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  • Writer's pictureJudith Revenberg

Fourth Wing | Book Review

Updated: Aug 20, 2023

3D mockup of the book Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

This book had no right to be this good.


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.

Friends, enemies, lovers. Everyone at Basgiath War College has an agenda—because once you enter, there are only two ways out: graduate or die. (Goodreads)

My score


My opinion

Was this book perfect? No. Do I stand by my 5-star rating? Absolutely. I find myself chasing books with good vibes this year, and damn, did Fourth Wing meet those requirements.

Very mild spoilers, I guess?

I am, honestly, very easily entertained. Enemies to lovers? Check. Strong female lead? Check. Sassy dragons with "get off my lawn" grandpa energy? Sold. I was sceptical initially, mainly because the first few chapters felt heavily inspired by Divergent (Veronica Roth). The quadrants of the school are essentially factions, with the rider quadrant being Dauntless—complete with a "we are free to wear what we want as long as it's black" uniform. I should note that I'm not the biggest fan of Divergent, hence why I feared this book would lean too heavily on its 2010 YA inspiration. But I stand corrected, and not because Fouth Wing turned into a literary masterpiece, but solely because I'm a fan of tension between enemies, of a main character slowly learning to work with her body's limitations and surpass her own expectations, and dragons. Did I mention? Dragons?

Tairn and Andarna have my heart, and I don't want it back.

The overall setting of Fouth Wing is very, very enjoyable. There's healthy female friendship, a homonormative society, and representation that's included without it being an integral part of the plot, but simply because those people exist. While the romance developed rather quickly without too much reason as to why the dynamic between the characters shifted from loathing to, well, loving, I honestly didn't mind because I loved them together.

Regardless, to temporarily abandon my excitement about the series, I'll also mention my critical notes, of which there are two overall. One, the world-building, as far as we were given it, was woven into the story with little subtlety. Not always, but the majority of how the countries function and how it all came to be was delivered via large chunks of dialogue when Violet recites it to herself. It's practical, sure, but due to the situations where she started reciting these things—usually life or death—I found myself skimming the text rather than taking the information to me. Due to Yarros starting in medias res, with Violet almost already on the parapet in the first chapter, there wasn't much time or space for the information to be naturally transferred to the reader, I suppose, but it would've been nice had there been a little more finesse in its delivery.

My other issue was the lack of depth in secondary characters, notably Jack. I still don't quite get why he had a vendetta against Violet other than to serve as a primary 'enemy' for her to focus on throughout the book. He wasn't given any depth throughout the novel and functioned more as a plot device than as a character standing on itself. I had hoped his backstory would be revealed at some point, explaining his violent tendencies and issue with Violet, but it never came. This was also the case with a couple of other characters, whose only purpose seemed to be having an issue with Violet and eventually dying. It resulted in that I couldn't quite care about their deaths, and of the characters who died in Fourth Wing, only one truly hit home with me (if you know, you know).

"There is nothing more sacred than the Archives. Even temples can be rebuilt, but books cannot be rewritten."

That being said, I would recommend this book to anyone. It's such a fun and quick read, and I'm already craving for the sequel (and it might even tempt me to do a reread before then). It's the perfect escapism that doesn't require too much brain power and allows you to get lost in the pages. Worthy of the hype!

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