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Fourth Wing, Rebecca Yarros

Does this fantasy novel deserve all the hype?
Fourth+Wing%2C+Rebecca+Yarros

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros is the first book in The Empyrean Series, and it was published on May 2, 2023. It’s currently a best-seller on the New York Times list for fiction, and it is by far the most popular book in the TikTok book community. 

Fourth Wing is about a young girl named Violet, who is twenty years old and has a condition that gives her joint pain, weak bones and graying hair. This makes her weaker and shorter than her fellow cadets, who all one day hope to become dragon riders.

The novel takes place during an ongoing war against the Gryphons, but our story is set in Basmath War College. For Violet’s whole life, her father has trained her to join the Scribe quadrant, who are the people who record what happens in the war. 

But after her father’s death, Violet’s mother, the general and the commander of the college, forces her to join the Riders quadrant. These cadets are trained to fight in the war, but they first have to survive many deadly challenges. These challenges are used to weed out the weak from the strong, before they can bond with a dragon, who will give them the ability to wield magic and develop a signet

The side characters in Fourth Wing are all well-written and loveable. Characters like Rhiannon and Liam are my favorite, because I didn’t feel like I already knew them at the beginning of the story, like I did with Violet, Xaden, and Dain. 

Rhiannon is strong and kind, and she’s an amazing friend and problem solver.  Liam is so reliable, and he becomes a kind of brother figure for Violet. He is always there when she needs him, and he is constantly ready to help. Without these two friends, Violet would not have survived.

The other main characters are a different story, though. Kelly Abels, at The Cor Chronicle, describes them perfectly. Violet is “a heroine that is somehow strong and weak and ‘not like other girls.” And Dain is “the male childhood friend love-interest who is turned into a villain purely for plot purposes (usually to break up a love-triangle),” 

Abels is also correct when she says that “the heroine falls in love with the bad-boy (this must include the revelation of his tragic backstory) who is revealed to be a really great person.” This is all pretty weak for a fantasy story, and it isn’t something that we haven’t already read before.

Ultimately, I don’t think Fourth Wing is worth all the hype, because the storyline and main character are nothing new. I think this novel has only become popular, because fantasy isn’t a very big genre on TikTok, and people are suckers for a classic enemy-to-lovers-love-triangle story. 

But even with all these flaws, I still enjoyed this book, because the vibes are good and the side characters are loveable. The book is also well-written and easy to read. 

But if you often read fantasy books already, then this book probably isn’t for you. But if you want to give it a read, you can buy Fourth Wing now on Amazon.

About the Contributor
Evie Richardson, Staff Writer
Evie is a freshman at Glendale High School. She is a new member of the journalism class and has been a part of the JDL for nine years. She enjoys reading and painting.
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