Review: Furyborn by Clare Legrand

Image result for furyborn coverFuryborn (The Empirium Trilogy #1) by Clare Legrand
May 22, 2018 from Sourcebooks Fire
Young adult fantasy
Goodreads | Amazon

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.

From other reviews, Furyborn seems to be a “love-it-or-hate-it” type of book.To me, it wasn’t great, and it wasn’t terrible. Furyborn had a lot of creative worldbuilding that I haven’t seen in fantasy often, and a few interesting characters. Really, I just feel somewhat ambivalent about this book–there were a lot of things I liked, yes, and there were a lot of things I found boring or slow.

Between Rielle and Eliana, I liked both of them about the same. Neither of them were my favourite characters, but I didn’t find myself particularly annoyed with them. I felt like both Rielle and Eliana were very archetypal, somewhat generic fantasy characters. The side characters, however, I found interesting. I liked Ludivine a lot; she was just so incredibly sweet and angelic, so even though Rielle and Audric didn’t hold my interest, I liked being in Rielle’s POV because of Ludivine. On Eliana’s side, I liked Remy, Navi, and Simon the most. Remy and Navi were just so nice and positive compared to Eliana’s pessimism, and Simon was intriguing, even if he was kind of an ass.

Plot-wise, I found the whole book somewhat slow and repetitive, which really made me struggle in some areas. I really felt it with Rielle and the seven trials: each of them were so similar to the other ones. Rielle would describe her costume, the crowd cheering, almost die, and Corien would speak to her and she would miraculously make it out alive. I liked seeing Rielle outside of the trials and especially with Ludivine and Audric, and witnessing her trying to navigate complicated court politics. Eliana’s side of the plot was slightly faster and more interesting, but I still struggled in parts.

One aspect of the worldbuilding I liked is the creativity of the lore. Angels don’t show up in otherworld fantasy often, so that part of the worldbuilding had me hooked. It’s a fairly unique concept. I do wish some of it had been expanded on–I would like to know more about the empire and the angels–but I expect that will come in the next book. There was a lot in this book that I was expecting to happen but looks as if it will be saved for a sequel, which personally left me feeling kind of betrayed. The book opens with Rielle as an anti-heroine and a crisis, but after that all the action died down, and so did the continued establishment of the world that makes it feel real.

This is especially obvious in the 1,000 year timeskip from Rielle and Eliana. Except for a few mild things, such as guns and gas lamps, the world feels the same. I would say, in our historical terms, Rielle’s era reads like high medieval era, while Eliana’s is Regency-era at the latest–that’s a difference of 400-500 years at most, and I definitely felt the lack of change while reading it. Why do people still fight with swords, especially when there are guns? Why are the same countries all still around with the same borders after 1000 years, even accounting for the existence of the Undying Empire? Having the feeling of time lapsed would have been really nice to see and given the book a lot more atmosphere than it has right now.

I did mostly enjoy reading Furyborn, though. Yes, the plot was a bit slow at times, but in the end I liked the characters and the worldbuilding enough, even if nothing was an absolute standout to me. Throne of Glass fans might like this, but if you don’t like slow fantasies, then this book is probably not for you. I will definitely be picking up Kingsbane after it comes out.

“People like us don’t fight for our own hope,” he said quietly. “We fight for everyone else’s.”


16 thoughts on “Review: Furyborn by Clare Legrand

  1. Great review. It makes me a bit nervous that you said it was quite slow and repetitive. This book has gotten quite mixed reviews. I’ve really enjoyed Clare’s writing in the past but I’m still on the fence about this one.

    1. Thanks! Honestly this is the first book of hers I’ve managed to finish. I don’t think her writing clicks with me, so if you like her writing you might like it better than I did.

  2. I needed this review. It has been on my TBR forever and I’ve basically hijacked it from the library but I think you’ve convinced me to let it go. Sounds like it just wouldn’t be my cup of tea.

    1. It’s hard to let books go 😦 More time for better books, though!

  3. I keep postponing reading this one and mainly because I hear many things about it’s slow pace.

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one then! I would say it’s worth a try if you have time but it isn’t a must read.

  4. I don’t mind so much slow, but, when you hear repetitive, it really makes you pause and think about it! I think I may shift this to my maybe list, I’m glad to hear the minor/secondary characters are interesting, but not so sure about this one anymore!

    1. I agree, slow is fine – I’ve read a lot of slow books that have a really engaging plot. I’d say it’s worth a try if you have the time though!

  5. great review. although what you say about the plot being slow and repetitive makes me slightly wary of it, but i don’t really want to cancel it. i also love that the side characters are interesting, most of the time we see side character that are dull and overshadowed by the main characters, i like that this book isn’t like that.

    1. Thank you! I’d say that it’s worth checking out because it’s a pretty interesting world/characters, and people either seem to love or hate this book.

  6. I have been on the fence about this book for quite sometime now because of its mixed reviews! Maybe I’ll read it but I don’t think anytime soon ! Great review 💛

    1. Thanks! It’s worth a try if you have time but I don’t think it’s a must read 🙂

  7. Fantastic review! I admit I wasn’t a fan of this book, I kept expecting it to blow my mind and it never did. I agree that the lore was one of the most interesting things about the book, but I just couldn’t get into how generic the characters felt. I also agree that there was very little difference in that 1000 year gap. If we look at our history, 1000 years ago things were dramatically different. It’s ridiculous that most things would remain the same like that.

    1. Thank you! I agree with everything you say. I wanted so badly for the book to really wow me but it never happened. I’ve heard a lot of good things and a lot of bad things but I didn’t feel strongly either way :/

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