Rebecca Soler's captivating narration, coupled with Teddy Hamilton's collaborative touch, plunges listeners into the spellbinding realm of Basgiath War College. Chronicling Violet Sorrengail's unyielding fortitude amid grueling trials, encounters with dragons, and intricate relationships, the story emphasizes action and camaraderie over romantic involvements. The intense moments and unforeseen twists sustain an air of suspense. Soler's varied character voices and emotionally charged delivery leave a lasting impression, although occasional hiccups like mouth noises and subtle voice confusion slightly detract from the overall immersive experience. Despite these minor interruptions and a brief lull in momentum in the initial half, the audiobook steadily ascends to a climactic peak, leaving ardent fans anticipating the next chapter in this gripping series. F.S.M. © AudioFile 2023, Portland, Maine
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Violet may have survived her first year at Basgiath War College for dragon riders, but this epic adventure is just heating up. An electrifying follow-up to a brutally addictive fantasy.
Everyone expected Violet Sorrengail to die during her first year at Basgiath War College-Violet included. But Threshing was only the first impossible test meant to weed out the weak-willed, the unworthy, and the unlucky.
Now the real training begins, and Violet's already wondering how she'll get through. It's not just that it's grueling and maliciously brutal, or even that it's designed to stretch the riders' capacity for pain beyond endurance. It's the new vice commandant, who's made it his personal mission to teach Violet exactly how powerless she is-unless she betrays the man she loves.
Although Violet's body might be weaker and frailer than everyone else's, she still has her wits and a will of iron. And leadership is forgetting the most important lesson Basgiath has taught her: Dragon riders make their own rules.
But a determination to survive won't be enough this year.
Because Violet knows the real secret hidden for centuries at Basgiath War College and nothing, not even dragon fire, may be enough to save them in the end.
The Empyrean series is best enjoyed in order.
Book #1 Fourth Wing
Book #2 Iron Flame
A young Navarrian woman faces even greater challenges in her second year at dragon-riding school.
Violet Sorrengail did all the normal things one would do as a first-year student at Basgiath War College: made new friends, fell in love, and survived multiple assassination attempts. She was also the first rider to ever bond with two dragons: Tairn, a powerful black dragon with a distinguished battle history, and Andarna, a baby dragon too young to carry a rider. At the end of Fourth Wing (2023), Violet and her lover, Xaden Riorson, discovered that Navarre is under attack from wyvern, evil two-legged dragons, and venin, soulless monsters that harvest energy from the ground. Navarrians had always been told that these were monsters of legend and myth, not real creatures dangerously close to breaking through Navarre’s wards and attacking civilian populations. In this overly long sequel, Violet, Xaden, and their dragons are determined to find a way to protect Navarre, despite the fact that the army and government hid the truth about these creatures. Due to the machinations of several traitorous instructors at Basgiath, Xaden and Violet are separated for most of the book—he’s stationed at a distant outpost, leaving her to handle the treacherous, cutthroat world of the war college on her own. Violet is repeatedly threatened by her new vice commandant, a brutal man who wants to silence her. Although Violet and her dragons continue to model extreme bravery, the novel feels repetitive and more than a little sloppy, leaving obvious questions about the world unanswered. The book is full of action and just as full of plot holes, including scenes that are illogical or disconnected from the main narrative. Secondary characters are ignored until a scene requires them to assist Violet or to be killed in the endless violence that plagues their school.
Unrelenting, and not in a good way.