Title: Furyborn (Empirium #1)
Author: Claire Legrand
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Sourcefire Books
No. of pages: Hardcover, 512
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Date Read: December 31, 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, 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.
I had heard great things about Furyborn before it came out and I knew that it was one that I wanted to read in 2018. Right after it released, Claire Legrand was at one of my local Barnes and Noble stores and I got to meet her and have her sign my copy. This month, I’ll have gotten to meet her again as she’ll be back at my Barnes and Noble with Holly Black for the release of The Wicked King and I figured what better time to finally pick up my copy of Furyborn. Y’all. I’m so mad at myself for not picking this book up sooner.
Furyborn follows the story of two girls, both destined to be the famous Blood and Sun Queens. Set 100 years apart, these girls are put in the most brutal situations. Rielle, who has grown up in the King’s home has found herself in the most precarious of circumstances after she used her elemental powers to keep the prince safe without the use of a casting (weapon). The prophecy of the two queens is then brought up along with signs of trouble around the rest of the Empire. Rielle is then thrown into different trials to test her use of all the elements. If she fails, she dies. If she is successful, she’ll be crowned in her rightful place. But things are happening within her and she has to decide whether she will be in control or if she’ll let those things control her. Eliana has grown up in the shadow of her assassin mother as has become known as the Dread of Orline. The Empire has taken over her town and conquered most of the kingdom thanks to the Blood Queens disastrous reign. Soon, Eliana takes a job that turns for the worst and the best. She loses almost everything she’s ever known, but she gains knowledge that helps her to understand herself in ways that are beyond what she could have ever imagined. With the help of Simon aka “Wolf” and Zahra, an angelic wraith, she accepts what could only be true; she is the Sun Queen, daughter of the Blood Queen, Rielle. What follows is a cliffhanger in both Rielle and Eliana’s stories that will leave you wanting the next one as soon as you finish.
Let me tell you. I’m amazed at how seamlessly both of these stories flow together. The chapters alternate between Rielle and Eliana’s stories as they’re both becoming, accepting, and acknowledging who they are as Blood and Sun Queens. It was super easy to follow, but so hard to put down as each chapter left you hanging. Neither Rielle or Eliana’s lives are easy but also, neither of them are the same. You can easily tell that both are hiding who they truly are from those that they love and that they both have clearly different attitudes regarding the lives of others. Rielle, though she tells everyone that she is the Sun Queen, we see that her thoughts are darker than she lets on the people around her. Eliana, even though she earns a living through the blood on her hands, hates death and has a heart as much as she tries to hide it. Even though I could tell the twist from the first few chapters regarding the link between Rielle and Eliana, once it was finally revealed on paper, I was still blown away as to how it was written to surprise you (and I was surprised again).
I LOVED the secondary characters in this book. Even though they weren’t the main characters and we didn’t get to see their thoughts regarding events that happened, I loved the scenes that they were in. In Rielle’s story, I loved getting to meet Audric. He’s the prince of Calderia(?) and is not-so-secretly in love with Rielle as much as she is not-so-secretly in love with him. Audric has a charm about him but also a princely quality that you would expect. His heart is always in the right place even though the uneasy choices he must make. In Eliana’s story, I loved getting to meet Remy. Remy is Eliana’s younger brother and he is a dreamer and a writer. He loves getting caught up in stories and telling them to others. He is obsessed with the stories of Old about the angels and is fiercely loyal to his sister. In both stories, I loved getting to meet Simon. In Rielle’s story, he’s just a young boy of six. In Eliana’s, he’s older, seen more, and has the scars to prove it. Through all that this boy has gone through, he has not lost his softness and kindness. He’s dangerous when he needs to be and cares for each, Rielle and Eliana, with selfless resolve. So far in the story, he’ll do anything to keep Eliana safe and honestly, their little flirting is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen. They’re adorable.
Everything in this book was golden. The plot, the research, the dreaming, the characters, the way everything flowed together and the twists and turns. Legrand has created something wonderful and I can’t wait to get my hands on book two. Furyborn has probably been one of my favorite reads of 2018 and I’m so excited that I managed to get it in as I finished it right on New Year’s Eve. I highly recommend that you add Furyborn to your 2019 TBR. You definitely won’t regret it.