Series: The Empyrean #1
Published by Red Tower (5.2.2023)
Genres: High Fantasy, New Adult
Format: Audiobook, 512 pages
Length: 20 hours, 47 minutes
Narrator: Rebecca Soler, Teddy Hamilton
Source: I own it
Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general—also known as her tough-as-talons mother—has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders.
But when you’re smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away...because dragons don’t bond to “fragile” humans. They incinerate them.
With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother’s daughter—like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant.
She’ll need every edge her wits can give her just to see the next sunrise.
Yet, with every day that passes, the war outside grows more deadly, the kingdom's protective wards are failing, and the death toll continues to rise. Even worse, Violet begins to suspect leadership is hiding a terrible secret.
Friends, enemies, lovers. Everyone at Basgiath War College has an agenda—because once you enter, there are only two ways out: graduate or die.
This is the kind of book that I would never in a million years expect to work for me. It’s cliche, predictable, generic, and chock full of tropes…but I loved it! No one is more shocked than me to be completely honest. I usually hate the crazy hyped stuff that everyone loves, but this one? Well, there’s a reason for all the hype!
The writing is superb! In the beginning when there wasn’t much happening, the writing was enough to keep me engaged. And from the point that Violet crossed the parapet on, there really wasn’t a dull moment!
The Academy gave me some hardcore Divergent vibes! The Rider Quadrant reminds me a lot of Dauntless. Some of their challenges were very similar, too. But not in a bad way! Rebecca’s prose is way better than Veronica’s, sorry not sorry.
I enjoyed the Divergent-esque cutthroat Academy setting, but I wasn’t really sold on this book until the Threshing happened. From that point on, I was helplessly hooked! Tairn absolutely STOLE my heart!! View Spoiler »In the scene where they were going over the different types of dragons in class, I KNEW as soon as they brought up the black dragon that Violet was going to bond to one. I was just waiting for it, so I yelled out loud when Tairn landed! « Hide Spoiler I loved Andarna too, but I wished we’d have gotten more of her.
I even enjoyed the romance, which is wholly shocking because I’m not a fan of romance and I’m certainly not a fan of smut. However, I found myself actually enjoying the spicy scenes! *fans self* I will say, though, that there was a short span in the middle that the romance did start getting on my nerves. They were clearly into each other, but kept dancing around the fact and acting like they weren’t, and I wanted to bash their heads together because it was EXTREMELY annoying and they were being complete idiots. Thankfully it didn’t last super long, and the last quarter picked up and BROUGHT the action!
The ending was a whammy and I am DYING for the next book! View Spoiler »I 10/10 expected her brother to come back, so the last line of the book did not shake me. However, I didn’t expect that Xaden knew about it!
Also, I sobbed when Liam and Deigh died. That was so rough! I had a feeling Liam was going to die, but I so did not expect it to hit me so hard. « Hide Spoiler
Writing style: 4/5
Overall rating: 4.5/5