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The Student News Site of University of Chicago Laboratory High School

U-High Midway

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‘Fourth Wing’ brings readers to the world of dragons and romance

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The thrilling fantasy-romance novel “Fourth Wing” brings readers into a dystopian world of dragons, war and romance. A mature, female led “How to Train Your Dragon.”

Basgiath War College is divided into four quadrants: riders, healers, scribes and infantry — all training students to protect the fictional country of Navarre.

The most dangerous quadrant belongs to the dragon riders. From crossing the parapet on Conscription Day as a first-year — killing 70 riders — to graduation as a fourth-year, the goal is to survive. Many die. Many who have been training their entire life to be a rider die. But when 20-year-old Violet Sorrengail is forced into the rider quadrant, unprepared and weak, she can only wonder one thing: how long will she stay alive?

After all, “A dragon without its rider is a tragedy. A rider without their dragon is dead.”

The thrilling novel “Fourth Wing” by Rebecca Yarros draws readers into a dystopian world, combining political warfare, fantastical myths and bittersweet romance into a brilliant action-packed story — leaving readers longing for more.

Yarros illustrates Violet’s journey while combining the common genres of fantasy and romance. At first glance, the novel’s dystopian feel draws similarities to popular novels such as “Divergent” by Veronica Anne Roth and “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. But, as you dive deeper through many chapters of the book, Yarros ties in the popular “enemies-to-lovers” romance trope, which adds another aspect to the story, making it even harder to stop reading.

Violet spent her whole life preparing to be a scribe, living a safe life behind books. But when her father, a scribe, dies, Violet’s mother, General Sorrengail, forces Violet to become a rider. 

Violet is not physically built to be a rider, she has only been training for six months, and she is seen as the “weak-link” of the quadrant — targeted by others at the college. During their training journey, cadets must bond with a dragon — a mental and physical bond that will lead to the rider developing powers — their signet. If they don’t bond, the rider must repeat their first year — making the path toward survival even more difficult. 

While worrying about the multitude of ways she could be killed, Violet meets third-year rider Xaden Riorson — the very person her sister told her to avoid. Xaden is the wingleader of Fourth Wing — the wing of riders into which Violet was placed. Xaden’s father led the rebellion, the movement her mother fought against. Violet recalls that it was Xaden’s father who killed her brother, Brennan, and that it was her mother who executed his father in return. Violet and Xaden should be sworn enemies, but instead they start falling for each other. 

The book does address mature themes which you should be aware of before opening the shining golden cover of this 500-page hardcover book. However, the combination of these multiple genres has caught the eye of the media — selling more than 2 million copies and staying on The New York Times’ hardcover fiction bestseller list for more than six months.

“Fourth Wing,” which was published on May 6, 2023, is part of the “The Empyrean” series. Its sequel, “Iron Flame,” came out Nov. 6, 2023, and gained much attention as well, foreshadowing the popularity of other books in the series to come and continuing Violet Sorrengail’s perilous journey in a corrupt fictional world.  

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About the Contributor
Jaya Alenghat
Jaya Alenghat, City Life Editor
Jaya Alenghat is a member of the Class of 2025 and serves as an assistant editor. She began journalism in the 2022-23 school year as a sophomore. Her favorite story she has written is “In finding community, English teacher provides comfort for Latinx students.” Outside of journalism, she enjoys playing tennis, reading and spending time with friends and family. Awards: 2024 Scholastic Press Association of Chicago, sports news story: excellent 2024 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle Award: Certificate of merit, sports features, “Muslim student athletes navigate fasting during Ramadan while maintaining physical endurance” 2023 Journalism Education Association National Student Media Contests, Boston convention: Excellent, news writing

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