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Fourth Wing (The Empyrean, 1)

Rating: 5 Stars

"You look all frail and breakable, but you're really a violent little thing, aren't you?"

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.

I honestly can't think of anything I didn't like about this book. I really enjoyed every minute of it and it for sure felt like one that lived up to all the hype it was getting. The author has this amazing way of world-building without really overwhelming you with it. I would have anticipated being drowned in it since this was the first in a series, but really the author told the story and fit the world-building around the narrative.

One that moves pretty fast I have to admit. I felt like I was on the edge of my seat every time a chapter ended. It was just one of those books that you didn't want to put down, but also one that you didn't want to be over either. I think one of the things that I fell in love with about this book is that it felt like all the best things about The Hunger Games and Divergent but with dragons and magic. The characters were all so well written and knowing that they lived in such a dangerous position made it painful to get invested in one.

I adored that the author gave us a female main character who was "frail", but to be clear only Violet's body is frail, she is a ferocious little thing. It was nice to see that she had to struggle and adapt, and that her "weakness" wasn't something that magically got fixed. She had to adapt and use her mind to beat some of the challenges she faced. And still she succeeds and thrives. It was amazing to watch her grow throughout this novel from the meek character she started out as to this strong and fierce person.

I was so enamored with Violet and her development that at times I forgot the book had a romance element, and let me tell you it is a VERY slow burn... like very slow. Yet, the banter and tension is done perfectly. I will admit that some elements of the plot were predictable at times, but like I really didn't even care because I was so invested in the story. I can name a few times I cried during this book and then of course the moment I reached the end and the inevitable cliffhanger that comes with a series. If you haven't given into the craze yet... do it... read this book.

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