‘I just read Fourth Wing and now I understand why everyone is obsessed.’

I am a romantasy tragic through and through. I've given up trying to hide it. Tamora Pierce started my obsession as a kid. Richelle Mead is my guiding light. Sarah J Maas is my lord and saviour. And now Rebecca Yarros, author of Fourth Wing (aka the book series that approximately everybody you know is obsessed with) has joined my own personal pantheon of writers who write phenom kickass female leads, killing it in phenomenally built fantasy worlds, with just enough heart-racing romance to ruin IRL men for me forever.

So. Fourth Wing. Ooft. When I tell you I didn't sleep. I didn't eat. I barely showered (ew, not really), because in recent days, every second of my existence was consumed with reading this book (and its sequel).

And when I was finished racing my way through it, I went back to the beginning and started again, taking my time to soak up every teeny tiny detail; savouring it this time, in the wake of absolutely devouring it the first time around.

I know, it kind of sounds like I'm writing a juicy sex scene? And it's true, these books are... very satisfying. (Including the actual sex scenes.) And with the Rider Black Special Edition having just dropped in Australia, now is the perfect time to dive into the highly addictive (no — really) world of Fourth Wing.

Fourth Wing B Format (AKA 'The Rider Black Edition') features two bonus chapters. Image: Hachette.


What is Fourth Wing?

Fourth Wing is the first book in the Empyrean Series, by Rebecca Yarros — but it's also become how fans refer to the entire series, so just keep that in mind when your romantasy-obsessed friends mention it. 

It's a New Adult fantasy romance novel set in a world where war rages and elite hardened warriors ride dragons and wield magic. And okay, it's hard to make it sound cool in a sentence, but stick with me because this series has been my drug since I started reading it a couple of weeks ago.

It's the shiny pinnacle of enemies-to-lovers romance, with high stakes, suspense, and thrilling action sequences. If you love getting lost in fantasy worlds with dragon riders, strong heroines, and a decent splash of romance, you'll want to add this to your TBR immediately.


Our main girlie, Violet Sorrengail, always envisioned a quiet, peaceful life as a scribe (lol you can see where this is going, right?), quietly documenting history and basking in knowledge. But the 20-year-old's plans are shattered when her mother, a powerful general in the Navarre army, forces her into the brutal Rider Quadrant of Basgiath War College. 

Here, Violet faces live-threatening trials alongside hundreds of hopefuls, all vying to become dragon riders. She also faces various very attractive men — one in particular (ahem Xaden Riorson) who happens to be a total bad boy-slash-son-of-the-guy-who-was-executed-for-leading-a-rebellion. And also her wingleader. Because this is an enemies-to-lovers trope after all. (Come on, you know that's not a spoiler. It's literally what you came for.)


Hopelessly under-prepared for the physically demanding training and fierce too-the-death competition, and battling a chronic illness that makes her even less suited to life in the hectic Riders Quadrant, Violet struggles to survive. But she's determined to prove herself, and as she navigates the harsh environment imminent gruesome death around pretty much every corner, and a delicious shadow daddy rebel with a cause, Violet uses her smarts, gathers allies and basically kicks butt (with juicy as heck romantic build-up and occasional breaks for some 2-3/5-level spice).

Oh, and there are dragons. Pretentious, badass dragons. 

So what is Iron Flame

Rebecca Yarros's Iron Flame is the second book in the series, and was released in October 2023. I don't want to say too much, because if you haven't read Fourth Wing, you're definitely going to need to do that first. But if you've read it, you'll understand the significance of six little words: "My house. My chair. My woman." 

These words might mean absolutely nothing to you. Or they may make you tingle in special places.


The second book in the Empyrean Series throws Violet into her even-deadlier second year at Basgiath War College, and things just... keep getting darker.

The spotlight shifts from weeding out the weak to forging elite dragon riders, pushing Violet's physical and mental limits. Torn between the ruthless lessons of Threshing and the development now demanded of her, Violet navigates a web of lies to uncover secret after deadly secret within Basgiath's walls.

As a forbidden and very hot romance blossoms, Violet must face attacks not just on her personally but on the very foundation of the academy and the society she lives in. It's the same magic, dragons, slow-burn romance, political intrigue and sexy times we know and love from Fourth Wing, with a cliffhanger ending that left fans d-y-i-n-g for the next book in the series to hurry up and come out asap pls.


How many Fourth Wing books are there? 

Currently, there are two books in the Empyrean Series — Fourth Wing and Iron Flame. The series is currently slated for five books in total, and thank god for that because we all need SOMETHING to look forward to in this crazy world.

Are there Fourth Wing bonus chapters?

Why yes, friend, there are! And praise be to the romantasy writers who keep pumping out bonus bits, because they give us LIFE when we finish a series and just need more.

You can find the bonus chapters in the new B Format Fourth Wing Rider Black Edition — chapters 9 and 16, to be precise — and both are from Xaden's POV. The first gives us a peek through his eyes when he takes Violet (aka Violence) to the mat for the first time (steamy); and I don't want to give too much away, but the second bonus chapter gives us Xaden's take on THAT *very* crucial scene from Threshing.

I can say no more without spoilers, so you're on your own now, kid.

But if you need to read them (you do) before you get your hands on the new special edition, head on over to Rebecca Yarros' website and... enjoy, friend.

Have you read Fourth Wing? Tell us in the comments section below.

Alix Nicholson is Mamamia's Weekend Editor and unofficial romantasy correspondent. For more of her bookish obsessions, follow her on Instagram.

Feature Image: Supplied; Hachette.

Do you have any Streaming Video Services in your household? e.g. Netflix, Stan, etc. We want to hear from you! Take our survey now to go in the running to win a $100 gift voucher.