Series Review: The Empyrean by Rebecca Yarros

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:


Synopsis for Fourth Wing (from Goodreads):

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


SERIESous’ Top Picks: 2023 Fav
Author: Rebecca Yarros
Series: The Empyrean
# of Books: 5 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No
Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Action, Romance, Dragons, Magic
Heat Rating: Toasty
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: May 2023 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I felt like 2023 was the year where all these authors I had read YEARS ago were reaching the mainstream reading audience. From Monica Murphy to Colleen Hoover to Rebecca Yarros, names that have been on my radar for a long time seemed to be all my coworkers could talk about. I’d read Rebecca’s New Adult contemporary romances and enjoyed them very much many years ago. So I was really curious to see what her non-contemporary works would be like.

The Concept / The World:

When I saw the page count (or in my case, the audiobook length of 25 hours), I was worried that this world would be hard to follow or I would lose interest. But that never happened. I immediately got sucked into the academy setting (it reminded me so much of Vampire Academy!) and watching Violet slowly open her eyes to the truths she has been sheltered from.

I think it helped that each chapter started with a little excerpt that would explain more about the world and the rules of the Empyrean. It was a great way to expand the world without info dumping copious amounts of information on the reader. I’ve read a lot of dragon based series recently but this felt fresh; taking the best aspects of all of them and mashing them up to be one kickass read.

The Plot:

So I totally understand the hype around this series and I get why it appeals to a wide range of readers. For me, it reads more like a contemporary novel in the sense that the plot focuses more on the relationships of Violet and her classmates as they navigate a cutthroat world. It isn’t action all the time. It’s a great blend of romance, drama, plot twists and fantasy. Whereas other series in the same vain are more action and drama based.

The Characters:

I feared that Violet would be annoying but that wasn’t the case for me. I liked that she wasn’t this super kickass heroine right from the start. She has to work for things and isn’t afraid to follow her heart. It allows for her character to grow and evolve as the series progresses and I’m all for it.
I also fell in love with plenty of side characters along the way. The cast is great!

The Romance:

I love good sexual tension and this book has it in spades! And not just from our lead heroine either. At the same time, I never really felt like the romance distracted from the plot rather, it did a good job enhancing it and adding to the ongoing drama.

MY Audiobook Experience:

Despite the length (I listened at 1.75x), I really loved the audiobook. It would get me amped up when there were action scenes; the narrator did a great job of transporting me to the scene and conveying Violet’s emotions. I highly recommend it!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I can’t really see how this series could last 5 books in total but with all the twists and turns we have had so far, I’m excited to see what happens next!

Series Rating: 4.5/5

Fourth Wing 5/5 | Iron Flame 4/5 | Book 3 TBR | Book 4 TBR | Book 5 TBR


I think this is a great book series to read if you want to get into the non-contemporary new adult and/or fantasy genres. It’s an easy series to dive into with a strong cast of characters and an exciting world filled with mythical creatures.

Read if You Like: non-contemporary new adult, dragons, action
Avoid if You: dislike fantasy


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