Fourth Wing
Grade : A

I saw readers rave about this book on Instagram and TikTok and so I checked it out. Friends–it was wonderful. I don’t often read fantasies but with Fourth Wing, I was quickly immersed into this fantasy world and I simply couldn’t put the book down. There are dragons, romance, friends and enemies… and it’s all superb.

Violet Sorrengail is twenty years old and has been preparing her whole life to be a scribe, following in her father’s footsteps. But his heart gave out a year ago and now that he’s gone, her mother tells her she must learn to be a dragon rider following in the footsteps of her mother, older brother, and older sister. And wham… the action starts right away when Violet arrives at school to train with hundreds of cadets competing to become part of the elite dragon riders of Navarre to protect their country from gryphons, wyverns and other dangers. The training is very dangerous and many cadets do not survive. Furthermore, to succeed, the cadets must bond with a dragon and the creatures don’t usually choose riders who are fragile, but instead incinerate those seen as weak links. This makes training remarkably deadly for Violet because she has an unnamed chronic illness which affects her joints and ligaments and makes her more prone to injury.* But Violet is very smart, resourceful and excellent at throwing daggers.

Dain Aetos is a wing leader and Violet’s childhood best friend. He worries about Violet and checks in on her often in a way that Violet quickly finds suffocating. Dain is handsome but Violet finds herself instead drawn to Xaden Riorson, the powerful, ruthless, and beautiful wing leader of the rider squadron. Xaden is the son of a rebel leader that tried to overthrow the government and Violet’s mother, a general, was responsible for his father’s death. Naturally, that makes Violet, initially, his enemy.

Xaden and Violet are combustible. Their enemies to lovers story has serious spice. Once, he gets to know her–she ends up in his squadron–Xaden finds himself attracted to Violet’s courage, kindness and cleverness. And as Violet spends time riding dragons with Xaden, she sees he has more layers to him and she begins to doubt he is the ruthless killer everyone thinks he is. I found myself reading as fast as I could just to track the incredible tension they share. Whew–their chemistry sizzles!

Often in fantasy, the hero/heroine is wildly more gifted than everyone else. That is not true of Violet, something I appreciated. In a school that values physical strength, Violet, who isn’t that strong, must compete with her peers using her brain. And her peers aren’t all jerks. While many of the cadets are ruthless, there is camaraderie in Violet’s group that is lovely. Violet has wonderful friendships with other characters as well. She is a heroine I really liked and I loved watching her grow as a leader with the help of her friends. The world they live in , this school, is a brutal place. A lot of cadets die in training or battles and this story is emotional and heartfelt and, at times, very sad.

There are also villains in this world. As Violet survives and thrives at school, she starts to wonder if there is more going on that their leaders aren’t telling them about the war outside of their borders. This questioning puts her in great danger– I was on the edge of my seat, desperately hoping that Violet’s determination to find the truth wouldn’t have too high a price.

But the very best part of this very good book is the dragons. I was captivated by them, especially the golden one. The dragons communicate with each other and with their riders telepathically and this part was fun, especially when they get snarky with each other. When dragons bond with humans, their riders have special powers that can be anything from controlling shadows to reading minds to a host of other impressive magics.

I highly recommend this story to anyone who enjoys fantasy, romance, and/or dragons. Fourth Wing is a genuine page turner,  with great plot twists. I promise you, you won’t see the end coming! It’s a book that lives up to all its BookTok hype. The second book in the series, Iron Flame, comes out November 7th. I can’t wait!

*I read in an Amazon interview that the author was excited to write about a heroine with a chronic illness based on Ehlers-Danlos, which she has. She hoped readers with chronic illnesses would be inspired by Violet. I know I was!
Reviewed by Kayne Spooner

Grade: A

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : June 30, 2023

Publication Date: 05/2023

Recent Comments …

  1. Thank you . I read the free sample and the nonsense you expound on above was sufficiently grating to me…

  2. I was Shane when l was 10 ye old l love the theme song what a thing between Shane and…

  3. This is on sale today for $1.99 You can shop for it using the AAR link

Kayne Spooner

Kayne Spooner is a retired science teacher, dog owner, and proud grandma who lives in beautiful Colorado. While she's an avid reader of all genres, romances have always swept her off her feet. Kayne gravitates toward stories with humor, swoon-worthy love interests, and memorable furry sidekicks, although really, if there's a happy ever after, she's here for it! She loves sharing her passion for books with the romance community and connecting with fellow readers.
Notify of

oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments