarals may be part dragon and the fact that Yvan can speak to dragons in his mind... it just makes sense. He also had fire magic. Glamour magic made it clear he might have been hiding his wings. I did doubt myself about this frequently, but I knew it had to be someone closer to Elloren. Being a random character wouldn't have had the same impact. (hide spoiler)] Then, even after that massive moment, we have ANOTHER one! Again, spoiler, don't open if you're ready, etc. (view spoiler)[ She is forced to fast to Lukas. I'm not angry at him considering he's also being forced into a relationship he didn't want (in the sense that he would prefer a willing partner, not someone who didn't like him) and he was saving her from worse men. It was like hit after hit for Elloren! First her Aunt kills her Uncle to get control over who she fasts to, then she's forced to fast, then she has to flee with Yvan so they can be together and safe. THEN SHE'S PULLED AWAY FROM HIM AGAIN! This book makes me super stressed. But it's amazing! (hide spoiler)] To finish, I love the Forest tries to escape tropes. Love does not conquer all, children are not safe from death, sometimes looks DO matter, abuse shouldn't be brushed over lightly and sometimes we see things that we wish we could stop but we're powerless to do so. It's realistic, it's harsh, but it happens. Forest throws us into a fantasy world filled with horrors. These are not imaginary but problems that litter our modern world as well. We need to remember this as we read the book because one person can really change the future.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Brooke — brooklynnnnereads

    This was a very entertaining, creative, and fantastical sequel to "The Black Witch". In this follow-up, I continued to really enjoy the unique world that was created. Laurie Forest truly created a unique world of her own and the world-building was exemplary in that all of the background was explained in detail. With that being said, there were moments that that novel felt longer than necessary, but I appreciated the attention to detail. This novel's storyline progressed and developed much differen This was a very entertaining, creative, and fantastical sequel to "The Black Witch". In this follow-up, I continued to really enjoy the unique world that was created. Laurie Forest truly created a unique world of her own and the world-building was exemplary in that all of the background was explained in detail. With that being said, there were moments that that novel felt longer than necessary, but I appreciated the attention to detail. This novel's storyline progressed and developed much different than the original novel (in a good way). I found myself more interested in the story of this second novel and the content within came across as more dark, serious, and full of mystery. The downfall of this novel, as mentioned, was the length. There were moments of intensity and other moments that I found myself racing through the pages, however; there were sections of this novel that I felt my eyes would glaze over. It was a catch-22 in the respect that although I did appreciate the attention to detail, occasionally I felt that there were too many details that were not necessary to include. I know that I will continue the series with the next book that is released as I want to see where the story goes from here. There is still quite a lot of unanswered questions and climactic moments that need to resolve and I'm interested to see what happens next. ***Thank you to HCC Frenzy for providing me with an ARC of this novel in exchange for an honest review***

  19. 4 out of 5

    Holden (malfunctions without books)

    IT HAS A COVERRR. And it’s gorgeous!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Selene Kallan

    I'm stunned. I have a serious book hangover, and I'm currently unable to give a proper review. The Iron Flower wrecked me. It went kinda like this: YES! Wow. What?!! NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Why? Oh, dear gods! YES! *Swooning* AWWWWW, so cute. I can't believe it! It was about time. I did not expected that. NO! NO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I cried, I laughed, I swooned. I need more. Laurie Forest is amazing. Full review to come once I get out of the shock. UPDATE 26/07/18 “Welcome to the resistance.” The final line of The Black Wit I'm stunned. I have a serious book hangover, and I'm currently unable to give a proper review. The Iron Flower wrecked me. It went kinda like this: YES! Wow. What?!! NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Why? Oh, dear gods! YES! *Swooning* AWWWWW, so cute. I can't believe it! It was about time. I did not expected that. NO! NO! NOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I cried, I laughed, I swooned. I need more. Laurie Forest is amazing. Full review to come once I get out of the shock. UPDATE 26/07/18 “Welcome to the resistance.” The final line of The Black Witch. Enough to keep me on edge for months while I counted the days to read The Iron Flower. The wait was more than well worth it. Laurie Forest exceeded my expectations tenfold with an action-packed epic sequel. The Iron Flower is an emotional rollercoaster full of adventure and romance that won't let you go until you finish, and maybe even after. It has taken me days to organize my thoughts, there is a lot going on. Gardneria has become the most dangerous place on Erthia for those who are not Gardnerian. The mage council's rulings becoming more and more repressive, and brutal than ever under the leadership of Marcus Vogel. Elloren and her friends, the lupines, the selkie, the Fae, a Kelt, elves, and Icarals, are more in danger than ever before. But that doesn't stop them from creating even deeper bonds and fighting for what's right. During the first half of The Black Witch, I wanted to slap Elloren a few times. Not anymore, she has become the kind of heroine I root for in The Iron Flower, defying old age prejudgements and breaking the rules; risking her life to protect those she loves. Fighting with everything she has not to fall into the dark temptation that the dark power coursing through her veins carries. Lukas Grey, one of Elloren's love interests is back with a vengeance. His power call's to her and creates a dangerous temptation hard to resist. I didn't much like him before, I definitely don't like him one bit now. My ship has been one since The Black Witch, Yvan and Elloren. Yvan, the mysterious kelt with incredible powers that helped with Elloren's wake up call. He is without a doubt one of my biggest book crushes. And the level of chemistry he shares with Elloren reaches new burning levels in The Iron Flower. There are a lot of tear-jerking moments, so be warned and prepared. The plot twists left my head spinning more than once. The character development was on point; new characters enrich the plot giving you more people to love and hate. The Iron Flower is a heartbreakingly beautiful book. I can't wait to read it again and dive into the rich world Laurie Forest has created.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Holly

    I received an e-arc copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It feels wrong not address what happened to the first book in this series. The Black Witch (TBW) got a lot of undeserved negative feedback, almost unanimously coming from people who did not take the time to read the book themselves to form their own opinions and simply went ahead rating the book one star while all linking back to the same review. This flew in the face of book reviewing conventions and promoted I received an e-arc copy of this book from netgalley in exchange for an honest review. It feels wrong not address what happened to the first book in this series. The Black Witch (TBW) got a lot of undeserved negative feedback, almost unanimously coming from people who did not take the time to read the book themselves to form their own opinions and simply went ahead rating the book one star while all linking back to the same review. This flew in the face of book reviewing conventions and promoted a strong sentiment of censorship that I never thought I would see coming from book lovers themselves. Especially since the criticisms leveled at TBW were utterly unfounded and the entire plot and point of the book was twisted. I’m bringing this up because I believe that a lot of people are going to miss out on what is promising to be a powerfully impactful fantasy series if they do not look past the drama and try this series for themselves. Despite the risk of 'second book syndrome' The Iron Flower (TIF) remains just as strong as its predecessor in terms of both plot and writing. The plot is set at somewhat of a slow-burn pace, but this does not diminish the sense of anticipation I felt on every single page. I had to know what was happening next, I had to know what was going to happen to these characters, what other possible challenges and evils could befall them? The plot and writing is consistent throughout the book, I never felt that it slowed down too much to ever be considered dull. The characters continued to delight and surprise me, even as they faced ever more perils. The main character, Elloren (who is heavily criticized by those who have not read TBW and yet reviewed it anyway), undergoes a difficult journey of disillusionment of her culture and religion toward a fuller comprehension of the prejudices held by her people in TBW. In TIF Elloren is given the opportunity again and again to continue unlearning her prejudices, to check her privilege, and also to make use of her privileged position in her society to aid in rebelling against that very same society. There are so many characters to adore in this series and we get to meet even more in this book. Overall The Iron Flower remains consistently strong as a sequel in this series and is evidence that The Black Witch Chronicles is not a series worth ignoring.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sujitha Alexander

    *anxiously awaiting* I need to wait till May 2018 :(

  23. 4 out of 5

    Adelina

    Not a fan of the first book cover, but this one is gorgeous

  24. 5 out of 5

    Perla The IB Teen Book Blogger

    Without giving anything away, this book picks up exactly where it left off (which makes sense since Laurie Forest told me that most of the two books had originally been one long one), and immediately sweeps you up into extreeme FEELINGS of big important STUFF! I want to say everything, but the September release date is a long ways away. Elloren has grown as a person in leaps and bounds from where she began in Black Witch- I LOVE her heart. The book is full of passion, and tension, danger, and he Without giving anything away, this book picks up exactly where it left off (which makes sense since Laurie Forest told me that most of the two books had originally been one long one), and immediately sweeps you up into extreeme FEELINGS of big important STUFF! I want to say everything, but the September release date is a long ways away. Elloren has grown as a person in leaps and bounds from where she began in Black Witch- I LOVE her heart. The book is full of passion, and tension, danger, and heartbreak. The horrors on the pages are reminiscent of Nazi Germany taking over Europe- but not dissimilar to terrorist regimes in our current time. It's very relevent to our current political climate- what's the quote, "The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing" The scales of justice, human rights, and democracy could tip to horrors such as these, it is possible. I never thought we'd be on such a precipice, yet here we are. I love that the Black Witch series is holding a mirror up to society and saying, "Look, is this you? Could this be you?" but wrapping it in such a decadently imagined universe.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    My oh my!! I love Laurie Forest and I love this series and I love this world!!! I'm going to die having to wait so long for the next book!!! This series is amazing and wonderful and heart breaking and so very relevant! I love that Laurie Forest doesn't hold back. I adored the first book and this one did not disappoint, I may love it more! Laurie Forest is now an instant buy author for me! 😍😍

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    I'm not going to share any spoilers, but this book had a lot more action than the first one, and it was an emotional roller coaster all the way through. Just like the first book, it leaves you anxiously waiting for the next book to come out!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    Sometimes the Goodreads First Reads gods smile at you. When I received that golden ticket email informing me that the First Reads gods found favor with me and were sending me this ARC; a brief period of fan girl shrieking might have occurred.... I reread The Black Witch in anticipation and to allow myself to be in readiness to read The Iron Flower. Laurie Forest does not disappoint. I couldn't put it down. A personal litmus test for me that hallmarks what makes a book "really good" is when it kee Sometimes the Goodreads First Reads gods smile at you. When I received that golden ticket email informing me that the First Reads gods found favor with me and were sending me this ARC; a brief period of fan girl shrieking might have occurred.... I reread The Black Witch in anticipation and to allow myself to be in readiness to read The Iron Flower. Laurie Forest does not disappoint. I couldn't put it down. A personal litmus test for me that hallmarks what makes a book "really good" is when it keeps you up owlishly at night reading without a care for how much caffeine you will need to consume the next morning to attempt to be a productive member of society. This book did that and the brief moments of caffeine induced tachycardia the next day were worth it. Anyhoo... the review: The Black Witch sets up with dark hinting and foreshadowing of the things to come. A land slowly coming under the grip of the absolute power of the Mage Council. There is nothing slow in The Iron Flower. Edicts and decrees that will change the social structure of Erthia rapidly are issued. Those in power, Garnderians, become more powerful and oppressive. No race or species is safe from the oppressive regime that is coming. Elloren is focused on getting her friends to safety. The plight of the Selkies cannot be ignored and now the Fae, Lupines, Urisks, and many others are in jeopardy. As she and the rest of the growing Resistance make rescue operations, Elloren is also discovering her power is growing. She is gaining affinity lines she didn't have before. To add a further complication in an already complicated life, Lukas Grey's interest is growing to a point where she cannot ignore him. The Resistance is encouraging her to discover his loyalties. The world of Erthia is rapidly changing and inaction can no longer be a course of action for anyone. Elloren and her brothers, as heirs to the Black Witch legacy, have to make choices where to ally themselves. This is a novel where secrets, loyalties, and motivations are centralized themes. Fan Girl Thoughts: -Romantic Leanings: We see more evolution in the relationship between Yvan/Elloren, Rafe/Diana, and Jared/Aislinn. (Let's be honest... the romance is one of the best parts of the book) -Adventure: The Black Witch mentions the female warrior society, Amaz (the Amazakaran). The Iron Flower will make a more formal introduction and have the Amaz become an important plot component. I really enjoyed this new dynamic as I found the runes, social hierarchy, and just the premise of these Amazonian like women so interesting! Also, this book is so action packed. Constant motion in the plot and the character movements. I couldn't put it down. -Selkies: I don't know how any reader could read this series and not have their hearts feel ripped out over the plight of the Selkies. I love that we get some resolution on this and learn more about Marina- the rescued Selkie from The Black Witch. -The Black Witch- Fallon Bane... or someone else. All is revealed in this book! -The Ending. When does Book 3 come out!!! Laurie Forest mentioned on IG that she will be working on it this summer and I hope the writing/editing process just flows for her.... because I'm experiencing a complete book hangover from this one. The Iron Flower will be released September 2018 and I encourage fans to preorder... get it in your hands as soon as you can. -Marina says in a pivotal scene early on , "Power changes everything" this phrase completely sums up this book on several levels. As power grows and shifts, everything is changed in Erthia. Thank you so much to Goodreads for sending me this book for free in exchange for my honest review. It was such a pleasure, delight, and honor to do so. Thank you to Laurie Forest for creating such a dynamic world and compelling characters in The Black Witch Chronicles. Thank you to HarlequinTeen for publishing this gem of a series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Hoooooo boy. Where do I start? First, let me say that this is one of the most amazing and relevant series to ever grace your bookshelves EVER. Forest does not back down from showing how religion and society and cultures create a divide. But with our group of loving misfits, we also see how those differences bring joy and laughter and love and understanding. I loved seeing our group grow. Elloren has become so strong and the bonds she has created grow ever stronger and more endearing. I also love Hoooooo boy. Where do I start? First, let me say that this is one of the most amazing and relevant series to ever grace your bookshelves EVER. Forest does not back down from showing how religion and society and cultures create a divide. But with our group of loving misfits, we also see how those differences bring joy and laughter and love and understanding. I loved seeing our group grow. Elloren has become so strong and the bonds she has created grow ever stronger and more endearing. I also love seeing more of the different cultures in this book. The Amaz were amazing. And OMG LESBIAN LOVE YAS. I loved seeing all these strong women of different backgrounds together, fighting and loving. And (surprise, surprise!) the Amaz had both hetero women and lesbian women! So often books about groups of women only cultures show one or the other, never both. Because apparently, a society of women can't be diverse in terms of sexuality? Or sexuality itself is just completely ignored. I love how it was addressed and LOVED how it was treated like nothing, just a matter of fact. And seeing Elloeen accepting it so quickly shows how much she has grown as well. ALSO OMG MY THEORY ABOUT YVAN TURNED OUT TO BE TRUE AND I FLIPPED OUT. I honestly cannot WAIT for the finished copy, especially since I believe I heard Forest has changed things in the book and I am so curious about those changes! She also promised the finished copy would have more kisses, so OF COURSE I am ready for that. Seriously, read this series. It is so relevant about out own society and history. You will find yourself digging deep and finishing connections to reality while reading and just losing yourself in it all.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Zamora

    Exquisitely written. I marvel at the character developments and the progression of the story. Truly, one of the best books I have read this year.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Antonia

    That cover is gorgeous. September can't come soon enough!

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