Book Reviews

Furyborn by Claire Legrand (ARC Review)

🌟 5 stars 🌟

Happy release day! I received an ARC of this book last week from Netgalley and I devoured it. I have never read a book quite like this before; it felt like I was reading a prequel and the first book in a series simultaneously but Claire Legrand somehow made it work. Definitely one of my favorite books of all time now. Furyborn deserves all the stars, so five out of five stars to me! I’ll try to keep my review as spoiler-free as possible, but there might be possible minor ones so read at your own risk.

Blurb:

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.

“Revolution means nothing if their soldiers forget to care for the people they’re fighting to save.”

This book begins with an action scene set two years ahead of Queen Rielle’s trials and majority of the book. The scene doesn’t quite make sense when you first read it, but the pieces come together as the plot progresses. Nevertheless, Furyborn hooked me in from the beginning and all the way through to the end.

I loved the world that Claire Legrand created and I loved  these complex characters just a tiny bit more. After the action-packed prologue, the story goes back two years and starts off from Rielle Dardenne’s point of view. Audric and Rielle secretly participate in a race where assassins’ ambush Audric and Rielle exposes her abilities in order to save him. Thus, she is thrust into seven weeks of seven trials, to prove that she has control over her magic in the seven elements and that she will loyally serve the crown as the sun queen instead of reign destruction as the blood queen. As a side note, I kept thinking of Rielle as the Avatar from Avatar: The Last Airbender and laughing to myself throughout this book.

Rielle is such a resilient character and I loved reading the chapters from her point of view. She believes wholeheartedly that she is a good person and that she is the prophesized Sun Queen, but some of her actions contradict these statements. At times I felt that she was a little too influenced by the people around her and a little naive at times as well. She seemed like she just wanted to please everyone, but did not really think about what made her happy. However this was understandable given her upbringing. Then with Audric, I just felt pain whenever I read about him, because he is just a beacon of light (ha) and doesn’t deserve the pain and choices that he will have to make.

Onto Eliana Ferracora, whose story takes place a good thousand years later. In Eliana’s world, Rielle’s story is nothing more than a fairytale. She is known as the Dread of Orline and murders people for the Empire in order to care for her family. However, when her mother gets abducted, she has to work with the rebels that she has hunted her whole life in order to find her. Along the way, the secrets of her life come to light and set her on a path that she could not have foreseen. As another aside, Eliana reminded me vaguely of Deadpool from the Marvel Universe. You’ll see why.

Eliana has a tough outer shell, because that is what she needs to do for her line of work, but underneath she is just a girl that cares fiercely for her loved ones. She seems cocky and cold, but it’s all a front. As the story progresses, we see the ice melt around her heart and watch as her act of being a “bad girl” who does not care for others slips away. I loved Eliana as well, even though she made plenty of mistakes that had serious repercussions, she always did what she felt she had to do.

I loved her eight year old, little brother Remy so much more though. He is my favorite character in this series so far even though he is not one of the main characters.  As seen throughout the book, he is intelligent for his age, but his innocence has not been ruined. For example, he tells stories of the “Old World” (Rielle’s world), but changes the endings so that they’re happy endings.

I could go on and on about how much I love this book, but it is so hard to without giving away major spoilers. This book was a whirlwind of plot twists and pain, but the good kind. Overall, it was a wonderful read and I don’t know how I’ll cope with waiting for the next installment in the Empirium Trilogy.

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