Series: The Empyrean #1
Author: Rebecca Yarros
Narrated by: Rebecca Soler
Published: May 2, 2023 by Entangled Publishing, LLC (Red Tower Books)
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
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.
“Are you going to die a scribe? Or live as a rider?”
Welcome to Basgiath War College, where only the toughest survive the trials to become a dragon rider, and even then, your life is not guaranteed. Violet Sorrengail always thought that she would follow in her late father’s footsteps as a scribe for the realm, but when she is set to enter the Scribe Quadrant, she finds out that her mother, General Sorrengail, has other plans for her. Thrust into the Riders Quadrant where it’s fight or die, Violet knows that her size and frail health automatically put her at a disadvantage, but her name just may put an even bigger of a target on her back. The only person she can trust is her childhood friend, Dain, a second-year squad leader. But when he can’t see past her faults, she begins to question their relationship, especially when wing leader Xaden Riorson, a man that should want her dead, seems to be the only one who truly sees her. When danger escalates outside the borders though, Violet wonders at the truth her and her fellow cadets are being taught. Is leadership hiding something, and did her father somehow know what it was before his death? Violet finds that she can’t trust anyone in this deadly game of survival.
“I am the sky and the power of every storm. I am infinite.”
Fourth Wing is an all-consuming tale of death and danger, politics and intrigue, secrets and betrayal, and the scintillating temptation of forbidden love that left me completely obsessed. I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of the audiobook and as soon as I finished listening to it, I started it all over again! I cannot wait for my signed hard cover copy to come in so that I can read it and immerse myself in this riveting adventure once again. I cannot stop gushing over the unique world and compelling characters that Rebecca Yarros has crafted with her debut fantasy romance release, so get ready for it!
“The things I think about doing to him when he looks at me like that would surely ruin me, and tonight I’m not sure I care.”
Rebecca Yarros pulled so many emotions from me while reading. From laughing out loud at the snark that was Violet’s inner dialogue, cheering her on as she finds ways to overcome her disability and triumph with her bad-assery, to giggling from Tairn’s dry sarcasm, on edge as Violet battles for her life and those of her friends, crying at the devastating loss of a friend and squad mate, to feeling the delicious slow burn between Violet and Xaden deep in my belly. Though I have been following Yarros on social media for years, this was my first read from her and I was amazed by her unearthly ability to pull me right into the pages. I felt as if I was running the gauntlet alongside Violet, flying through the skies on Tairn’s back, on the front lines with the first years as an outpost was attacked, and looking into the eyes of Xaden wondering if what stared back at Violet was real. There’s a very minor love triangle but the relationship that develops between Violet and Xaden is everything I look for in a romance, it’s the little things that build up to a larger whole. Chapter 28 had me swooning, but chapter 30 is when things really heat up and you dive headfirst into the spice. And boy was it blazing hot! Each character was multifaceted, distinctive, and fleshed out well. Even those I absolutely hated and wanted to see dead (*cough* Jack *cough*), I still loved as an aspect to the overall storyline. I also adored the LGBTQ+ and non-binary representation throughout the tale, it felt completely authentic and not just an aspect that the author threw in for relevance.
“Should I get the wingleader?”
There is so much that happens in this book, there is no way that I can cover it all in one review without spoiling it. But I can’t talk about this book without mentioning the dragons, who were their own characters, not just pets to the human elements. They each had their own personalities, and while readers only get insight into Tairn, Andarna, and Sgaeyl, all of the dragons made their presence known in the story. The secondary characters were also a huge part of the story, Violet wouldn’t have made it as far as she did in the war games without them, even with her brilliant mind. I especially loved Rhiannon and Liam’s characters. The action and intrigue kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the story, culminating in a suspense-filled, heart-wrenching end. Just a hint to readers, pay attention to the chapter headings as a lot of them hold some foreshadowing.
“There is nowhere in existence you could go that I wouldn’t find you, Violence.”
Fourth Wing is hands-down THE best book of the year. And yes, I am well aware that the year isn’t even halfway through yet, but I said what I said and I’m sticking to it! I recommend this book to anyone and everyone who enjoys romantasy, but be warned, once you start that first page you are sure to be wholly and utterly captivated by this engrossing world and its enthralling characters. Get ready to be blown away, there’s no turning back. I don't know what kind of magic or deal with a Devil/God Rebecca Yarros made when writing this tale, but it is manna, and I am Devote. Don't just walk to get this book. Run. If I could give it a hundred stars, I would! P.S. Ms. Yarros, what do I need to do to get a copy of the next book, because I need it like I need air!
“I’m going to keep you. You’re mine, Violet.”
I really enjoyed Rebecca Soler’s intonation of the story. She conveyed the character’s voices well. There were a few instances where it seemed that she forgot to switch up the voice for different characters, so it took me a second to recognize who was speaking, but that was minor in the overall scheme of things. I had no problem feeling every emotion these characters experienced through her voice alone.
✔️ Adult Romantasy
✔️ Slow Burn + Spice 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️
✔️ Snark + Sarcasm
✔️ Politics + Intrigue
✔️ Enemies to Lovers
✔️ Forbidden Love
✔️ Dragons + Academia
✔️ Secrets + Betrayal
✔️ LGBTQ+ and Non-Binary Characters
✔️ Underdog/Chronic Illness FMC
✔️Scarred Anti-Hero MMC
✔️ Cliffhanger Ending