Sunday 23 July 2023

Review: Fourth Wing by 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.

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📌 Disclaimer: I received an e-arc for review from the publisher 

Believe it or not, I came across Fourth Wing before the hype. I was on the explore page of Instagram, when I saw the US publisher post the cover along with some buzz words. The buzz words in question were something along the lines of 'dragons, war college, and enemies to lovers' so of course as a fan of all those things I was sold. 

When I got accepted to read an e-arc I was excited to dive in, but unfortunately my initial impression wasn't great. The modern day writing style and cringey dialogue didn't fit the fantasy setting. I thought okay this is going to be a DNF,  but then after it was released there was all this hype. Hence I decided to give it a second chance to see what all the buzz was about. From having a look online the author's previous books are all romance. She doesn't have a fantasy background and it clearly shows from the lack of world building and writing style. I found the idea of students being able to kill each other without any consequences ridiculous. It seemed like the only reason it was included was to show that it was a brutal fantasy word. It just didn't make sense, especially considering that they needed people for the war effort. 

While I admit that chapter 30 was well written I wasn't invested in the romance between Violet and Xaden at all. They hardly knew each other and there was no build up, it was just Violet constantly thinking about how hot Xaden was. Also, I know Xaden calling the mc, Violence, was meant to be cute but it didn't make sense as she wasn't violent. I mean, she was reluctant to kill or harm her peers.  

Speaking of the romance, the love interest, Xaden, is a POC and this has been confirmed by the author.  The fact that she had to state this and that there has been fan art casting him as white says it all. The words she used to describe him such as tawny and bronze brings to mind a tanned white person, so to me, it doesn't feel like a case of white washing. The fan art of Violet's best friend, Rhiannon, on the other hand have been of a black girl, and this is because she is described in a way that leaves no doubt i.e., the colour of her skin is stated clearly. None of this bronze/tawny nonsense. 

On a more positive note I liked the main character, Violet. I can't help but root for an underdog and I appreciated how she used her intelligence and her background as a scribe to her advantage. Though I will say that the fact that the end of her hair is silver made me roll my eyes. Moving on to the secondary characters. Apart from Rhiannon and Liam the secondary character lacked depth, they honestly just felt like place holders. We were only given one characteristic about them, for example, that Ridoc was funny, and that's it. 

Ultimately, this felt like watching an episode of my favourite trash TV franchise, The Real Housewives. It was a fun and entertaining time and the sequel, at least, I will likely read. The rest of the books, since there is going to be five apparently, I highly doubt I'll pick up.

If you want a good dragon book with morally grey characters, political intrigue, and a friends to lovers romance with pining, I would suggest checking out Fireborne by Rosaria Munda.


1 comment:

  1. I just finished this one myself earlier this weekend. While I might have enjoyed it a bit more, I do see you made good points. I was curious about the book just as they pre-hype started and had ordered it the day it released or so. I did note that the author didn't have a fantasy background but I'm no stranger to authors switching up their genres. I guess I didn't mind that the fantasy world wasn't overly complex. I struggled enough in terms of geography with this world since they kept talking about so many different places. Unfortunately even the book map wasn't too much of a help because I struggled to really identify the border between "enemies" and what not. That and I didn't always refer to it when I probably should've!

    I did like the romance a bit but again, I am seeing your points too! I guess the nickname just came off as ironic? Or that she occasionally got a bit of violent streak to her?

    The basis of the story with a college for training one to be a violent war soldier wasn't a new concept to me either as I read a completely different series with a somewhat similar basis for said college where only the best of the best can win. But yeah, the allowing one another to kill each other off just so they can have the most ruthless among them was a bit much.

    Sorry to see that the book wasn't entirely to your liking but glad you enjoyed it for some parts! Nice honest review!