Furyborn (Empirium Trilogy #1) by Claire Legrand
About the Book
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire | Release Date: May 22, 2018 | Pages: 501
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy | Format: eARC | Source: Publisher via Netgalley
When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.
One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart 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.
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3.5 stars WOW. Furyborn by Claire Legrand drew me immediately into a story that spans one thousand years in a world where angels do not have humanity’s best interests at heart and prophesy is coming true. Furyborn is set in the mythical world of Aritas and is told from two points of view in an alternating narrative:
–Rielle is a queen of years past in a time where magic was rare. Those that could wield used castings and could only control one element… Rielle needs nothing but her anger to wield all seven. When she is forced to make her abilities known to save someone else, she undergoes trials to prove herself.
–Eliana is a bounty hunter in Ventera 1,000 years later, serving the Undying Empire to protect her family. She has a unique ability that no one but her brother knows about. Magic isn’t a thing anymore, and she lives in a world where the legends of Rielle are looked upon as myth rather than history. When she gets an assignment for the Empire, things get a lot more complicated.
—(Okay three POVs if you count 8 year old Simon in the opening chapter) Simon is a marque, the product of an angel and human. Marques have special abilities but must live in secret.
“Two Queens will rise.
One of blood. One of light.”
I really love narratives that begin with “the end;” where something happens and then it flashes back in time so you can trace the events to led to that moment. When done well this is an incredibly powerful tool, and it is executed nicely here but left me wanting for more. This is a fast-paced and action filled tale that builds its own mythos and puts a spin on the “angelic nature” of angels. I had a tough time putting it down, even though I got a bit lost in some of the action scenes! Nearly every chapter ended with a cliffhanger (ugh!), and while I found myself annoyed at times with the shifting perspectives I did not find it necessarily difficult to follow.
“Some say the queen was frightened in her last moments but I like to think that she was angry.”
The world-building on the surface is incredibly interesting: religious, political, magical and social components are alluded to as the story progresses; however, I do feel that a lot of the world-building was sacrificed for action-packed fight scenes (which I started skimming about halfway through). Plot developments were easy to guess but not in a way that felt annoyingly cliche and obvious, and overall I was ravenous to piece more together. Unfortunately, I am a bit disappointed that two important historical things never are explained, and that gap lessened my reading experience for me. If I am being honest with myself, it’s likely because I was invested in the romance between Audric and Rielle… and I wanted more answers there. 💘💘💘 It is worth noting that there are a couple of tasteful sex scenes, which I personally don’t associate with YA, but consent is well depicted here and I think that is sososo important.
Because the book starts with the end (and a new beginning), as the reader you know where the story is going. You know which MC is which queen in the first pages of the book but the mystery is in the journey they take to get there. There is still so much story to tell here and I look forward to learning more about what happened with Rielle in those 2 years, as well as what happens in the future for Eliana.
I know that this is a very polarizing book; from other reviews, I have seen people either love or hate this story. While I personally enjoyed the world-building and narrative structure, I know that it isn’t for everyone. Even with my enjoying the book, I still only give it a 3.5 out of 5: I found the action to be a bit excessive at times and I never really cared about Eliana’s narrative. I know it would have changed the whole book structure but I would have much rather had it told solely from Rielle’s POV; however, I recognize that a lot of what I adored about the book would be negated as a result. I want what I want, okay?!
ARC provided via Netgalley by the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire, in exchange for my honest review. Quotes taken from an uncorrected proof and are subject to change upon publication.