Rating: 5 out of 5 stars -
I received a free copy of this ebook ARC from the author, publishing company, and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts/reviews are my own.
The Iron Flower (The Black Witch Chronicles #2) by Laurie Forest did not disappoint. I am going to try to review this without any spoilers but can’t guarantee it.
In The Black Witch we traveled with Elloren as she was dropped into and forced to navigated a world full of new races and religions that she had been taught to hate, but what she began to understand, very quickly, was that all that she had been taught was a lie or at the very least a biased truth. This pushed her to not only befriend those she was supposed to despise, but also search for truth about her own people among the histories of other races and religions.
The political air in The Black Witch was tense to say the least, while a mounting danger is set to be unleashed in epic proportions in The Iron Flower. This is where we rejoin Mage Elloren Gardener and her band of misfit friends. The Iron Flower continues to focus on the governments intentions to create a master race and eradicate anyone strong enough to get in the way of that plan. With the Black Witch’s identity seeming to be uncovered we feel the impending danger that hovers around Elloren and her friends not to mention the plethora of other races considered disposable to the growing government run by the Gardnerian mages.
What I love about this series is the friendships that grow despite the racism, sexism, homophobic, and hate filled rhetoric that rules throughout each race, not just from the Gardnerians and their mages. Elloren was not the only character to judge others based on the biases and stereotypes that proved to be incorrect. Growth for all of our characters comes from truly reaching out to one another to understand what is propaganda meant to keep them apart and what is truth.
The possible romances are slow burns that allow us to see the separation between attraction and true connection. Family for Elloren also continues to be a purposeful focus as her fear for her brothers and uncle continue to be her greatest responsibility, or so she feels. The combination of friendships and family, for Elloren, speaks to the idea that working together even in the face of great adversity, danger, and being outnumbered, can be overcome by working together towards a common goal. How far this will take our little rag-tag group remains to be seen.
For Elloren though, her greatest fear is for the safety of those she considered friends that she now considers family. She fears what seems to be a darkness growing inside of her spurred by her dangerous attraction to Lukas Grey. In the end, Elloren has suffered great loss, endured torture, and stands against an insurmountable foe, one of which is a member of her own family. Feeling powerless hasn’t stopped her from doing so much to help those she cares about, but what will it mean if she is the one person they must all fear the most?
The one thing I disliked about the first book, The Black Witch, faded in The Iron Flower. Elloren stopped whining so much and began to embrace her anger at being a level one with no magic and worked to do whatever she could in her limited nature to help her friends and family. We do see a lot of overdone themes here, but I think they are done well. Elloren learns from her actions and feelings, and the dramas that ensue have specific purpose that stoke the fires of hate either in or for the enemies. For me this was an excellent, yet heartbreaking read. I can’t wait for book three.