Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros. Was it worth the BookTok hype?

Last updated on January 22nd, 2024 at 12:16 pm

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros. Was it worth the BookTok hype?

In short answer, yes. I could not put this book down. It had dragons, trials, action, unique powers, romance, badass FMC (Violet Sorrengail), and deception. Fourth Wing reminded me of The Hunger Games, Divergent and Merlin all rolled into one. It had a bit of an identity crisis but that’s not to say I didn’t still love it.

Rebecca Yarros did a brilliant job at writing a gripping story with diverse characters that aren’t sensationalised. Fourth Wing features morally flawed characters, contentious collaboration, and complicated family dynamics. I loved the twists and turns, even though some were predictable, I understand why everyone on BookTok was raving about this book, For me, it was definitely worth the hype.

Book rating

Four Star Rating

Fourth wing book held up next to a dark wood bookshelf and eucalyptus plant

Title: Fourth Wing
Author: Rebecca Yarros
Genre: Enemies to lovers, Fantasy Romance, New Adult, Dragons, Survival Games.
Good Reads score: 4.65/5. Visit Fourth Wing in Good Reads.
Publisher: Red Tower Books on 02/05/2023
Format: Hardback
Pages: 500
Buy on: Amazon | Amazon – Kindle edition

Welcome to the brutal and elite world of Basgiath War College… 

Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengial was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general – her touch-as-talons mother – has ordered Violet to joint he 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. 

Yet, with every day that passes, the war outside grows more deadly, the kingdom’s protective wards are failing, and the death toll continues to rise. Even worse, Violet begins to suspect leadership is hiding a terrible secret.

Everyone at Basgiath has an agenda, so sleep with one eye open because once you enter, there are only two ways out: graduate or die

Diversity: m/m & f/f relationships (not MCs), bisexual characters.
Spoilers: This review is mostly spoiler-free. I’ve placed all spoilers within an accordion, leaving the choice to you if you fancy reading them.
Disclosure: This blog contains affiliate links, and as an Amazon Associate, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase through those links.

Overall thoughts on plot

This book had me hooked from the first challenge – crossing the parapet. However, do not approach Fourth Wing thinking it’s a high-level fantasy with dragons and complex stories… which was somewhat advertised. This is first and foremost a romantic fantasy with dragons. If you know this before reading you won’t be disappointed.

If you are looking for a dragon fix, what are you waiting for?! Violet (our FMC*) and other cadets fight to survive till Threshing where they either bond with a dragon, die or repeat their first year. If you bond with a dragon, riders get a Signet connected to their dragon. This helped make the plot and magic system exciting, as there were some really sick powers. However, I felt the world-building lacked foundation.

I’m a sucker for survival games and unconventional allies tropes. Violet really battles all the odds, not only personally but with other cadets, dragons, trials, Presentation Day, Threshing etc. Cadets are separated into groups, and unsurprisingly Violet is assigned to the Fourth Wing, where she makes hilarious friends (Rhianna, Ridoc, & Sawyer) and plenty of enemies because of Violet’s weak and brittle body causing her to be a ‘liability’ due to her Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS).

“There’s a misconception that it’s kill or be killed in the Rider Quandrant. Riders, as a whole, aren’t out to assassinate other cadets… unless there’s a shortage of dragons that year or a cadet is a liability to their wing. Then things may get… interesting.”

I have to give a worthy mention to Violet and Xaden (MMC*). These too had me screaming and giggling with the hot tension, honest chats, subtle gestures and spice scene!! If you enjoy plots about romance and the protagonist on an adventure, faces challenges and undergoes personal growth, give this book a go!

What I liked

Disability and LGBTQ+ presentation

  • Rebecca Yarros not only represented the LGBTQ+ community but also the disability community throughout the book;
    • Violet Sorrengail has Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) a disability Rebecca herself has.
    • Jesinia, Violet’s friend in the Scribe quadrant is deaf.
    • Queer characters.
    • & non-binary character.
  • But it doesn’t feel like token efforts and is not the focal point of their story. For example, Violet’s EDS isn’t named it’s just something she lives with and she has to manage it throughout the book.

Character development of Violet Sorrengail

  • Violet I really enjoyed her journey and development throughout the book, her strength isn’t physical as she learns to use her intelligence and determination to overcome every obstacle.
    The tension and spice between her, Xaden Riorson and their dragons had me up till 4am unable to put the book down! Chapter 30 🔥🔥. Why does Xaden have to be so goddam hot and sweet at the same time?
    Though I just love how direct Violet is with her feelings and emotions, and she doesn’t let Xaden have his cake and eat it! It’s rare in Romantic fantasies for the woman to be forward and know what she wants so it was refreshing to get this from Violet. She was very hot and powerful in their spice scenes (literally lol).

Fourth Wing Easter Eggs

  • Throughout the book there are clues and easter eggs, some I didn’t pick up on like the foreshadowing of Violet’s Signet at the beginning of the book. Though some clues were a bit too predictable I wasn’t surprised by some of the ‘shock’ factors in the book. I did NOT expect the events to follow from the quote below…

“I’ll miss you Violet”

Phoebe from Friends raging
If you know you know...

I KNEW he was reading her memories every time he put in cupped her face with his hands. I caught on to it when Dain touched Violet after bonding with Tarin & Andarna. OMG I hate him, definitely after what he willingly leads her to during the War Games. I’m living for the payback Violet will give him in Iron Flame (*2), pure violence!! 

I sadly didn’t get the same shock as most people on TikTok, as I guessed Brandon was alive before turning the last page. I really can’t wait for him to be a character in the next book!

Of course the dragons

  • When picking up Fourth Wing I couldn’t wait to read about the dragons and see them in action – but I needed more! One of my favourite dragon scenes was Violet’s interaction with the Green dragons during Presentation Day and the banter between her and Tarin. I wish we had more information and pages about the different types of dragons, their history and law.

What I thought was missing

The lack of world-building!! The book series has potential but it fell flat in this first addition of the Fourth Wing series. Rebecca Yarros attempted to world-build by mentioning different provinces and past wars. However, the lack of detail and background ended up with us with loads of words and places we didn’t know enough about.

The book is mostly set in the Basgiath War College (the Riders School) therefore we don’t get to see much else of the world. So when other locations were mentioned, I went to the map but this also lacked detail. There were multiple instances where places were named in the book but weren’t featured on the map, so what’s the point of it? It was difficult for me to immerse myself in the world.

This dragged out way too long! It felt like a repeated cycle of the same words and manoeuvres, especially from Violet & Tarin. Obviously, we had some badass moments and some heart-shattering moments (why did Jake have to die!), but it was too repetitive and frustrating for me. Isn’t Tarin meant to be a bad ass with loads of experience, I didn’t see that reflexed in this battle.

In the last chapter Xadan mentions that Andarna is huge and her gift is gone, hinting that she’s not a youngling/juvenile anymore. However, it’s references multiple times that she wouldn’t be fully grown for another 1 or 2 years. This felt so rushed!! It will be great that Violet gets another Signet in book 2 however I feel like it would have been more interesting to see Andarna progressively grow compared to her suddenly being huge.

Final thoughts

This book surprised me and it was different to what I expected. It’s lucky I love romance and an enemies-to-lovers trope, add dragons and challenges to that and I’m sold! This is definitely worth the BookTok hype for me, and lucky for us Fourth Wing is meant to be part of a 5 book series. So I’m sure a lot more twists and turns to come!

In the mean time, check out my Youtube channel, Instagram and Pinterest boards for funny memes more book recommendations and reviews!

Creator of The Book List! Hope you enjoy this journey with me, follow my socials (@ashleighsbooklist) for updates for book memes, my latest book reviews and recommendations.

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*MCs = Main characters, FMC = Female main character, MMC = Male main character

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