‘Fourth Wing’ by Rebecca Yarros: A feisty heroine, a brooding bad boy, and dragons—what more could a reader ask for?

This Fourth Wing book review is possibly the easiest I’ve ever written. Rebecca Yarros has outdone herself in her fantasy debut, proving she has all kinds of writer tricks hiding up her sleeve I had no idea she had at her disposal.

I seriously love a good fantasy read, and I’m certainly always game to be emotionally destroyed by Rebecca Yarros. The absolute delight I felt when I saw the cover of Fourth Wing for the first time, realizing that Ms. Yarros was taking all her military-romance-writing prowess and combining it with dragons, literally could not be contained. I might have squealed with fangirl joy. And I was absolutely delighted to find once I dove into the pages of Fourth Wing that this story completely consumed my heart from beginning to end.

I could not gobble up the pages of Fourth Wing fast enough. Obsessed doesn’t even begin to describe my fascination with Violet Sorrengail within the first 20 pages, and I swallowed up the rest of the story in about 24 hours. I haven’t been captivated by a book this completely in a long time. I am currently counting down the minutes until November 7, 2023 (which, at the time of writing this Fourth Wing book review is roughly 250,000 minutes, in case you were wondering), since we already know that’s when book two, Iron Flame, hits shelves and e-readers everywhere. A most sincere and heartfelt thank you to Rebecca Yarros for not making us wait too long for the next chapter of Violet Sorrengail’s story. I appreciate this mercy on my little reader soul.

For those who haven’t picked this title up yet, Fourth Wing tells the story of Violet Sorrengail, the daughter of a Navarrian general who is, well, shoved into a future she never thought was possible. You see, Violet’s father was a scribe, a faithful servant to recording history and keeping records, and she always believed she would follow in his footsteps. BUT, when he suffers an untimely death, Violet is subjected to the whim of her mother, the General, who will not suffer one of her children abandoning the glory of the Riders Quadrant for a quiet life of books and numbers. And it all spirals from there.

What had me so absolutely enamored with this story was its characters. Violet is an impressively vibrant individual, and her light only gets brighter as Fourth Wing‘s story unravels further and further. We watch as she approaches it one day at a time, surviving one impossible trial after another, pushing herself to never give up, even when it feels like the odds stacked against her are 10 million to one, rather than like 180 to one or whatever the exact numbers are. She tackles one problem at a time and surprises herself as she clears each impossible hurdle. I’m also a major fan of her mouthiness. She doesn’t suffer fools, even if they’re twice her size. I love me a mouthy, obstinate, authentic heroine, and those three words describe Violet pretty much to a tee.

But Violet is only the beginning. We also meet her friends, Rhiannon, Ridoc, Liam, Dain, and a handful of others. Each gets their moment in the sun, whether its Rhiannon being Violet’s go-to girl on the mats and off, Ridoc providing colorful commentary to, well, everything, Liam taking the role of bodyguard to a whole new level, or Dain being Dain. We’ll just leave that one at that. These characters have lives and motivations outside of Violet’s, and while we haven’t had time to get all of their backstories (even in Fourth Wing‘s 600+ pages), I am ready and waiting to hear all the things we have yet to learn about them in Iron Flame and beyond.

Fourth Wing book review Rebecca Yarros

But this couldn’t be a true Fourth Wing book review without including some discussion of the one, the only, Xaden Riorson. It’s clear from the outset, at Violet’s literal first glance of him, that he is going to play a pivotal role in this series. You can’t have a heroine, told to stay away from a man, go on to describe him as “the most exquisite man she’s ever seen” without a fantastic reason (pardon my schoolgirl giggles). While its unclear at first whether that role will end up being friend or foe, Violet’s reactions to him as the story plays out become more and more layered. From terrified to turned on, Ms. Sorrengail cannot help but keep tabs on the series’ bad boy, and I’d hazard a guess that Mrs. Yarros’ readership is keeping tabs on him, too.

And I would be doing the book a major disservice if I didn’t give the dragons their due. These massive, imposing, dangerous creatures are truly majestic as they command the skies. But it’s the constant snark and sarcasm that kept me snickering with pure happiness through the latter half of Fourth Wing. I won’t go any further into that here, in an effort to let new readers discover the magic of dragon personalities in the Empyrean series straight from the source.

This book reminds me of everything I loved when I cracked open my first Rebecca Yarros book more than six years ago, Wilder, but this time with the added bonus of dragons and magic. I am so excited to see one of my favorite authors be given the chance to flex a different set of author-y wings, especially since its got her signature depth and style in spades. I fully anticipate readers the world over discovering Fourth Wing and being absolutely enthralled with this fantasy kingdom from start to finish. Now I just have to figure out how many re-reads I can fit into the next six months. Three, maybe? Challenge accepted.

‘Fourth Wing’ hit store shelves on May 2, 2023

Buy Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros from EntangledBookshop.org, or Amazon. You can also add it to your Goodreads list.

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