An absolute must-read, Fourth Wing lives up to all the hype with deadly storytelling, dragons, and a steamy, slow-burn enemies-to-lovers romance that will keep you hooked.
As you all know, I love dragons, which means that I will read anything and anything related to Dragons. But that also means I will be incredibly critical of the novel.
For me, Fourth Wing absolutely delivered on the hype.
Why Was It Worth It?
My friend Gina bullied me into reading this book. I had already planned to read the book and had every intention of reading it, but she made me move it up on my stack, so I was like, okay, let me just read it to get you off my back. I was a little hesitant because when it comes to books with a lot of hype behind them, which is probably why I wasn’t so eager to read Fourth Wing, I always wonder if they will live up to the hype.
I will say that, in my opinion, it did live up to the hype.
The opening of Fourth Wing follows Violet as she’s getting ready to enter the rider’s quadrant of the college. Now, Violet has a chronic illness that forces or causes a lot of people around her to treat her like a porcelain doll. She’s always been treated like she’s fragile.
So, for Violet, entering the rider’s quadrant was never in the plan. She was always going to go to the scribe quadrant; that’s what she grew up training to be part of; that’s what Violet grew up training for. So when this book begins, she’s only had a limited time to train when others have spent their lifetimes training for this.
The beginning is a little slow because this was when the Yarros decided to incorporate much of the world-building here. I like it, and I can also understand why it would deter some readers. It’s a lot, it’s a lot of world-building kind of all at once, it’s a lot of history all at once, but the way it’s presented to me is what really made it captivating.
Strong Character Dynamic
All the world-building and history is being delivered by Violet, and she’s recounting everything she learned as a scribe to ground herself so that she doesn’t slip and fall crossing this parapet and die. It adds some quirkiness to her, or it allows you as the reader to get to know Violet as a character because this is something she does not frequently throughout the book, but this is something she does at a couple different times throughout the book. Someone even teases her about it. This is part of her identity. Violet does this to ground herself in the moment to clear her mind and survive the deadly college.
And because it doesn’t lessen the tension, I could push through it.
I love that our main character has a chronic illness. I don’t think we see many main characters with an explicit chronic illness represented in novels. Her chronic illness doesn’t make her less than, a thought that forces Violet to push against throughout Fourth Wing, especially between the two love interests.
So, she has her childhood love interest, Dain, and her new love interest, Xaden. Dain, much like everyone else, treats her like glass, as if she is going to break at any moment. He coddles her and treats her less than what she is. Xaden, on the other hand, pushes her, challenges her, and is even a bit of a dick to her. But everything he does, he does so that she can prove not just to herself but to everyone that she is not less than and that she is not going to break. She has this chronic illness, but it’s not her sole identity. Does she forget she has limitations? No, but Violet does not let her illness define her and instead finds ways to work around it.
So yes, I believe Fourth Wing lived up to all the hype. It’s fast-paced, it has excellent character dynamics, it has incredible character growth, it has good rising tension, and it has lots of action-packed sequences.
This is a girl trying to survive a dragon college because the Dragons only pick the best. It has cool dragons, it has a nice slow-burn romance, and it does have some steamy scenes in there for those people who really do like romance. But this book is very much fantasy, and it is honestly no surprise why it took the book the world by storm.
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