Anyone who's known me for a while as a reader knows I can dig my feet in when a book becomes too popular. If I read a book before it became hugely popular, great. But if it's become hugely popular? I'm far more likely to not read it then. If I'm being honest here (and why else would I start talking about this?), I'll admit I like to be the discoverer of the books. I like to find the gems before everyone else. My petty confession of the day.
All this brings me to the wildly popular - especially (specfically?) on TikTok - Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros. I've had a pre-publication copy of Fourth Wing for months and had set it aside to read because fantasy novel with dragons? I'm there. I was totally going to read it. And then...it got popular. What to do, what to do. On a cold and rainy day, I read it. And while it wasn't a perfect book by any stretch, I get why people are loving it.
First - dragons
Second - dangerous training and a competition to be a dragon rider (think Hunger Games crossed with Anne McCaffrey's Pern books)
Third - an intelligent, willing-to-go-for-it heroine paired with a intelligent, brooding hero, bolstered by stalwart friends
Fourth - action and romance
Fifth - dragons
Violet Sorrengail always planned on joining the Scribe Quadrant of Navarre but her commanding general mother has other plans. Violet is told she'll be entering the Riders Quadrant and will train to become a dragon rider. Though Violet, who suffers from brittle bones, knows that the training may be the death of her - literally - she accepts her new role with determination. Sure, it's not what she planned on, but she'll do her darnedest now that she's there. And if she finds herself falling for the one guy who has every reason to want her dead, Xaden Riorson? That's something she'll have to figure out. As Violet goes through the challenges of training and rider education, she finds that there are larger matters affecting her people, country and the dragons. She'll have to not only fight to survive to be a rider, but figure out where her loyalties will take her.
Is this book chock-full of tropes you've seen in a bazillion other fantasy novels with plucky heroines? Sure? Did I care? Nope. I just went along for the fast-paced ride and enjoyed every minute.