Monday, 11 March 2019

, , , , , , , ,

Review: Furyborn by Claire Legrand (#Ad)

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

I received this eProof for free from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley for the purposes of providing an honest review.

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Published: 22nd May 2018 | Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire | Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Claire Legrand's Website

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.
From Goodreads.

Trigger/Content Warning: This book features explicit sex scenes, kipnap, attempted murder, and experimentation on people.

Being the huge fantasy fan that I am, when I first heard of Furyborn by Claire Legrand, it sounded right up my street. Then, after reading Legrand's Sawkill Girls, which was bloody incredible, I was even more excited to read Furyborn. Though I put it off a while after reading a few negative reviews. I should have ignored them, though, because Furyborn is brilliant!

Rielle is the daughter of the King's Lord Commander, and as such, has grown up being friends with Prince Audric and Lady Ludivine, Audric's cousin. But she hides a secrets; in a world where people have the magic to control one of the elements - wind, water, fire, sun, earth, metal, and shadows - when holding their cast, Rielle can control all seven, with no cast. And accidentally killed her mother in a fire when she was five-years-old. Since, her father has sworn her to secrecy, forcing her into an education to control and push down her power for the safety of others. But when Audric is attacked by assassins during a horse race, she does all she can to try and save him, letting her magic loose - and almost killing everyone in the city at the same time. It's only the fact that there is a prophecy that there will be two queens who can control all the elements, the Blood Queen who will destroy, and the Sun Queen, who will save, that keeps her from execution. To prove she is the Sun Queen, she must make it through seven elemental trials, to prove she can control her powers, each one more dangerous than the last.
A thousand years later, Eliana is the Dread of Orline, a masked bounty hunter who brings in or kills those she is ordered to by the Undying Empire - namely, rebels and those trying to escape the Empire's harsh rule. She's good at it, something she takes pride in, but she tries not to think about it too much; if she cared, she couldn't do it, and this is the only way she and her family can survive. But when her mother goes missing, like many other women and girls have. A rebel captain, Wolf, demands her help, but she only agrees in exchange for his help in finding her mother, and getting her, her mother, and her brother Remy to safety in the free country of Astavar. But while helping Wolf, she discovers what she thought she knew about the Empire's tyranny is nothing compared to the lengths the Emperor will go - and she might be the only one who can stop him.

Mate, Furborn was incredible! I did wonder if I would be captivated by two stories set a thousand years apart, but oh my god, I was! The story is told in alternating chapters from Rielle and Eliana's points of view. Each chapter is fairly short, and almost all end on their own cliff hanger, and so I was always desperate to read more. There was only short while for a few chapters towards the beginning where I was more interested in Eliana's story than Rielle's, but Rielle's soon picked up, and I needed to know what was going to happen to both of them!

The changes that have happened over the span of a thousand years leaves Eliana's world almost unrecognisable as Rielle's world. There are no more Kings and Queens, no more magic - just the Emperor and his tyrannical rule. They're also set on different continents, so they could have been completely different stories. Everyone knows of the legendary Queen Rielle in Eliana's time, but the world is so different, she seems no more than a legend. But the prophecy is of two queens, and who is which? I have to say, I wish we didn't have the prologue. The prologue is one big huge spoiler. It tells us how one character's story ends - and therefore, who they are - and massively hints about the story of the other, to the point where I was 99% sure about something major, that really, I would have preferred to have discovered over the course of the story as a whole. But even though I knew a hell of a lot more than I wanted to, I was still completely captivated by the story, desperate to know what led to that ending for one girl, and what this would mean for the other.

I loved both Rielle and Eliana. They are both hugely flawed characters, and in a lot of ways, they're not good people. Rielle makes choices and keeps secrets that had me shouting at her not to. Eliana has killed innocents, and led children to their death, for an Emperor who wants to rule all. But they're both human. Rielle has kept the secret of her powers ever since she was five, and been pretty much hated by her father ever since. Now she is not only allowed to use her powers freely, to their full extent, she enjoys it. Despite the fact that people are scared of her and what she could do. She's desperate to prove that she can control her power, that she won't hurt anyone, that she is their Sun Queen and will keep them safe - to have them love her, when there's been such a lack of love from her father. Even though she could die in the trials. Even though she could hurt people if she makes one mistake. And this is her motivation behind some of the choices she makes. And the secrets she keeps... well, I can't really comment without spoiling it, but mate, I wanted to shake her! And while I wasn't so interested in the trials themselves (there are so many fantasy novels with trials in, I'm kind of past this trope now), I was completely invested in what those trials led to in her story. She's not just taking part in trials, there's so much else going on.

Eliana is a badass. She has been taught from a young age how to be a bounty hunter by her mother, and her mother taught her well. She's not known as the Dread of Orline for nothing. She is deadly with her knives, and no-one can best her. Under the Emperor's rule, this she must do to keep her family safe. Any feelings she has about what she does - about the people she captures and sends to those who work for the Emperor, knowing their fate - she pushes down, like her mother taught. If she feels, she can't do her job. If she can't do her job, she can't keep her family safe. She's made herself hard and cocky, to protect her mind and her heart from what she has to do. But when her mother disappears, all bets are off. When her latest mark, Wolf, a rebel captain she has been commanded to capture, tells her he can help her find her mother in exchange for her help, it's not something she can refuse. And with the added promise of getting her family safely to Astavar, where they will be out of the Emperor's reach, Eliana joins the rebels. But she cares neither for the rebels nor the Empire, only her family, and she will do what she thinks right for the sake of them, only.

The relationships in this book! Eliana's relationship with her younger brother, Remy, is just so gorgeous. He's ten-years-old, and he's adorable. And it's so surprising that he has such strong morals, given what his sister does. It is very clear to him what is right and what is wrong, and he hates Eliana's job, and wants her to stop, but she can't. He's a little bit of a dreamer, in that he has hope and believes things can get better, where Eliana is more of the opinion that they should make the best of the crap their in, and keep them safe. But he's so smart, too! And Eliana would die for him.

The relationship between Rielle, Audric and Ludivine was also beautiful. They are such good friends, especially Audric and Ludivine, who stick by Rielle's side no matter what - which I sometimes had difficulty with considering Rielle's secrets. But they are so fiercely loyal and stand up for her and support her whenever they can. God, I loved them! There's only the complication that Rielle is in love with Audric, where Audric and Ludivine are betrothed, arranged by parents. This is hard for Rielle, which again, is the reason for some of her idiocy, but I really felt for her. And as a group, the three are just wonderful! I loved them!

This book is also hugely diverse! There's no mention of races, but everyone's skin colour is mentioned - no white default! King Bastien has dark skin, Queen Genoveve has pale skin, so Audric is darker than his mother, but lighter than his father. Harkan, Eliana's best friend and lover, has dark skin, and Navi, a princess of Astavar who was spying on the Empire, that Eliana and the Wolf rescue, has brown skin. Rielle has pale skin, as does Eliana. There's also no mention of sexuality, but Eliana has had female and male lovers, and Rille mentions having sexy dreams of men and women.

The ending of Furyborn is just incredible, because you realise, despite everything that has happened over the course of the book - and it's a lot - it's only now that the story is really beginning, for both Rielle and Eliana. We haven't yet reached the end we saw for one of the characters at the beginning. There's so much more ahead for both of them, and I absolutely cannot wait! Furyborn was so exciting and completely gripping, and has definitely reaffirmed to me that Legrand is an author to watch. I cannot wait for the sequel, Kingsbane!

Thank you to Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley for the eProof.

If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to follow/support me:
Bloglovin' | Twitter | Goodreads | Ko-Fi


  1. I didn't enjoy this one nearly as much, but I'm glad you did and I'll be looking out for your review of Kingsbane, cos I'm still a wee a bit curious about where the story is going :P