Author: Claire Legrand
Series: Empirium, #1
Publisher: Sourcefire Books
Release Date: May 22nd 2018
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.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
My Thoughts On…
Ever since she was a child Rielle has been taught to suppress and fear her power. However, when her best friend is attacked by assassins she unleashes everything, and reveals herself as one of the two prophesied Queens her people have been waiting for. Centuries later Rielle and her story is nothing more than a myth to Eliana, until her mother goes missing and she finds herself fighting the war that Rielle started.
Furyborn’s prologue drops us into the heart of the action, and the very end of the story for Rielle. We see the everything she has wrought as Queen as she gives birth to her child and hands the newborn baby to the only person left who can protect her from those who would see her dead. The first chapter then takes us back to a time before Rielle was Queen, before she revealed her powers or the part she would play in the prophecy.
In order to prove she is the Sun Queen, and not the feared Blood Queen, Rielle must undertake seven tasks to prove her control over the elements and her devotion to the Kingdom. But the trials are dangerous, and there’s a voice whispering in Rielle’s ear, guiding her, that she isn’t sure she can trust. Eliana’s mother is just one more woman taken, vanished without a trace, but in order to find her she has to make a deal with the enemy and work against the Kingdom she serves and fears.
Furyborn was told in two POVs; Rielle’s and Eliana’s. Despite both girls being centuries apart their stories connected in small ways which made it easy to jump from one perspective, and one time, to the other. I was a little worried at first that I wouldn’t be able to connect to Rielle’s story, given that the prologue essentially revealed how it would end, but I loved her chapters even more than Eliana’s at times.
Rielle has spent her life hiding, she’s always had to be careful but now she believes she has enough control over her powers that she can live a normal life without exposing her gift. Rielle is confident, self-assured, she doesn’t fear the tasks as much as she should given how deadly they are, and she is loyal beyond belief to her two best friends and those she loves. There are times when Rielle questions which Queen she really is, Sun or Blood, but she is loyal to her country and her people so what are a few harmless lies here and there if it helps her complete the next task or keep her life.
There are two sides warring in Rielle’s story. There’s her best friend and the prince, Audric, who Rielle loves and who wholly believes in and supports her throughout the trials, and there’s the voice in her mind who sees her as someone with the strength to conquer the trials and so much more if she would just reach out and take the power offered to her. The love Rielle feels for Audric can never become anything more, he’s a prince and already promised to another, but knowing how the story ends for both Rielle and Audric didn’t mean I didn’t root for their characters.
Eliana is known to her Kingdom as the Dread of Orline, a bounty hunter who serves the king and hands over any who try to escape. With women disappearing there are plenty of families trying to flee the boarders of the Kingdom, and Eliana shows them no mercy. She doesn’t care about many people, just her mother, best friend and her younger brother, and she is willing to do anything to keep them and them alone safe.
Having made a deal with Simon, his help in finding her mother for Eliana’s help with his task, Eliana is taken to the heart of the rebellion camp where she struggles to make a place for herself surrounded by the people she’s hunted. At times Eliana’s character felt a little closed off, she presented a mask of indifference to the world, but I thought her change from unwilling ally to willing supporter of the rebellion came a little too suddenly. One minute she was only concerned with her family, the next she was willing to sacrifice herself for Simon and his people.
The main strength in the world building of Furyborn is in the myths the characters believe in and culture. While we see a lot of the land as Rielle completes her seven tasks and as Eliana travels with Simon, it’s hearing the stories of prophecies and angels in Rielle’s time and the stories of the fearsome Blood Queen who brought ruin to their kingdom so long ago in Eliana’s time that helped me enjoy this book so much. Claire Legrand has almost created two worlds in Furyborn; in Rielle’s time people believe in magic and believe in the prophecy which speaks of the gates falling and the angels once more finding their way into the world, whereas Eliana’s time is a darker one where magic, prophecy and Rielle’s story is nothing more than a fairytale.
As far as first books in new series go Furyborn is one of the best I have read in a long time. There was plenty of action to keep the plot moving forwards, two incredibly written female main characters with different strengths and abilities, and a setting full of danger, myths and magic. Most of the plot twists were really obvious, mainly because of the prologue, but I still enjoyed seeing both characters’ stories unfold as the book continued.
What did you think of Furyborn? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.
All quotes have been taken from an ARC and may differ in the final publication.