I was seeing Fourth Wing (2023) by Rebecca Yarros all over the place, including NPR’s Best Books List. Fantasy is not a go-to genre for me, but I was starting to get some FOMO and decided I needed to see for myself. Fourth Wing is the first book in a planned series of five. Right now, only the first two books have been published.
I wasn’t sure if I would like it when I started, and there were a couple scenes in the beginning that had be rolling my eyes. However, it didn’t take too long for me to get sucked in. I enjoyed the twists in the narrative, and now I’m excited to read the second book. In some ways, this book reminded me of Divergent because you had the different schools, one of which is exceptionally violent. But it also reminded me of Twilight because there is a (kind of annoying) love triangle and the love interest has a ridiculous number of red flags.
Violet lives in the kingdom of Navarre: a place with dragons, magic, and war. Her mother is a very powerful General and her recently deceased father was a Scribe. Violet wanted to follow her father’s footsteps and become a Scribe, but her mother forces her into the school for Riders–riders of dragons. This school is very violent and dangerous. Three quarters of the students die their first year. What makes this even harder for Violet, besides the fact that she’s been studying for years to be a scribe, is that she has a connective tissue disorder that makes her more vulnerable to injury.
Violet faces many hurdles in school. First, she meets Jack her first day; he is a psychopath who tries to kill anyone and anything he meets. (This character was ridiculous, and I don’t see why the people in charge would even want him in that school.) Second, she also meets Xaden. Xaden’s father was a rebel who was executed by Violet’s mother. Xaden is a very powerful third year who has bonded with a huge dragon, and he certainly has reason to hate her.
Violet becomes friends with Rhiannon, a cool young woman whom she meets the first day. And her childhood friend, Dain, is a second year who does his best to help her out. After not falling on the “parapet”, surviving deadly sparring games with other students, and making it through the “gauntlet” (literally the Ninja Warrior course on a cliff), Violet makes it to threshing day to see if she will bond with a dragon.
After a cadet bonds with a dragon, they can continue their training. The cadets are able to channel magic from their dragon and each one has a special power–everyone’s is different, and they are wide ranging. I thought the expansion of the world with the introduction of the dragons was a very fun part of the book.
I had a good time with this book, and I’m definitely planning on reading the second one. But this was not great literature. There were some glaring plot holes, and the sex scenes felt very generic. I almost felt like I was reading another book when I got to them. In addition, Xaden is everything you don’t want in a love interest, but Violet cannot help her attraction to him. It’s not exactly an example of a healthy relationship.
This book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. I was a little frustrated because I was thinking I was finally going to get some answers and then it ended! I’ll definitely be reading the second book–after a little break.
You can find all my reviews on my blog.