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.
MY REVIEW: 4 stars
This was REALLY fun, especially in the first 50%. I’ll definitely pick up the sequel.
Only minor spoilers below – nothing big.
Let’s start with the prologue because holy crap that was fantastic. Way to suck me in, Claire. Anyway, we’re thrust into an intense birth-and-escape scene where Queen Rielle delivers her daughter and shoves her into the arms of a young boy-Simon- telling him he must escape and save her life. Simon basically witnesses this whole horrific scene with the queen and an angel that has come for her before whisking the baby to safety. (Safety meaning years and years later, because Simon has that type of magic.)
The first chapter takes us years previous before Rielle becomes the ever-famous ‘Blood Queen’. We follow her story as her life leads up to the inevitable prologue. Additionally, as a dual POV, we watch her daughter years in the future, who has no idea her real heritage. We learn of a prophecy, one that speaks of the coming of a ‘Sun Queen’ and a ‘Blood Queen’. Thanks to the prologue, we know Rielle is the ‘Blood Queen’.
Anyway, I was super invested in Rielle’s story, especially knowing how it ‘ends’. It’s almost a villain origin story, except Rielle’s heart stays true. I don’t want to spoil much, but her story begins when the kingdom discovers she can control all the elements with her magic, not just one like the rest of the population. They assume she is the long-foretold Sun Queen, and to prove she is the Sun Queen and not the Blood queen, she must complete Trials in front of the kingdom. She also has a bit of a forbidden romance with Aldrik, the prince, though there are about a billion things keeping them apart. Anyway, phew her scenes are super riveting, especially at first. While she’s completing the Trials (which are cruelly put together), she hears a voice. She grows to know the voice as Corien and discovers he is an angel. (Which again, we know Corien is the one she tries to save her daughter from in the prologue.)
Then we have Elianna, her daughter. In her time, she’s known as the “Dread of Orline” – she’s something like a bounty hunter. Think Celaena Sardothian from the ‘Assasin’s Blade’ – or something like that. She’s a bit of an anti hero–she’s fierce and doesn’t listen to anyone, but somewhere in there, she has a good heart. We don’t know what happened to the boy that saved her as a baby, and she doesn’t remember any of that. She was raised by another family and pretty much only cares about them and no one else. BUT her ‘mother’ goes missing and Elianna gets mixed up with a man called the “Wolf’ who makes her a deal to find her mother if Elianna will help him.
So blah blah the story jumps in two different directions.
Anyway, the pacing was batshit crazy. Like, there isn’t a single dull moment. I almost wonder if it was *too* fast at times, but I applaud Claire’s ability to suck the reader in and keep them turning the page. Expect a ton of action and intrigue. I honestly thought this would be a 5-star book up until the last 70%. I think at that point though, the crazy fast pacing lost me a bit. I felt like everything was a bit lackluster to the build-up, but that’s only a personal opinion. I feel like things with Simon + Elianna were a bit rushed (view spoiler)[they got mushy totally out of the blue (hide spoiler)] – I think Elianna’s character arc felt like it came out of left field. As far as Rielle, I still like her a lot, and I loved the whole struggle with Audrik vs Corien. I think at the end, I was just expecting a big blow up with Corien vs Elianna, but nothing really happened. (Soooo I’ll be back for a sequel…)
Lastly, the writing struck me as a bit strange at times. I’m not one to talk or anything, but the type of grammar used threw me a bit.
Oh well, whatever. The story was fun! Corien was a fantastic villain – I’m super intrigued by him. If you know me, I’m a sucker for a good villain.
Do I recommend this? Sure, you’ll have fun reading it.