Enter the brutal and elite world of a war college for dragon riders from USA Today bestselling author Rebecca Yarros
Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general—also known as her tough-as-talons mother—has ordered Violet to join the 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.
Friends, enemies, lovers. Everyone at Basgiath War College has an agenda—because once you enter, there are only two ways out: graduate or die.
ALL THE FREAKING STARS IN THE UNIVERSE!!!
“But I will not run. I wouldn’t be standing here if I’d quit every time something seemed impossible to overcome. I will not die today.”
I don’t know how I will write this review to explain how mind-blowingly good that book is!!! Expect a long review ahead #sorrynotsorry.
Just to give you an idea: the audiobook (narrated by the excellent Rebecca Soler) is 20 hours. I listened to it in four days! And I never speed up my audiobooks. I did all the chores and gardening possible, I went for long walks, I even went early to bed staying up late just.to.keep.listening!
I have read Rebecca Yarros’s other books (romances) and I loved that author but with Fourth Wing she is on a whole other level! RESPECT!
That book is my best read of 2023 with Hell Bent and Amina Al-Sirafi!
In Fourth Wing, you’ll find many of my favorite tropes/elements!
- An underdog/with chronic illness main character.
As the synopsis is saying, Violet Sorrengail had prepared all her life to become a scribe and not a rider like her mom, brother and sister. And that’s because Violet suffers from chronic illness that has her bones breaking easily and her joints in constant pain!
But, surprise, surprise, mommy dearest will make her enter the riders school! The brutal, bloody riders school! Where all the other kids prepared and trained for years when Violet has…not.
That means that Violet has a huge disadvantage compared to others and she’ll have to work twice as hard just not to die!
Lucky for her, she is also the smartest of the bunch and she has a huge heart.
- A war academy to make dragon riders
Basgiath War college is brutal and pitiless! Dragons don’t respect weakness and incinerate the weak. That means that Violet will have a huge target on her back and some of her classmates (total sickos) will want to eliminate her as she is seen as the weak link in the squad!
“Your arm is shot, Sorrengail,” Tynan hisses, his face pale and sweaty. “I’m used to functioning in pain, asshole. Are you?” I raise the dagger in my right hand just to prove that I can despite the blood that runs down my arm and drips from the tip of my blade, saturating the wrap across my palm. My gaze drops meaningfully to his side.”
The opening sees Violet who has to overcome the first ordeal: the parapet! As all aspiring riders, their first test is to enter the college! And you do that walking on a very narrow parapet, hundreds of feet above the ground and with blasts of wind! And of course, no wall or rail! You fall, you die.
Every day of their education, students died. And their death was commanded to the god of death.
But Violet having a big heart also means that Violet feels deeper than others and can be crushed by friends death.
“People die, it’s going to happen over and over again. It’s the nature of what happens here. What makes you a rider is what you do after people die.”
See why such college is especially hard for her?
That also means that we have lessons in dragon history, fight classes, agility tests (and again, you can fall to your death) and if you make it to that point, riding lessons. Where you can also die falling from your dragon.
Needless to say that with her illness, Violet is in for a hell of a challenge! Honestly, my thoughts at the beginning were that Violet made me think of Spensa in Skyward.
And that’s why I loved Violet so much! She may have a weak body but she has a will of iron! She is one of my favorite FMC EVER!
I loved her confidence and her faith in her own abilities! She bet on her countless time, even when others told her she was weak and that she would die!
That girl is BADASS!
The dragons in that story were incredible! Spectacular, lethal! They were so fierce and would incinerate any student who looked afraid of was deemed unworthy.
“It seems…. cruel, but the first rule of living at Basgaith is never question a dragon. They tend to cremate anyone they find rude.”
If you love books where dragons are not just an accessory but a centerpiece, this is THE book for you! Also, that Presentation Day had me trembling for Violet and her friends! But when you bonded with your dragon, you had….
“Presentation Day is unlike any other. The air is ripe with possibilities, and possibly the stench of sulfur from a dragon who has been offended. Never look a red in the eye. Never back down from a green. If you show trepidation to a brown……well, just don’t.” -Colonel Kaori’s Field Guide to Dragonkind.”
There were all sorts of cool powers that the student were granted once bonded with their dragon. And no way to predict what your powers would be beforehand!
We learn that there was a past rebellion brutally quenched with all rebels killed and their kids forced to enter Basgiath to become rider. As we’ve stated that becoming a rider is very dangerous, it was akin to a death sentence for most.
It’s not a romance first kind of book. It’s a romance second kind of book. But it’s a slow burn, enemies to lovers kind of love story. With the love interest being intense, commanding and sexy as hell! And if you love your scenes sexy and spicy, you won’t be disappointed! Same if you don’t like books where sex is overcrowding the story. You have heat BUT as support to the main epic story.
- Found family
Despite everything her sister told her, Violet can’t help but help her classmates. She’ll always defend the weak. And that will lead her to find friends at the academy. A real second family. All the side characters were very well developed and gave a new depth to the story.
And of course, there is also betrayals and lies and big BIG twists!
I won’t detail more as it would go into spoiler territory.
Just know that Fourth Wing is an epic story of a girl whose death seemed nearly inevitable due to her illness but she’ll more than raise up to the challenge! Violet had my heart, my soul and my undivided attention!
I feared, swooned, cheered, cried, …I went through every emotion possible! And ended up with a huge book hangover.
And with that big twist at the end, I NEED the second book NOW!
Do me a favor would you? READ THIS BOOK and you won’t regret it.
Thanks for reading.