Kindle Readers Are Obsessing Over One Fantasy Series Above All The Rest Right Now

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If you've been anywhere near BookTok since 2020, then you know the spicy fantasy genre has pretty much taken over. Thanks in part to Sarah J. Maas' explosively popular young adult series "A Court of Thorns and Roses" and "Crescent City," books that combine elements of steamy romance and fantasy are hotter than ever on Kindle and in bookstores. But as much as Maas' series is still talked about years after its release, as of 2024, there's a new book series making waves across BookTok: Rebecca Yarros' "Empyrean." Featuring two titles — "Fourth Wing" and "Iron Flame." But don't just take our word for it.

"Fourth Wing" — a New York Times bestseller, by the way — had sold over 2 million copies across the globe as of December 2023. The follow-up, "Iron Flame," then shifted more than 100,000 copies just in its first month of release, according to The Messenger. "Iron Flame is undeniably one of the most anxiously awaited books of this year," Shannon DeVito, director of books at Barnes and Noble, admitted to the outlet. "It was the most pre-ordered book since 'Harry Potter and the Cursed Child' and is one of the biggest books of the decade." Not to mention, "Fourth Wing" and "Iron Flame" take up the number one and number two spots on Amazon's Most Sold and Most Read lists for fiction for the week of January 14, 2024. See. We told you it was big! 

It's no surprise, then, that the series has been likened to a few other huge names in the literary world, such as "The Hunger Games," "Eragon," and even "A Game of Thrones." But what exactly is the big deal and what's the "Empyrean" series all about? Well, prepare to be hooked...

What is the Empyrean series about?

Avid readers (or anyone looking to read more books this year) looking for another title to expand their fantasy collection with a hint of spice might find the "Empyrean" series is just up their alley. Described as the perfect blend of slow-burn romance and fantasy, the first book "Fourth Wing," follows young adult Violet Sorrengail during her time at Basgiath college. Violet has always dreamt of living a quieter life, away from the hustle and bustle of society. However, things don't exactly go to plan when her mom makes it clear that her path is to become part of an enviable group called the dragon riders. Cue Violet beginning her training, meeting some interesting characters and challenges who test her trust and resilience. 

In the follow-up, "Iron Flame," Violet has (just about) made it through her first year at Basgiath ... but the worst is yet to come. As she continues to learn the true dangers that come with dragon riding, things are only made worse when the new vice commandant doesn't exactly take a shine to her. As if that's not enough, Violet also has to deal with the fact she's in on an old secret that could totally ruin the college.

With blurbs like that, it's no surprise the praise has been rolling in. "I will repeatedly recommend this series for newbies to romantasy, as I find the writing super easy to follow with not too much world building," book influencer @wordstoescape shared on Instagram. "If you like your books fast-paced, this is perfect for you." Others have complimented the book's perfect blend of fantasy elements and spice. "It just has everything I've ever wanted a book to have! Dragons (with amazing and different personalities), dragon riders, amazing quests, fighting scenes (which are very well written and easy to follow), epic romance, fun side characters, angst, character development, character depth, spicy scenes, incredible main characters and so so much more," writes one reviewer on GoodReads.

There's going to be a third (and maybe even fourth) book -- plus a TV series!

Don't think that "Iron Flame" is where the "Empyrean" series ends. Rebecca Yarros teased to Entertainment Weekly in November 2023 that a third book is very much in the works and already has a release date. However, it won't be hitting shelves quite as quickly as "Iron Flame" followed "Fourth Wing." "I'm respecting my limitations and taking [things] a bit slower so that I can be healthy through all of it. So it's going to be a little bit slower," the author shared.

And that's not the only way fans can keep up with the "Empyrean" series in the coming years. Yarros also told Variety in November 2023 she'd been in talks with Amazon and Outlier (that's Michael B Jordan's production company!) to turn the fantasy concept into a TV series. "All I can say is that when I met with them in L.A., they did ask if I wanted to come sit in the writers room," she shared, while also teasing the potential for a fourth book in the series. "I would never get in somebody's way, but I just want to be like, hey, that plot point might mess with a point in Book Four, just a heads-up, just in case you want to do that!" she shared. But there's only one thing to do if you're not ready to have the plot spoiled by a TV series. Get to reading!