The Phenomenal Success of Rebecca Yarros’ “The Fourth Wing” and “Iron Flame”

Almost everyone has heard of the storm Rebecca Yarros stirred up in the literary world with her Empyrean series, but if you haven’t, read on because the tale of “The Fourth Wing” and its sequel “Iron Flame” is as fascinating as the novels themselves.

Released on May 2, 2023, “The Fourth Wing” didn’t just tiptoe onto the literary scene; it blasted its way through, thanks to BookTok, the reader community on TikTok, which absolutely lost its collective mind over this book.

In fact, hashtags like “FourthWing” and “RebeccasYarros” racked up over a billion views. This viral frenzy catapulted this (New) adult fantasy novel straight to the top of The New York Times bestseller list.

The critical reception was just as warm. Publishers Weekly was all praise, giving it a starred review for its characters, worldbuilding, and a special nod to its “sexy dark academia aesthetic.” It wasn’t just about selling copies; it was about setting trends. In fact “The Fourth Wing” blends romance and fantasy into what’s now lovingly called “romantasy.”

Then after The Fourth Wing came “Iron Flame,” released in November 2023. Following a cliffhanger in “The Fourth Wing,” expectations were sky-high. Did it deliver? Readers think so. It broke records as the fastest-ever pre-order seller at British book retailer, Waterstone’s.

“Iron Flame” dives deeper into high fantasy, but it’s a bit darker and more complex than its predecessor. It’s not just dragons and magic; there’s tons of world-building and a whole new magic system. While some sequels struggle to live up to the hype, “Iron Flame” did more than just follow up; it expanded the universe and pushed boundaries. Fans and critics noted that while it had its pacing issues, it is a worthy successor.

What’s next for the Empyrean series? Well, a third book is in the works, and there’s buzz about a TV show adaptation in the pipeline with Amazon MGM Studios. This is big news, especially considering how visual and expansive Yarros’ world is.

In a nutshell, Rebecca Yarros didn’t just write a couple of successful books; she created a phenomenon. “The Fourth Wing” and “Iron Flame” have become more than just stories; they’re experiences that have resonated with a massive audience. So, if you haven’t yet, maybe it’s time to see what all the fuss is about and dive into the world of the Empyrean series!

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