Book Review: FURYBORN by Claire Legrand

Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA (but some explicit scenes)
Star Rating:3.5/5 stars
Series: Yes - first book in trilogy

Synopsis:

furyborn

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.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add it to your shelves here.


Thoughts:

FURYBORN had an engaging beginning, but it rather fell off towards the end.

The magic was so much fun, if vague and hand-wavey. Can I tell you what the limitations are? No. Did Rielle feel like she had all the magic in the world so why was she struggling? Yes. Did that bother me much? Surprisingly, no. I adore elemental magic, and most of my ‘but what are the limitations?’ demands go out the window. As well as your regular fire-water-earth-air, there’s also shadow, light and metal.

Obviously, two POVs and story lines means you have a favourite. Mine was Rielle. That’s where the magic was, and the strongest goals/stakes. I knew her motivations, and loved her relationships with Ludivine and Audric (even if I could have done without the sex scene).

Rielle’s challenges showcase the magic at its full – a death-trap maze of moving metal, a mountain being brought down on her and more. In Rielle’s story line, in between the challenges, we spent time at court and with her friends.

Eliana, in contrast, was wandering about with people after her, but I’m not sure where she was heading or why. Towards the end, I was just hoping for her chapters to end. At first I wasn’t sure which character I liked more because of the moral quandary her character was in, but then she was simply trying to be unlikable and hard and a monster because… reasons?

There is a prologue.  I generally dislike prologues with a passion, as they often feel like a cheap, quick way to set up tension so the first few chapters don’t have to do the legwork. Obviously, some prologues are great, but on the whole I find them frustrating and precede slow starts.

This wasn’t my problem with this prologue. It spoiled many plot reveals (who Simon is, the connection between Rielle and Eliana). Worse, however, was that it set up Rielle’s fall as Blood Queen. I felt like it was promising we’d know by the end of the book why and how she’d fallen from being thought of as the Sun Queen to being the Blood Queen who kills Audric. But no, this doesn’t happen at all.

I think is partly why the ending was so disappointing. I’d been looking forwards to seeing Rielle go bad and she didn’t. Not to mention the quickfire reveals at the end didn’t have quite enough time to sink in and make sense (Ludivine).

Hands up, this next point is a nitpick. The two story lines are set in the same world a millennium apart. The book very much has a western world/fantasy vibe, so I’m using Europe as a comparison. Rielle’s story line is specified as the year 998. It felt more like slightly pre-Renaissance Europe (so 1350-1450) in terms of sophistication and general technology, but that’s a small enough difference. However, Eliana’s time is about 1000 years later, and yet it felt like the same time frame. The only technological advancement? Small pistols.

Think about the changes in the last thousand years. Even with a massive, evil empire controlling most of the world, there should have been technological advancements – certainly from the free kingdoms. The wars that pushed the empire’s boundaries should have spurred on new weapons. Rielle’s fall is mention to have sucked magic out of the world, which should have spawned new technology as people scrambled to find new ways of living (once they got over the loss of magic).

Yes, this is a tiny, minor point, but it bugged me throughout.

Overall, it was a fun read, even if the ending fell a little flat. I really want to see Rielle’s fall and more magic, so I’m going to read KINGSBANE.


Read my reviews of other books by Claire Legrand:

The Empirium Trilogy (this series):

Standalones:

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