Dragons, Death, and Desire: The Fourth Wing Takes First Place

The warning Fly... or Die quite literally captures the life or death situations Cadet Violet Sorrengail faces on a daily basis in the Riders Quadrant.
The warning “Fly… or Die” quite literally captures the life or death situations Cadet Violet Sorrengail faces on a daily basis in the Riders Quadrant.
HASINI VUMMAJI ’27

A life of fantasy. A life of adventure. A life of danger. 

A life she hated…until she didn’t. 

Best-selling American author Rebecca Yarros’ debut fantasy novel, The Fourth Wing, has taken the internet by storm. Published recently in 2023, and with millions of sales, this novel is an ultimate and immediate success. After reading it, the reason for its fame is clear with its dynamic characters and wondrous setting. The book isn’t perfect and could use some improvement, but it’s definitely a worthwhile read. 

Protagonist Violet Sorrengail lives in a nameless fantasy world. Quadrants rule their worlds, dividing everybody into four sections: Healer, Scribe, Infantry, and of course, Violet’s quadrant Rider. Healers are doctors, scribes are historians, infantry is military, but riders are something entirely different. Riders are legends. 

The opportunity to choose a dragon and be gifted with unimaginable powers is irresistible and so, countless hopefuls attempt to become famous in this quadrant. 

Key word: Attempt. Joining the Rider Quadrant is infamously dangerous and is known for its gruesome ways of dying. The countless training drills ravage nearly everyone who enters. But it’s not just the training that can kill you, but rather, the people. Enemies are easily made and Violet seems to break the record for the most. All in all, Violet Sorrengail, with her frail body and fragile mind, is basically doomed to die.

Yarros’ story of a timid, young girl craving the quiet life of a scribe transforming into a strong-willed dragon rider is an inspiration to all. Violet is faced with incredible challenges, and it’s doubtful whether she will survive. 

But it’s not just the success of surviving; it’s the journey that’s important. Even when Dain Aetos, her childhood friend, tells her to give up, she persists against popular belief. The question remains whether she will prove everyone wrong or if she will give up and die.  

All in all, the Fourth Wing proves to be a great read. Its compelling love triangle forces the reader to root for certain characters involved, adding to the suspense. The author immerses the reader in Violet’s situation so efficiently that it’s easy to get lost in the book. More than anything, the Fourth Wing’s storyline keeps the reader interested, as Violet is constantly facing new obstacles. Her main issue is trusting people, and she struggles in solidarity until she figures out the importance of companions. Without putting her trust in others, there is no hope for her in the dangerous Rider quadrant. (Seems almost like high school, doesn’t it?)

Yarros also perfectly captures the fictitious nature and the fantastical essence of dragons with her intricate world building. The idea of having independent spirit animals is truly fascinating. Usually, in fantasy books, most animals depend on their humans and vice versa: keeping the power balanced between both parties. Here, however, the dynamic between dragons and humans is unique as the dragons have more power. She creates a whole new dragon society and a hierarchy that is rarely seen in other fantasy stories. 

Without making the addition of dragons too overbearing or too sparse, she maintains the balance of the dragons and the main plotline while also adding a sprinkle of dragon lore here and there. By utilizing her spellbinding and enthralling writing style, she describes dragons in an elegant manner while also representing their ferocious nature. Rather than portraying the stereotypical dragon in children’s books such as No Dragons For Tea and Do Not Bring Your Dragon To The Last Day Of School, Yarros successfully allows adolescents to appreciate these fantastical creatures. Yes, the book is rated as an adult fantasy, and yes, it does have mature content. But what’s wrong with a little fun? Her mature and elegant writing style intrigues the reader, but it’s this playful addition that keeps the reader hooked. 

Still, Yarros has a lot to improve. For one, the main developments of the story were sadly anti-climactic. Yarros builds up suspense throughout the entire story, only to disappoint readers with a less-than-excellent execution. There were so many other ways she could have written the main events of the story; instead, it seems rushed and sub-par. In addition, many scenes are unnecessary and only serve to bore the readers—as they end up uninterested in the confusing relationships and uncomfortable scenes. In an attempt to get her book on social media sites such as BookTok and Booktube, Yarros adds in a lot of uncensored scenes that have no influence on the plot. In fact, skipping over these explicit scenes doesn’t affect the storyline at all. Sometimes, these scenes even discourage the reader and prompt them to stop reading. 

However, all things considered, Rebecca Yarros does a noble job with this novel. Her writing style is excellent because the reader is hooked from the first page. Her execution of some events in the plotline might be mediocre, but the way she incorporates imagery and emotion makes up for it. Her usage of short excerpts at the start of each chapter is unique and further creates suspense for the reader. To Violet, her own life may not have been the life she hoped for, but to us, her life is one of dreams. 

Leaving us with the important lesson to never give up, The Fourth Wing is an unforgettable read. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Eagle's Eye
$115
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of Edison High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Donate to The Eagle's Eye
$115
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Eagle's Eye Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *