By Alissa Naydenova
This one is for all the readers. Whether you’re in a book slump or simply looking for your first read of the year, you have probably gotten a glimpse of a golden cover in Waterstones or heard someone talk about “the next Harry Potter” on BookTok, perhaps you’ve even seen it as the winner of Goodreads’ 2023 Choice Awards for Best Romantasy, yet you are hesitant to pick it up… Well as the Sunday Times Style said it: “We weren’t expecting to become obsessed with Rebecca Yarros’ Fourth Wing, but we very much are,” and soon you will be too.
I first heard of it as the highest-rated book on Goodreads, but then it became what everyone was reading. Think Harry Potter’s Hogwarts but it is a university called Basgiath War College, The Hunger Games’ struggle for survival with death just around the corner, and Game of Thrones’ dragons and kingdoms, all in a Twilightlove story with a morally gray male character, and you have the number one book on the New York Times Bestselling List.
Fourth Wing offers a mesmerizing story of magic and adventure in an entrancing fantasy world where humans must obey the laws of dragons and channel secret abilities. What’s more, if you’re a hopeless romantic and have grown up reading Percy Jackson or Six of Crows wishing more chapters revolved around the characters’ romantic relationships, then Yarros’ work is for you. The cliché tropes often found in romance novels aren’t present since it’s a fantasy setting all the while the romantic aspect makes some world-building passages more compelling. The mixing of genres to create a romantasy made the book such a phenomenon, and though social media might overhype its originality, it is still a magical, entertaining, and comforting read; a perfect way to start 2024 – the year of the dragon.
If you have already read it, check out the sequel, Iron Flame, which came out in November and follows Violet into her second year of university. Yarros has promised three more books in The Empyrean series, so there is more to come, including a TV adaptation in the works (though any release dates are unknown…).
“Welcome to the brutal and elite world of Basgiath War College, where everyone has an agenda, and every night could be your last… 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. Alliances will be forged. Lives will be lost. Traitors will become allies… or even lovers. But sleep with one eye open because once you enter, there are only two ways out: graduate or die.”
Psst! Fun fact for the Swifties who’ve made it this far: “Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince” represents Violet and Xaden’s relationship according to Rebecca Yarros, so this alone should pique your interest…