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Image of the book, "The Fourth Wing." Image courtesy of Amazon.

OPINION: “Fourth Wing” is the book of the summer

I have been in a massive book slump for the past month and a half, leaving me searching for my next read to finish out the summer. After several hours of scrolling through BookTok, the same book, “Fourth Wing” by Rebecca Yarros, came up again and again. After devouring this book, I can confidently say anyone looking for their next summer read should look no further.

“Fourth Wing,” a fantasy novel, follows twenty year-old Violet Sorrengail as she is forced by her mother, the commanding general, to enter a war college for dragon riders instead of her lifelong plan of entering the scribe quadrant.

However, an unplanned change is not Violet's most prominent issue, it’s that most who enter the war college don't make it past their first year, let alone graduation, leaving Violet to fight to survive.

Violet is one of my favorite main characters I have read in a long while. I attribute this to her being my age. In a world of fantasy novels where teenagers fall in love with characters that are thousands of years older, it was a nice change of pace. In addition to her relatability, her personality and sheer resilience helped her jump off the pages.

Each character felt fleshed out – there was not a single character that I felt was underdeveloped by the end of book one, but Yarros still leaves room for upcoming books to further develop them. Combined with the absolutely fantastic world-building hooked me and kept me reading into the wee hours of the morning.

The world-building is done throughout the entire novel instead of just exposition dumping within the first three chapters. Violet’s knowledge of history through training to be a scribe added a layer to the world-building.

When trying to distract herself from particularly grueling tasks, she mumbles facts under her breath. Readers learn more about the world while on the edge of their seats, seeing if Violet will complete the grueling task at hand.

The entire novel is made of highlights for me, but in almost every book I read, I am a sucker for romance. However, I enjoy when it's included in the sub-plot. If a novel could survive without romance, it's wonderfully written, and “Fourth Wing” certainly can.

“Fourth Wing” takes typical fantasy romance and adds more depth and enjoyment than I’ve read in any fantasy in a while – deviating from the typical "alpha male, fated mates" romance. It had me giggling and kicking my feet with every interaction.

Not only was the romance adorable, it had a nice sprinkle of spice. The scenes in this book were well written and did not overwhelm the plot. They had feelings behind them that made them all the better. In some books, there are sex scenes for the sake of sex scenes that add nothing to the story, but “Fourth Wing” rejects this trend.

The novel is also wildly unpredictable and has hints laid throughout the book that are important later in the story. There could be something mentioned in chapter four that was interesting but seemed like a throwaway piece of information, and then was relevant in chapter 20. Yarros intricately weaved information and no piece was unused.

The twists and turns of this novel kept my eyes on the page. The cliffhanger at the end has me wishing that Nov. 7 – the release date for “Iron Flame,” the book’s sequel – could come faster. If you don’t hear from me that day, now you know what I’ll be doing.

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All in all, I highly recommend “Fourth Wing” as a highlight of the summer. Just be careful reading in public if you're an expressive reader like me. Some scenes had me red in the face – others on the edge of my seat and others giggling up a storm.

Elizabeth Secor is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at or on Twitter @esecor2003.

Elizabeth Secor

Elizabeth Secor is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted on Twitter @esecor2003 

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