It’s not just the dragons who are creating the heat in Rebecca Yarros’ hit fantasy Fourth Wing. This novel featuring a “ride or die” dragon riding school with a long list of characters, plot twists, and action (of all sorts), which are guaranteed to fire up your book club discussion. No wonder this book rode high on the New York Times bestseller list and because a fave with book clubs!
Our Fourth Wing book club questions will help your group discuss themes like– finding your strength, found family, institutional deception, and loyalty. In addition to the questions, you can aid your conversation with a synopsis and some selected reviews. And after the Fourth Wing discussion guide, we’ll help you find your next great with with some related reads.
(This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you choose to purchase, I’ll make a small commission.)
Fourth Wing Synopsis
(We always chose to provide the publisher synopsis because we feel that it’s worthwhile to discuss whether the official book description actually squared with your experience of the book.)
Fourth Wing, Rebecca Yarros
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.
10 Fourth Wing Book Club Questions
These questions have been tailored to this book’s specific reading experience, but if you want more ideas, we also have an article with 101 generic book club questions.
- From Xaden- “Fascinating. You look all frail and breakable, but you’re really a violent little thing, aren’t you?”
At the beginning of the book, Violet sees herself as frail and bookish, yet, her mother forces her into the rider program. Xaden sees Violet’s fighting potential fairly soon. Was this a matter of Violet simply becoming more mature, self-aware and training up? Did Xaden and Violet’s mother see strength that others couldn’t see?
- There’s a wide-ranging trigger warning at the beginning of the book calling out (among other things) war, poisoning, death, brutal injuries, and sexual circumstances. How do you feel about content warnings? How do they serve (or dis-serve) the reader? Can a well written synopsis suffice?
- World-building is everything in a good fantasy book. Discuss how Yarros built this particular world. What did you like/dislike about it? Is the world complete?
- There are plenty of other books about deadly magical schools and dystopic training programs, such as Scholomance, Divergent, Harry Potter and In Other Lands. Have you read any of those? If so, how is this one different? Are there some tropes that all of those books share?
- Violet says, “I will not die today”. And yet she nearly dies at many points throughout the book, both from the rigors of the training and the her fellow students. How do you think that you would have responded to those many threats?
- Is Dain gaslighting Violet or truly trying to protect her? What’s his motivation? And have you ever experienced a friend or family member who did the same?
- “Because it hurts to think we’re the kind of kingdom that would do this. It hurts to rearrange everything you think you know. Lies are comforting. Truth is painful.”
Violet’s realization that her academy leadership has been lying about the rebellion, venin and wyvern is a slow burn throughout the book. And then the end of the book hammers all it home in an unambiguous way. Did you see it coming? Why do you think the kingdom is holding onto this deception?
- After the final dramatic fight scene, there’s a change in the point of view from Violet to Xaden. Did you notice? Why do you think the author made such a switch so late in the book?
- Let’s rate this book! On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being pure fantasy and 10 being pure romance, where would you place this book? Alternatively, on the Scoville spicy pepper scale with 1 being a bell pepper and 10 being a habanero, what is the spice rating of the sex scenes?
- Raise of hands…who wants to cuddle Adarna and take her home?
Selected Reviews for Fourth Wing
(Use these selected Goodreads reviews to compare with your own experience of the book. Do you agree or disagree with the reviews?)
“5 ⭐️ If Throne of Glass, Divergent, Eragon, and Zodiac Academy had a baby. . . but this is better!!!”
“If I had a million dollars for every cliche in this book, of which there are a multitude, I’d still regret spending $20 on all 498 pages of this mess […] The majority of this book was consumed by Violet being horny and a random series of challenges. There was no explanation anywhere of what the academic year would look like, which makes me think the author was just making up more challenges and battles and war games as she went along.”
“This book is the perfect blend of Fantasy-Romance because it had the spiciest romance scenes with lots of sexual tension and enough twists that will keep you awake the whole night […] God, how much I loved this grumpy broody dragon! He was one of the deadliest and strongest dragons, and he was bonded with none other than Violet! His remarks were so sarcastic and savage…”
“It seems that fantasy romances, whether they’re adult or YA, have been using the same formula these past few years in where the focus solely lies on the plot and the action scenes and the same attention isn’t given to the characters and their world. And I do not understand why that is the case. The balance between them all is off […] The foundation of this world felt unbelievably flimsy and read messy to me. It was supposed to feel dangerous, the stakes were supposed to be high. Characters were being killed left, right and centre and the only thing I felt was nothing.”
3 Books Like Fourth Wing
If you like the whole fantasy academy thing, we’ve got you covered with our list of books set in magical schools.
Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1), Mark Lawrence
If you want more deadly academies and have already read Divergent and Scholomance, then try Red Sister.
No dragons here, but the book presents some mighty deadly nuns in training. The plot offers a similar medieval-ish setting stocked with betrayals, hard-core training, mystical talents and political shenanigans.
His Majesty’s Dragon (Temeraire #1), Naomi Novik
If you want more dragons in battle, then the Temeraire series is right up your alley.
This book is an alternative history of the Napoleonic Wars…but you know…with dragons. You get plenty of swashbuckling arial battle sequences, but the book also explores how Captain Lawrence finds and ultimately bonds with his dragon Temeraire. There’s action, but also some social satire and the tender bonds between a man and his dragon.
The House in the Cerulean Sea, TJ Klune
Maybe you want a bit less of the deadly fighting and a bit more of the outcast, found family vibes? Well, The House in the Cerulean Sea delivers all of that with a big magical hug.
Linus Baker works for the highly bureaucratic (and deeply flawed) Department in Charge Of Magical Youth (DICOMY), evaluating the orphanages and schools that house magical children. He cares about his job, but his personal emotional life is pretty walled off. When he’s called to evaluate the students at Marsyas Island Orphanage, he is surprised by what he finds there and it changes him in the most profound ways.
Read it for book club and use our Cerulean Sea discussion guide.
Have a listen on Audible. Try audio books for free for 30 days.
Share these The Fourth Wing book club questions with your friends: