Why I Love and Hate Fourth Wing

Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros has shown up everywhere on BookTok. My mom even saw it on Instagram and heard about it on podcasts.

She heard about how difficult it was to find and then saw it at Costco that very same day. Without even opening it, she bought it for me as a gift.

Fourth Wing Book

I Read It So Quickly

I, of course, read Fourth Wing as soon as my schedule would allow me to binge read it. It took me less than 48 hours to read, so that says something about the book.

The best way to describe it is an adult modern version of How to Train Your Dragon.

And yes there is a book series called How to Train Your Dragon, not just a DreamWorks film.


I state adult because there is a lot of language, violence, and some sexual content that is relatively vivid in description.

It warns you about this in a fun little text before the story that is typical of fantasy in stating it is a translation and a content warning.

On the first page of the first chapter, there is the F-word. There are many more F-words and other swearing to follow.

Too Much Swearing

I don’t mind swearing. I have read enough classics and material for college that I tend to skim over it. I read a lot of military memoirs and biographies, which also contain a lot of swearing, so I have read a lot of books with swearing in them, especially anything with dialogue.

As a writer, I understand that to make certain things more realistic, swearing is needed. However, there was a bit too much at times in Fourth Wing.

I don’t mind swearing to a point, but it was to the point that it didn’t add to the story like it should.

It is kind of like exclamatory marks. There should only be so many. I don’t mind a handful here and there to show excitement.

I don’t really agree with the one exclamation mark per 50,000 to 100,000 that I was instructed on in a creative writing class. They can be overused, though, and I feel like the same can be said about swearing. It could have been toned down in this book and been more effective for characterization.

Fourth Wing Book pages

Likeable Main Character

That being said, I did like the main character. Violet is not the strongest person. She did not want to be there. She has a mean and directed mother. She deals with some health issues.

She does have the cliché, dead parent. I could do without that. I did enjoy the supportive sister though. It was a great touch. It makes the character have depth in caring about family as well as her deceased brother.

I thought she kept growing, gaining confidence. Sometimes things weren’t realistic like her fights or she didn’t connect with her responses to situations, but she was likable partially because she was so kind and determined.

One of the ways that the author decided to convey the main character’s lack of confidence is in ellipses. I personally use ellipses at times, but I can only take so many….

I either think they lessoned as the character grew in boldness, or I blocked them out. I don’t know which.

Writing Style

I heard a review criticize the book because it uses more modern language. I don’t mind that. It was different than many fantasy books that I have read (most of which were in my childhood or classics).

Books like this usually take a more regency tone, but I quickly adjusted to it. I am a Gen-Z, so it might have been easier for me to fall into the writing style.

The writing is very simple. I didn’t find it to be the best, but it works. I feel like it is very basic. I did wish it went deeper, but then it wouldn’t have been a quick fun read.

For the intended audience, I see why it is written as it is. I understand the choice, and it probably helped it become so popular.

Fourth Wing Book

It Had Dragons!

I loved the dragons. It was the highlight of Fourth Wing for me. I liked the myths behind them.

I loved the short quotes before the chapters. It reminded me of Dune. I have even dabbled in writing a book that contained this. I think they are brilliant and can tease deeper ideas or themes.

Back to dragons though, I loved the dragons’ personalities. I liked the humor with them. I love the telepathic elements. The reason I kept reading was because there are dragons. I love dragon stories.

Dragons are the best thing about How to Train Your Dragon and many other fantasy books. Or animals at least. I love animals in fantasy books.

Fourth Wing Book Pages

The Romance

This can edge on a spoiler if you want to skip these next four paragraphs, you might want to. I try not to spoil things, but it might be enough that if you want to go into this more blindly, go ahead and skip further down.

I didn’t like the romance. The romance reminded me of Hunger Games with the love triangle including that sibling/best friend from childhood that allows for some crush material and the Divergent series with Four the dark older almost mentor guy.

Some ironic comments about the romantic tropes present aid some in how cliché they are. This includes love at first site, and this is one of the worst romance tropes present in the book. The mildest is the love triangle since Violet does not really share any romantic feelings for one of the two characters.

I thought I would like the love story because it seemed like it would be more in the background than it was, but I didn’t.

It is very obvious who she is going to have that semi-love triangle with.

I read it for the plot. There were really deep parts that I think developed the characters. One scene where Violet and Xaden deal with anniversaries. She puts herself out there as a friend to him. This scene and others really brought them out as characters.

Sexual Content that I Didn’t Like

Then it became too much sexual content. There are two scenes between Violet and I won’t spoil who but a certain male character. I skimmed them quickly because I don’t enjoy those.

On the note of sexual content, characters talk about dragons doing things with each other. They talk about cadets sneaking around including two girls sneaking around with each other.

Fourth Wing Book and Book Stack

Other Parts I Liked

I really did appreciate the plot. Sometimes it felt covered a bit by the romance that I could do without. However, the plot keeps a good pace, which allows for a steady read.

I enjoyed the fights. I thought they were nicely written for a story like this. I appreciate the myths that drove the plot.

I like the hidden secrets. I like the divisions. The war going on brings out so many plot opportunities. I like how the teaching as the quadrant moves along.

I appreciate how Violet’s worries move the story. She goes from one thing to the next. It allows her to grow and present a reader with the next hurdle in her life.

Fourth Wing Book and an Old Typewriter

Overall Recommendation of Fourth Wing

I can’t recommend it as whole heartedly as BookTok. Hopefully, my thoughts have given you another angle of the book. If it sounds like your type of read, I hope you can find a copy.

Many people love Fourth Wing. I see why. Certain elements are lovely. The plot is good. Dragons, are amazing. Myths, history, world-building, nice touch.

I could really do without the romance. It is not typically my reading style, more straightforward than I traditionally love, and some details in writing that just didn’t connect.

Will I be buying the next book in the series? Probably. I won’t be pre-ordering, but I’ll be watching reviews. And if it seems good, I’ll pick it up.

Did I think Fourth Wing is as great as Chronicles of Narnia? No.

More enjoyable than Assassin’s Apprentice? No

Better than Harry Potter when I read it two years ago? Yes.

Leave a Comment