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Book Review: Fourth Wing

by | May 26, 2023 | Book Reviews, Fantasy, Fantasy, New Adult

Rating: 5/5 stars
Age Rating: New Adult
Spice Level: 2/3 chili pepper rating(Fourth Wing is a slow burn romance that gains spice towards the end)

I had to wait a good while before I could finally grab a copy of this book. And that wasn’t due to delays on my end. Rather, it was because this book became so popular in such a short amount of time that it was a struggle to find a copy! As such, I had high expectations when I started reading Fourth Wing, the first book of The Empyrean series by New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Yarros.

I was aware from the outset that this was a “romantasy”—a hybrid of adult fantasy and romance. I was thrilled to step into a universe filled with dragons, intense romance, powerful warriors, and the heart-pounding excitement of epic battles. Yet the true star of this novel is the protagonist Violet Sorrengail. She doesn’t merely confront adversaries and dragons; she also grapples with the day-to-day challenges of living with a chronic illness.

There’s something really engaging about a story that moves beyond the usual scope of fantasy and romance to shine a light on real-world issues. In Fourth Wing, Yarros does precisely this, introducing a protagonist who is anything but a helpless maiden. She is instead a woman of strength, unwavering in her commitment to honor her family’s legacy and surmount the formidable obstacles before her.

To all the dreamers, the fighters, the romantics, and those who appreciate the complexity of the human spirit, this book promises an adventure that will have you gripped from start to finish. So, let’s dive into the pages of Fourth Wing together and follow the journey of a heroine who proves that strength can be found even in the toughest situations.

Tropes in this Book

  • Enemies to lovers
  • Slow burn
  • Found family

Fourth Wing Summary

At the fierce and prestigious world of Basgiath War College, only the best rise to the rank of dragon riders. Violet, a twenty-year-old who originally thought she’d lead a quiet life among books and records in the Scribe Quadrant, is pushed into this tough environment by her commanding mother, a top-ranking general of the Navarre kingdom. Although Violet’s petite size and fragile health pose significant challenges, she’s determined to join the ranks of the elite dragon riders.

In this unforgiving world, dragons are notorious for refusing to bond with “fragile” humans. More often than not, they reduce them to ashes. This presents a big problem for Violet – her very presence could jeopardize the slim chances of her fellow students, since there are far more would-be riders than dragons willing to bond. Many of these hopefuls, driven by ambition, wouldn’t hesitate to remove Violet from their path.

Her troubles are compounded by the fact that she is the daughter of the general, which puts her in the crosshairs of Xaden Riorson. As the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant, Xaden poses a significant hurdle for Violet to overcome.

With each new dawn, Violet faces a fresh set of challenges and risks. However, her problems aren’t confined to the academy – the world beyond its walls grows increasingly dangerous. The kingdom’s protective barriers are weakening, casualties from the war are on the rise, and the conflict worsens every day. Adding to her concerns, Violet suspects the academy’s leaders are hiding a frightening secret.

My Review

If there was a glowing beacon on my 2023 reading list, it was Rebecca Yarros’ Fourth Wing. I dove into this fantastic romance with anticipation, and boy, did it deliver! The engaging saga of Violet Sorrengail was an adrenaline rush, a non-stop adventure that had me clamoring for more. While Fourth Wing brings a comforting familiarity—reminiscent of The Hunger Games or A Court of Thorns and Roses—it also stands firm in its uniqueness. Yarros’ enchanting storytelling, compelling characters, and vibrant fantasy elements kept me utterly entranced.

Violet, our fierce yet vulnerable heroine, stole my heart from the get-go. She’s the classic underdog – everyone around her underestimates her strength, seeing only fragility. But Violet doesn’t let that stop her. She’s set on proving herself and growing stronger while challenging the traditional notions of strength. In Violet, strength isn’t about brute force—it’s about resilience, intellect, and exceptional survival capacity. 

I felt thrilled when Xaden Riorson, her wing leader, nicknamed her ‘Violence.’ It’s his unique way of recognizing that she’s not weak, unlike how the others treat her. This acknowledgment of Violet’s hidden strength made me cheer her on even more. The electrifying dynamic between Violet and Xaden sent chills down my spine. Their back-and-forth was like a well-choreographed ballet, each trying to outwit the other while fighting a palpable connection. 

Fourth Wing was the kind of book that refused to be put down—it demanded to be devoured. As a fan of adult fantasy romance, Fourth Wing was a total win. Its mature exploration of romantic themes is a dazzling addition to the genre. Whether BookTok or this review led you to this gem, Fourth Wing is a magnetic read that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat.

I’m now counting the days till the release of the next book in the series, Iron Flame. I can’t wait to plunge back into this universe!

If you found this review helpful, you can check out the book at Bookshop.org here and support local bookstores along the way!