cover art title for Fourth Wing by Rebecca Yarros

Want To Know What’s Going on in Xaden Riorson’s Head? Read ‘Fourth Wing’s Bonus Chapters

So, like the rest of us, you’ve been sucked into author Rebecca Yarros’ Empyrean world, racing through Fourth Wing and eagerly purchasing its sequel, Iron Flame. Now, luckily, we know there’s a third book on the way, but there’s more you can read in the meantime, too.

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The Empyrean series follows Violet Sorrengail, a young woman thrust into the violent and fast-paced world of dragon riding, following in her family’s footsteps. Though enemies lurk around every corner, one enemy, in particular, catches Violet’s eye at Basgiath War College: Xaden Riorson, a dangerous, shadow-wielding, and annoyingly handsome stranger with a complicated past. Soon, their fates become intertwined, and Violet and Xaden find themselves drawn to each other in ways they can no longer suppress.

Yarros’ Empyrean books are written from Violet’s first-person perspective. As such, we know how Violet feels and thinks, the way her body reacts to Xaden’s presence and the pain she endures as she fights to stay alive. What we don’t know, however, is how Xaden internally responds to Violet’s intrusion in his life. Does he truly hate her as much as she assumes? Or is there more going on beneath that irritatingly cocky exterior? Well, now you can find out for yourself.

Wait, Fourth Wing has more chapters?

Not exactly. Remember how Stephenie Meyer wrote the entirety of Twilight from Edward’s point of view and called it Midnight Sun? Well, that’s basically what Rebecca Yarros has done, too, except on a much smaller scale, and you don’t have to purchase an entirely new book to find out more.

On her website, Yarros has uploaded two Fourth Wing bonus chapters (you can read them here). Each bonus chapter is a retelling of a chapter in the original novel but written from Xaden’s point of view. The first bonus chapter revisits chapter 9 in the novel, in which Violet and Xaden spar on the mat for the first time, and the second bonus chapter revisits chapter 16, just after Violet’s Threshing experience.

However, before you eagerly start reading these bonus chapters, there’s something you should be aware of. If you’re reading Fourth Wing right now, and you’ve only just made it past chapter 16, there is one major spoiler in the first bonus chapter that doesn’t come into play until later in the book. So, even though you might be desperate to know what Xaden is thinking, it might be best to wait a little while longer until you’ve finished the whole thing. On the website, you will also encounter the chapter 16 retelling first. If you want to read them in order, you can scroll down to find chapter 9.

So, did Xaden feel just as confused, conflicted, annoyed, and, well …. attracted as Violet did? You’ll have to read Fourth Wing’s bonus chapters to find out.

(featured image: Entangled/Red Tower Books)


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El (she/her) is The Mary Sue's U.K. editor and has been working as a freelance entertainment journalist for over two years, ever since she completed her Ph.D. in Creative Writing. El's primary focus is television and movie coverage for The Mary Sue, including British TV (she's seen every episode of Midsomer Murders ever made) and franchises like Marvel and Pokémon. As much as she enjoys analyzing other people's stories, her biggest dream is to one day publish an original fantasy novel of her own.