Furyborn by Claire Legrand
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.
Furyborn by Claire Legrand
Series: Empirium #1
Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy & Magic
Published May 22nd 2018 by Sourcebooks Fire
Hardcover, 512 pages
My Rating: 4.5 of 5 Stars
FURYBORN is Claire Legrand's first book in an exciting new fantasy series called the Empirium. In it, she introduces readers to an alternate world filled with elemental magic where a cosmic battle rages between angels, warrior saints, and humans.
The story follows two fiercely independent young women (one a queen, the other a bounty hunter) born centuries apart, who are part of an ancient prophecy that says two Queens will rise—one of blood, and one of light—and that their arrival will mean the return of the angels and their revenge. Which girl will save the world and which will doom it in this epic fantasy?
From the moment I read the prologue, I was hooked by this nearly unputdownable story. Claire Legrand’s FURYBORN thrusts the reader into an imaginative world of angels, magic, and deception, featuring two complex heroines.
The story centers around an age-old conflict with a warrior race of angels and saints who have been locked out of the mortal world after the Angelic Wars, held only in place by a force known as the Gate, until the day they break free—a day brought on by the arrival of the prophesized Blood and Sun Queens.
What made this story stand out for me was the unique timeline used for the two protagonists stories; each intersecting but told a thousand years apart from each other.
Rielle is introduced in the prologue (one of the most intense I've read in awhile!!) and we see the epic conclusion of her story; a pivotal moment in time that ensures readers will want to know more about her. Her story moves backward, eventually converging with Eliana's story. The seven elemental tests, the romance, the angel whose voice she hears, and her doubts about which queen she really is, all held me captive to her narrative.
Eliana's story alternates with Rielle's and is told from a thousand years later. After meeting Eliana, a hired bounty hunter, the story reveals more about these fierce angels and their connection to the queens of blood and light.
Both girls possess unimaginable elemental powers that they are hiding, and when discovered, both are thrust into a dangerous world of warrior angels. Both are just trying to survive in a world they are not sure how they fit in. Each is questioning whether they are the 'good' or the 'bad' Queen.
Surprisingly, Rielle's story ended up being more intriguing for me. I knew how her story ended but, I desperately wanted to know how she got there.
What I loved most about FURYBORN is the way Claire Legrand didn't write Rielle and Eliana as clearly defined 'good' or 'bad' characters, but rather gave them both complicated, multi-faceted layers that defied their traditional roles.
Fierce and stubborn, I could relate and sympathize with both. These are troubled heroines (my favorite kind!) women who do not fit easily into that typical role as normally defined but, so much more compelling and a breath of fresh air in the YA fantasy genre.
Even though the shift between Rielle's past and Eliana's present story time-lines confused me at times, I wouldn't want their story told any other way.
My only complaint is that I wanted more history and time with these warrior angels and saints, and more one-on-one with them interacting with the Queens. I have a feeling though that my wish will be granted in the next installment in the Empirium Trilogy.
In the end
The novel's ending is at a perfect place. It leaves readers with some answers but needing more as Rielle and Eliana's story meet in a conclusion that leaves you breathless for more.
Readers who enjoy alternate timelines, complex heroines, and a unique world. Fascinating angel and saint lore from the backstory made this even more of a standout read.
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