Review – Furyborn

Posted February 16, 2018 by Paige in Book Reviews, Reviews / 1 Comment

Review – FurybornFuryborn (Empirium, #1) by Claire Legrand
Published by Sourcebooks Fire on May 22nd 2018
Genres: YA, YA fantasy
Pages: 512
Goodreads
four-stars

The stunningly original, must-read fantasy of 2018 follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world...or doom it.
When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed...unless the trials kill her first.
A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable--until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.
As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world--and of each other.

This book is SO HYPE all over the online bookish community, and once I got wind of it and read the synopsis, I was all aboard the hype train. As an unapologetic fangirl for Avatar: The Last Airbender, even the tiniest mention of element-wielding characters has me flailing and reminding my husband that “I’m the Avatar, so you gotta deal with it.” It’s…probably charming?

In order to prep myself for this book, I decided to read Claire Legrand’s Winterspell, which I believe is her debut YA title. I had heard mixed things about it, and I wanted to read it for myself before tackling Furyborn. I will admit that I struggled with Winterspell. It was kind of odd, and the pacing seemed to be all over the place. It didn’t take me too many chapters of Furyborn to see that Legrand really found her stride while writing it. She created a story of her own and ran with it, as opposed to writing a retelling that, honestly, fell a little short of my expectations.

One of the most interesting things about this book is the use of dual perspectives. It follows two women, Rielle and Eliana, who live centuries apart. Eliana knows Rielle as the fallen Blood Queen, whose demise stole the magic from the world. Rielle is just a young, scared woman, who has a terrible secret revealed to the world, and must prove herself to her peers, her King, and her Church in order to keep his life.

Although this might sound like a spoiler, it really isn’t. We learn that Rielle becomes a queen, but that she is truly the prophesied Blood Queen, a queen of destruction, as opposed to the benevolent Sun Queen she was heralded to be. Through Eliana’s story line, we learn just how hard times have fallen since the times of Rielle. In Rielle’s story line, we can’t help but root for her and hope that she succeeds in her trials to prove her power, even though we know the sad fate she ultimate finds for herself.

Normally, you would think that knowing someone falls from grace and other terrible things happen during their life means you wouldn’t care about their story because you know there is not happy ending. THIS IS NOT TRUE HERE. Before I learned anything else about Rielle, I knew that her life turned out the polar opposite of what she dreamed of. However, reading through her story line made me yearn to know exactly what happened to cause her fall from grace. She seems all-powerful and invincible, with the strength of many behind her. What went wrong? Unsurprisingly, since this is slated to be a trilogy at this point, we don’t learn everything that happens. Instead there are little bits and details that make you speculate about what kinds of things could happen. I very much feel like Rielle is similar to Aang from Avatar. They didn’t sign up for this shit, man.

Hundreds of years later, the world is dark and dismal, with an overpowerful Emperor ruling things, and many people doing terrible things just to survive. Eliana is one of these people, but she very quickly finds herself in something much bigger than she thought she was. Without giving too much away, she finds herself switching allegiance in order to protect her family, and she inadvertently learns secrets about herself that turn her world upside down. While Rielle’s story is about her own rise to power, Eliana’s is about undoing Rielle’s fall.

I absolutely love Eliana. She’s morally grey, canonically bisexual, fiercely protective of her family, and incredibly sure of herself. And the best thing about stories with characters that are sure of themselves is when they, inevitably, become unsure. Mwuahahaha!

As things progressed in both perspectives, I will admit that I found things slightly predictable. This isn’t always a deal-breaker for me, though. I’d rather predict something that fits and makes sense than be surprised by something that causes the whole story to jump the shark. While it took me a little while to attach to the main characters, I ultimately did, and I absolutely will continue on with this series. I REALLY want the next book, which is slightly problematic, since this one doesn’t even technically become available until May 22nd of this year. If you like elemental magic, cosmic beings, morally grey characters, and chicks with an insane number of knives, then this one is for you!

four-stars

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