Book Review: KINGSBANE by Claire Legrand


Genre: Fantasy
Age Range: YA
Star Rating: 3 stars
Series: yes - book 2 in trilogy



kingsbane.jpgTwo queens, separated by a thousand years, connected by secrets and lies, must continue their fight amid deadly plots and unthinkable betrayals that will test their strength—and their hearts.

Rielle Dardenne has been anointed Sun Queen, but her trials are far from over. The Gate keeping the angels at bay is falling. To repair it, Rielle must collect the seven hidden castings of the saints. Meanwhile, to help her prince and love Audric protect Celdaria, Rielle must spy on the angel Corien—but his promises of freedom and power may prove too tempting to resist.

Centuries later, Eliana Ferracora grapples with her new reality: She is the Sun Queen, humanity’s long-awaited savior. But fear of corruption—fear of becoming another Rielle—keeps Eliana’s power dangerous and unpredictable. Hunted by all, racing against time to save her dying friend Navi, Eliana must decide how to wear a crown she never wanted—by embracing her mother’s power, or rejecting it forever.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


As books go, KINGSBANE was OK.

Mostly, it was too long and, while at times the pages turned with relative ease, I spent a fair bit of time slogging through. The problem was that there was so much going on that didn’t obviously add to the main plots for each girl, or lots of rehashing what had just happened as they repetitively despaired over whether they were going evil/if people loved them. I think I would have enjoyed it more if it was condensed and felt more focused.

The magic is still unexplained and both girls feel overpowered – though at least Eliana is struggling to learn and use it. Rielle in particular demonstrated time and time again that her magic was limitless, so there was no sense of danger in her chapters.

Instead, the danger for Rielle was supposed to be the temptations/actions leading her to become the Blood Queen. Frankly, her fall was the reason I picked up this book. However, if she’d sat down and had a conversation with Audric – trusting him to listen and understand – then there wouldn’t be half the problems she faced. Plus the ending wouldn’t have been the way it was because she’d trusted and told him everything before. It’s a case of “I’m going to keep this secret because I’m afraid he’ll hate me, despite him showing previously that he’s very  understanding and listens even to things that many would grow angry about”. So, of course, when the secrets inevitably come out, he’s angry that she’s been keeping it and it all goes down.

Instead of talking, she avoids it by sleeping with him. And what on earth was that sex scene in the hall of saints?

For all of two chapters, the POVs were strongly linked, though there were more references in Eliana’s chapters to Rielle – but not much. While Eliana’s story felt a little more connected, Rielle still felt like a separate book. This didn’t help the book feel focused, because it was two stories chopped together.

In addition to the girls’ POVs, there are scattered chapters from other characters who only get one chapter (save Corien, who gets two). The fact that they didn’t return as narrators felt rather pointless. For example, the Navi chapter sounds like it’s setting something up – giving her a whole story line that will then reconnect with Eliana’s – but it doesn’t. Nothing comes of it, and Eliana hardly spares a thought for her friend who she’s spent Act One being reckless to save.

I’ve made it this far, so I’ll probably read the final book, but I’m not queuing up to read it immediately.

Read my reviews of other books by Claire Legrand:

The Empirium Trilogy (this series):


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