Early Review | Furyborn by Claire Legrand

FurybornFuryborn by Claire Legrand
Empirium #1
YA Fantasy

Sourcebooks Fire | May 22, 2018

About the Book:  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.

amazon2 bn2

I don’t remember what it was about Furyborn that made me want to request it.  I do know when it was time to start the book I was hesitant.  I feel like I’ve been on a reading roll lately, and I worried starting a 515 page book was going to slow me down, especially if it turned out to be a slower read.  Luckily the story started off with a pretty gripping prologue that made me want more.

The pacing of Furyborn was odd.  Each chapter trades back and forth between Rielle and Eliana, in two different millennia’s.  The two stories barely intersect at all, and it did feel like you were flipping back and forth between two different books.  Usually this would drive me insane, but surprisingly I loved it in Furyborn.

There are two specific reasons I think this formula of swapping between them worked.  First, the prologue set up both women’s stories perfectly.  In a sense, it starts with an end, and when you move on to chapter 1, you’re jumping back in time.  You go into the reading knowing where you will end up.  I think choosing to write it like that did take away from some of the adventure’s anxiety, but I think it also added a whole additional level of anticipation.  It was risky, but it was bold and it worked.  Throughout the whole book, whether I was reading about Rielle or Eliana, I never forgot the importance of the first scene.  It left a major impact.

The other reason I think the POV chapter swaps worked was because of Rielle and Eliana’s personal journey’s.  One is the Sun Queen and one is the Blood Queen.  My feelings for both women changed, but not at the same time.  When I was in love with one of the stories, I was frustrated with the other.  And as the story progressed, my feelings for both rotated.  That set up caused me to spend a lot of time thinking about Furyborn.

Simon… he deserves a paragraph of his own.  While I enjoyed reading about Rielle and Eliana, it was Simon who really won me over.  He’s cold and aloof, but it’s to hide his history.  I really hope somewhere in the trilogy, the time between Simon as a little boy and Simon as a man gets filled in for us.  I want to know what happened to him.  I want to know where he got his scar, and why does Zarah say he’s full of pain.

To offer a little bit of constructive criticism -I did find both Rielle and Eliana too sexually driven.  In Seven Realms, one of my favorite Fantasy series, Raisa was boy crazy but it was balanced with a drive to be a good queen for her people.  In fact, I think it was more than balanced.  I never felt that her need to flirt overpowered her goals.  In Furyborn Rielle spent far too much time aching for Audric.  Eliana was bad too, but Rielle was worse.  I’m sure it was based on Rielle’s loneliness, whereas Eliana used her sexuality as a weapon, but either way I felt like too much time was spent on sex for a Fantasy series.

I also think the plot had a bit too much going on in Eliana’s half of the book.  There were kidnappings, and wraiths, and angels, and zombie thingies… So much it almost made my head spin.  Then, in Rielle’s story, too much time was spent her beauty.  I felt like her costumes for the trials were pulled right out of Hunger Games.  It was all just too much.  It could have been paired down, and the story would have been better for it.

Even though Furyborn wasn’t perfect, I want to end this review just reiterating how I’m hooked on this story.  I will be reading all three books, and I was happy I decided to request Furyborn.  I’m hopeful each book will be better and better.

Rating: 3_5 feather

Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire for providing a free ARC in exchange for an honest review.


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9 Responses

  1. Interesting review! I kind of forgot why I put this book on my TBR list like you, but reading your review I realised that this could become an interesting trilogy. Maybe I’ll start reading it soon.

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  2. I have seen this book around the blogs some, but this is the first proper review I’ve read. Well done! I am certainly intrigued by the structure of this book… I like books where you know how it will end but you aren’t certain how the story will take us there. It sounds like not all the connections were well established for this story, however? How long did it take before you felt engrossed in the switching time periods?

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  3. Your review is so interesting, because I disagree with most of it. Let’s pretend we’re surprised. LOL I thought they spent very little time on Rielle’s costumes, and I thought Eliana’s parts were much more sexually charged than Rielle’s. I thought Rielle’s had more of a longing to them, and Eliana’s were more lusty. It was fun to read what you thought. If I’d read your review before we discussed, we would have had even more to talk about.

    Great review.

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