Title: Furyborn (Empirium #1)
Author: Claire Legrand
Release Date: May 22, 2018
“This is what I was made for. The thought arose as naturally as breathing. She flexed her fingers, felt power gathering hot in her palms. No, not hot – vital. Her power was not an intangible thing, a trick of the mind. It was the power of the world itself, and all that lived inside it.”
I’ve had an unfortunate trend happen with my reading lately. For quite a few of my recent reads, the farther I get into a story the more my interest wanes and unfortunately the same thing happened to me while I was reading Furyborn. Furyborn follows the story of two women, Rielle and Eliana, whose stories span centuries. One is destined to become the Sun Queen, a savior and protector, the other the Blood Queen who is destined to bring ruination and destruction. We follow both ladies as they uncover more about themselves and the magic in their world.
Things I Liked
I like when fantasy stories
(or any stories really) have little quotes or journal-style entries at the beginning of chapters. I personally love them and I feel like they add to the world and characters. I like getting exposition here because it unfolds as needed and doesn’t take actual story time away to infodump.
The premise of the book is fantastic – it promises elemental powers (which are my fave!), dangerous foes, and 2 storylines following compelling women centuries apart. All of this sounds fantastic and would have made a really amazing story.
The prologue was everything I wanted from the story – action, stakes, intensity. But, unfortunately for me, it wasn’t sustained.
Things I Didn’t Like
I feel like there was absolutely no worldbuilding at all. The magic and powers aren’t established and that was so disappointing because elemental magic is my favorite. There’s a handy little chart in the back of the book that gives more info about each house of magic, but I would have loved to see it built into the story instead of a note in the back of the book. There was also nothing established about the angels, the Gate, or the previous angelic war. I had no idea why the people of Rielle’s time hated the angels, just that they were bad and should be feared. In Eliana’s timeline we’re introduced to a completely different country, with it’s own history that’s glossed over. I just wanted more.
I loved the idea of having 2 leading ladies each fulfilling a role in a prophecy – one being the savior and the other the destroyer. I was expecting to follow 2 morally grey complex character, each showcasing lightness and darkness, and discovering along the way which role each girl filled – or was forced into. But that’s not what happened. We know pretty immediately who’s the sun queen and who’s the blood queen, so all the tension and moral greyness I was looking for wasn’t there. Rielle and Eliana, both started out interesting for me, but I just got more annoyed by them as I read. They made questionable decisions and didn’t feel as fleshed-out as they could have been.
While I loved the prologue, I do feel like it created an unbalanced interest in the story for me. I was immediately hooked into Rielle’s chapters and the cliffhanger ending kept me reading in the beginning. But her trials quickly became repetitive and the action less thrilling. But I still found the characters in that timeline to be interesting. Oppositely, in Eliana’s chapters, I found the majority of the characters to be annoying but her quest kept the plot from being stagnant. The two timelines didn’t lift each other up, but pulled my focus in two different directions – one for character and the other for plot.
So, yeah this was a bit of a disappointment overall especially because I wanted to love this so much. It was even one of the books on my 5 star TBR prediciton, but that didn’t really happen. The premise, while amazing, ultimately left me divided over who I wanted to spend my time with and left me wanting more from the world at large. Furyborn has all the potential to be a stunning fantasy story, but I found that the potential was not translated to the final product.
I received a copy of the book from SourcebooksFire in exchange for an honest review.
What are your thoughts on Furyborn – are you excited for it, are you nervous? What elemental magic would you want to have? Share below!