I have been wanting to write a review for Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros for a few weeks, but until now I haven’t been able to organise my thoughts long enough to write a cohesive sentence let alone a review. Fourth Wing has put me in a hangover the likes of which I haven’t felt since Game of Thrones. Don’t get me wrong, there have been books after that, but none have knocked me so much that I have not been able to stop thinking about anything other than the characters and what is next in store for them. This book feels like it came out of nowhere and just swept me along for the ride. And I am totally here for it…
I could have written a review twice as long but in doing so, would have completely given away the plot. I know how frustrating this can be if you’re waiting to read or deciding whether to read something so please do note that this review may contain a few spoilers.
PLEASE NOTE THAT MY POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS
Violet Sorrengail is determined to join the Scribe Quadrant at Basgiath War College, but her mother, the Commanding General, orders her to become a candidate for the elite Navarre dragon riders instead. Unlike the other candidates, Violet faces physical challenges due to her small and brittle body. For Violet, death is only a heartbeat away and dragons don’t bond to ‘fragile’ humans. They incinerate them. In Basgiath, where cadets kill each other to improve their chances, Violet’s status as the General’s daughter makes her a target. As the war outside intensifies and Violet uncovers a secret, she must rely on her strength and wit to survive. There are only two ways out of Basgiath War College: graduate or die.
There are only so many ways I can say read it. Read it. READ IT. Fourth Wing truly has everything you’d ever want in a fantasy; dragons, forbidden love/enemies to lovers, found family, and war. Rebecca Yarros has created one of the most action-packed and inclusive fantasy stories I have read in some time.
Inclusivity & our MC.
This books’ main thread centers around Violet, the protagonist, and her ‘fragile’ body. Violet has a disability with similar symptoms as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which affects connective tissues like the skin, joints, and blood vessels. This disorder doesn’t get much, if any, attention in mainstream media, but in this book, it plays a critical role in Violet’s life. Violet’s disability has resonated with many readers who have this disability and are rarely represented. Despite her physical limitations, Violet’s character is defined by her cunning, cleverness, and curiosity, reminding readers that she is not defined solely by her body. It is frustrating when a female lead is fluffy with no flaws but is obviously going to change the course of the world. Yet, what Fourth Wing does is something different, something which puts a female lead with real flaws and relatable moments into the limelight. Violet’s character is an example of a strong, powerful female lead with real flaws, something that is needed more in modern fantasy books.
Magic System & World-building
Fourth Wing is the perfect example of compelling world-building. Yarros has managed to create a complex yet easy to understand magical world where, despite having a (gorgeous) map, you don’t need to keep flicking back to it to understand where everything is. Fantasy often has a tendency to overcomplicate the world and magic system but Fourth Wing is clear and concise without too many words you just cannot pronounce. Yarros gives you plenty of detail and you’ll soon find yourself immersed in the Continent.
Foreshadowing right from the beginning of the book was smart, calculated and, if you’re not paying attention, easily missed. Yarros has taken foreshadowing to a new level by including this right from the moment you open the book. Although I sussed out what was happening or going to happen in this book quite early on, I still loved every second of the journey. If you’re not careful, these foreshadowing moments will float right by so be like Violet and keep your wits about you!
After Threshing, I felt there was a slight lull in the book but this didn’t last long. Personally, I think this was Yarros’ way of giving us a ‘breather’ between action pieces. The way this story is written is particularly clever as it doesn’t follow your typical fantasy story. More traditional stories build up to a critical point in the book and end sometimes with a cliffhanger, but sometimes not. In Fourth Wing, you start with action straight away with peaks and troughs throughout the book to keep you hooked. Then ending with one almighty cliffhanger and even more foreshadowing.
Violet’s family dynamic is also interesting. Her father and brother are dead, her sister is the perfect dragon rider and her cold, calculating mother is the dragon riders’ General. Throughout the story we learn very little of what happened to Violets’ father; seemingly dying from a broken heart of losing his son. The death of Violet’s brother is cloaked in mystery and the threads are slowly unpicked throughout the story – but not all of them.
The series is YA fantasy through and through. There are plenty of moments in this book where I was laughing out loud at the character interactions dripping with sarcasm, the dragons (including some of their particular cheesier moments), the young adult moments of sexual tension, and generally what it’s like being in your early twenties. Xaden Riorson has many secrets. Shrouded in brooding darkness, our male MC, is the epitome of modern YA fantasy book boyfriends. Think Rhysand from ACOTAR vibes. His brutality, vulnerability and sarcasm were everything that I would expect and more. Match that with our fiery Violet? Perfect book couple.
The twist at the end of this book will leave you open-mouth, teary and then begging Rebecca Yarros for more. With so many questions left unanswered, it was the perfect way to lead us into the next book.
There is a reason so many of us (not just bookstagram & booktok) have fallen in love with this book. It is everything that many of us want in a fantasy series. For me, I am with the masses and can quite confidently say, this will be my favourite book of 2023. Until Iron Flame, the next instalment, comes out of course. The hangover is still very real and I’ll be suffering with this hangover for some time I think…
Rating: ★★★★★/5 stars
P.s. If you have read this book or have it on your tbr, one little piece of advice would be finish it then go back and re-read the epilogue… Thank me later.
Are you part of the FW hype yet and if you are, what did you think?
As always, happy reading!