This book has gotten an insane amount of hype on Twitter, and while I understand why people liked it, I could have been a lot stronger than it was. The plot was more interesting than anything else, and I’m disappointed to see that the book didn’t live up to its hype.
Furyborn follows the story of two women: Rielle Dardenne and Eliana Ferracora. Rielle has the ability to control the Empirium—a magical force that holds all elements, and she has to prove herself as the Sun Queen by undergoing a series of dangerous trials. A little over a century later, Eliana lives as a bounty hunter struggling to put food on the table. Legends and stories are told of the Blood Queen Rielle, and how her actions have wreaked havoc to the kingdom. She finds herself waged in a war that’s centuries old, but she’s hiding a life-changing secret. When her mother goes missing, Eliana teams up with a band of rebels that lead her to realize that the empire is far more dangerous than she could comprehend. Rielle and Eliana live a thousand years apart, but their fates and stories intertwine.
I loved the idea of this book. There is something so enamoring about the idea of having two powerful leads fulfilling an age-old prophecy where one would destroy the world while the other can save it…but I found myself disappointed. The prologue started off great, but by the time I continued to read on, it felt as if I was reading a completely different book from the one I started. The world-building was lackluster and none of the elements or settings were established. There’s barely any details about the previous war that nearly destroyed the world, the gate, the angels, and basically just overall context on why the thing is happening. The idea of having two alternating POVs set in time periods so far apart created an unbalanced dynamic throughout the book, and I found myself skimming Eliana’s chapters just to get to the next part of Rielle’s. These timelines don’t exactly coincide with one another, so it was as if I, as a reader, was pulled into two different directions in every alternating chapter.
On the bright side, the characters are easy to understand, unlike the rest of the book. Rielle is this character trying desperately to be a good person despite all the crap she’s been through in her life. She has this incredible power that she’s been told all her life to be ashamed of, and she’s in love with her guy-best-friend who her girl-best-friend is engaged to. The prologue—which just was there to make things more confusing by the way—had me not rooting for any of her romantic interests? It’s made clear early on (the PROLOGUE) that she ends up killing the nice guy despite having just birthed his baby two years after the events of the book, and that the bad dude is bad and just ends up assaulting her right after she said birth.
Eliana on the other hand, knowingly does things that aren’t the best course of action—yay morally grey characters I guess—but it’s cool because she’s a badass bounty hunter so whatever? I wasn’t initially a fan of hers, but like many other readers, she eventually grew on me and her characterization as this remorseless girl to someone who learns to care for people other than herself was great to read. I would talk more about Eliana, but I don’t want to give more away. For her romance though, I’m a little bit iffy about Simon since he continuously lied and acted rudely up until they get together. There’s also the thing that he’s eight years older than her, which normally I would be turning a blind eye to, but there was definitely a lot of power difference that I wasn’t a fan of.
Even if they’re easy to understand though, they are so hard to care for. I literally will barely bat an eye if someone tells me that every single character gets hit by a truck.
I think it’s great that these girls (both, I think? but Eliana for sure) are canonically bisexual, but it really didn’t feel that way. This book perpetuates the stereotype that being bisexual means being promiscuous, and that’s incredibly harmful and untrue. Rielle is attracted to a voice in her head, which I guess is sexy in theory considering he’s ~sultry~ and ~dark~ but realistically that’s kind of weird.
As a whole, I loved the concept and the idea of Furyborn. I’m a little more attached to the side characters rather than the main ones, and I’m disappointed that the actual book turned out to be weaker than the plot. I appreciate what the book tried to be, but I think I’ll be forgetting Furyborn soon. I think I’ll pick up Kingsbane just to see what happens to Corien. I’m very much confused and I have like 50 questions I want to be answered.
P.S. This also feels a lot more new adult than young adult, and I’ve also read an ARC review for Kingsbane implying that there’s a rape scene. So readers interested in picking that up should probably know that bit.
Title: Furyborn (Empirium #1)
Author: Claire Legrand
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
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