Two queen separated by centuries hold the power to save the world…or doom it.
Queen Rielle exposes her powers in all seven of the elements–something unheard of except in a prophecy of two queens, one of light and salvation and the other of blood and destruction. Rielle must prove her standing as the Sun Queen, not the Blood Queen, through seven trials to test her magic. Failing means execution.
Over a thousand years later, Queen Rielle’s tale is merely legend and Eliana Ferracora is just doing what she must to survive–even if it means killing others to keep her family afloat. But when women across the city begin vanishing without a trace, Eliana joins with a rebel captain to find that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she imagined.
Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war spanning millennia and their stories and connections will determine the fate of the world–and each other.
I really enjoyed this one.
I know I can always count on Claire Legrand to write something that isn’t like the ordinary YA–whether it’s a twisted Nutcracker retelling or a tale of queens across thousands of years.
This is different enough from your regular YA fantasy that it makes it compelling, but similar enough that it will attract a solid fanbase. There’s lots of typical elements in it–magic powers, royalty, political intrigue, and assassins–but there’s also that Legrand sort of twist to it that makes it interesting to me.
This book is very much dedicated to building the world and introducing the whole topic. When I look back at it, it feels almost as if it was introducing the whole idea of the queens and the angels invading and nothing big or extraordinary happened–although things did happen.
Rielle goes through a lot proving herself as worthy and although a sort of The Thousandth Floor sort of spoiler goes on at the very beginning where Rielle’s whole ending is spoiled, you don’t really understand the context until the end of the novel.
On the other hand, Eliana finds herself in a tricky situation and learns about herself along the way.
So both women have their own storylines in the book, but the major thing with the fight against the angels doesn’t actually happen in this book! Which is cool because it is a series and stuff needs to happen for other stuff to happen, but I did feel like it took a very solid amount of time for the actual “Angels have invaded! Ahh!” part to happen.
Still, I enjoyed how Legrand worked with the two points of views and time periods and managed to connect everything together, and I definitely think she still has a lot in store for us.
What I wasn’t a fan of was the structure. At the end of each chapter, it’s usually something that is a cliffhanger or similar to one–so it cuts off right when Rielle is about to, say, go into battle, and switches a thousand years later to Eliana. And then Eliana’s chapter gets cut off right as an alarm bell sounds. Stuff like that.
And while I understand that this can help build the suspense and hook the reader in, that doesn’t mean it has to happen in every. single. chapter. Thankfully, it didn’t feel like a cop-out on Legrand’s part (like in Empress of a Thousand Skies where Belleza cut off at a cliffhanger and then resumed after the action ended) as we did get to finish the scene, but I did find it annoying when I was reading and kind of aggressive? on the author’s part.
I wanted it to go a little more smoothly between chapters and this just made me all around tense, which isn’t exactly how I wanted to read the book.
I still really enjoyed reading, more so than a lot of other fantasies which have managed to blur together for me, and it kept me engaged throughout the whole story with good pacing and (alright, I admit the cliffhanger thing did work, although I’m not too happy about it) the plot.
There’s also diversity (besides just racial) as Eliana talks about her past lovers who have been of more than just the male gender. Do keep in mind that there is one somewhat explicit (still not SJM level explicit, but more than a fade to black) sex scene so it might be better for younger readers to take caution.
But overall, I think Furyborn is a very promising start to a new YA fantasy series and I hope that it keeps up this momentum with its future books, which I am looking forward to reading!
Thank you to Netgalley and Edelweiss Plus and Sourcebooks FIRE for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!