Reviews for Fourth Wing

by Rebecca Yarros

Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Basgiath War College trains healers, scribes, infantry, or dragon riders to protect Navarre from violent invasion attempts from the kingdom of Poromiel and their gryphon riders. Violet has trained her whole life to enter the Scribe Quadrant, just like her father did. Dedicating her life to recording the war history of Navarre, rather than participating in it, fits well with her intelligence, short stature, and overly flexible joints, which leave her prone to injury. But upon her father’s death, her mother, a decorated Navarrian officer, forces Violet to follow in her footsteps, and that of Violet’s siblings, and join the Riders Quadrant. Once bonded, riders channel powers through their dragons, greatly increasing the likelihood of success both in the college and at war. If that wasn’t challenging enough, Violet is being hunted by Xaden, a third-year cadet whose father was a rebellion leader executed at the hand of Violet’s mother. Hatred will draw him close to her, but will something more powerful and alluring make separating impossible? Suspenseful, sexy, and with incredibly entertaining storytelling, the first in Yarros' Empyrean series will delight fans of romantic, adventure-filled fantasy.

Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Violet Sorrengail wanted to be a scribe rather than join her siblings as dragon riders defending Navarre's borders, but her mother, a decorated general, had other ideas. She's forced Violet to enlist as a rider cadet in the Basgiath War College, even though Violet's hypermobility—a disorder that destabilizes her joints and leaves her easily injured—puts her at a disadvantage. To make matters worse, Violet has been assigned to the Fourth Wing, led by Xaden Riorson, the son of a rebel leader whom her mother executed. Surrounded by dangers in a school designed to weed out the weak, Violet must use her wits and skill to overcome brutal challenges and vicious opponents. The bonds Violet forms with her fellow cadets offset the college's constant violence, and her slowly developing enemies-to-lovers relationship with Xaden will appeal to fans of the trope. Violet's hypermobility gives her a unique way of moving through the world, and Yarros (The Things We Leave Unfinished) uses characters' reactions to thoughtfully explore the ways in which others respond to the lived realities of people with disabilities. VERDICT A good selection for fans of Naomi Novik's "Scholomance" series; will fly off the shelves.—Erin Niederberger

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

On the orders of her mother, a woman goes to dragon-riding school. Even though her mother is a general in Navarre’s army, 20-year-old Violet Sorrengail was raised by her father to follow his path as a scribe. After his death, though, Violet's mother shocks her by forcing her to enter the elite and deadly dragon rider academy at Basgiath War College. Most students die at the War College: during training sessions, at the hands of their classmates, or by the very dragons they hope to one day be paired with. From Day One, Violet is targeted by her classmates, some because they hate her mother, others because they think she’s too physically frail to succeed. She must survive a daily gauntlet of physical challenges and the deadly attacks of classmates, which she does with the help of secret knowledge handed down by her two older siblings, who'd been students there before her. Violet is at the mercy of the plot rather than being in charge of it, hurtling through one obstacle after another. As a result, the story is action-packed and fast-paced, but Violet is a strange mix of pure competence and total passivity, always managing to come out on the winning side. The book is categorized as romantasy, with Violet pulled between the comforting love she feels from her childhood best friend, Dain Aetos, and the incendiary attraction she feels for family enemy Xaden Riorson. However, the way Dain constantly undermines Violet's abilities and his lack of character development make this an unconvincing storyline. The plots and subplots aren’t well-integrated, with the first half purely focused on Violet’s training, followed by a brief detour for romance, and then a final focus on outside threats. Read this for the action-packed plot, not character development or worldbuilding. Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Romance author Yarros (The Things We Leave Unfinished) blends the epic tale of a reluctant dragon rider’s coming-of-age with a sexy dark academia aesthetic in her astounding debut fantasy. Fearsome General Sorrengail demands that her children follow in her footsteps as dragon riders—even her youngest, Violet, who has trained her whole life to be a scribe like her late father. Forced to join a deadly war academy, Violet is unprepared to perform the fatal tasks all cadets must complete to become dragon riders. The odds are stacked against her due both to her delicate stature and to her mother’s reputation: it was Sorrengail who gave the order to execute all separatists in the last rebellion. The rebels’ orphaned children have all been conscripted to the academy, putting a target on Violet’s back. Worse, her own brooding but handsome wing leader, third-year student Xaden Riorson, is the son of the separatists’ leader. Meanwhile, the wards that protect the city are failing, but as danger draws nearer, clever Violet grows stronger, discovering that riding dragons may be her destiny after all. Yarros’s worldbuilding is intricate without being overbearing, setting the stage for Violet’s satisfying growth into a force to be reckoned with. Readers will be spellbound and eager for more. Agent: Louise Fury, Bent Agency. (May)

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Full of familiar tropes—plucky heroine with a crush on her childhood friend, a love triangle, and an enemies-to-lovers plot—this slow-burn romance also mixes in dragons and magic. Violet planned to be a scribe. Her mother, a top general in their kingdom, sends her to be a Dragon Rider, like her brother and sister. Without much physical prowess, Violet is considered a liability by her cohort. She uses her scribe skills to survive the treacherous training and multiple attempts on her life by classmates. Dian, her childhood friend and crush, is a second-year rider and does his best to protect her. Her biggest threat is Xander, a third-year rider and son of an executed rebellion leader. A dragon chooses Violet, and it is also the bonded mate of Xander's dragon. They are now thrown together by their dragons. The action moves quickly with bullies, betrayals, and battle training. Worldbuilding, a crucial part of any fantasy, is tenuous. Violet repeats the history of the kingdom to calm herself in stressful situations, and those recitations slow down the pacing. The descriptions of the dragons are strong, and their interactions with their riders is both interesting and amusing. The use of modern profanity and sexual scenes can sometimes be jarring and makes this more appropriate for older teens VERDICT Even though the worldbuilding is not as strong as in similar series and some scenes are racy, this is an enjoyable, plot-driven, and accessible read that will attract "romantasy" fans.—Tamara Saarinen