Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Author: Claire Legrand
Release: May 22nd 2018
I received a copy of Furyborn in exchange for a fair and honest review.
There’s been a lot of talk of Furyborn being the book of the year, so of course I’ve heard about it and was naturally tempted to give it a try. Furyborn is the first in the Empirium trilogy, which is a young adult fantasy series. I’ll be honest with you though, the real thing that caught my attention? It was totally the cover. The cover is so pretty that it wiped away any doubt I had about reading this book (I know, I’m such a sucker for nice covers. I can’t help it).
Furyborn is one of those books that you pick it up, feeling a bit curious, only to have the first chapter/prologue be this huge and immersive event. Obviously you need to keep reading to know more, if nothing else than to sate your curiosity. The first scene does start at the conclusion of one character’s plot, so it is a bit of a spoiler (personally I was okay with that; sometimes I’d rather know how things are going to end up for a character).
While some would disagree, I actually felt like things dropped off a bit, after that first moment. Once past the action I couldn’t ignore the fact that I didn’t know any of these characters, and it took me a really long time to start caring about all of them (not going to lie here, pretty sure most of my favorite characters are all secondary characters, and I’m totally okay with that).
Furyborn is the tale of two queens; one with the ability to destroy and one with the ability to create and repair. That description is a bit vague, but it’s all we have to go on for quite some time, so you get pretty used to it after a while.
Rielle is the character’s whose ending we get to see in the beginning, while Elaina lives her life a thousand years later. The chapters switch back and forth between the two, and while they think in strikingly similar manners I didn’t have any trouble keeping the two plots distinct (the different timeline and supporting cast helped quite a bit here).
I’m sure that everyone will have a different queen they liked best, assuming they found themselves attached to either (I’ve seen a decent amount of people hating both characters, so I can’t ignore this fact). I personally found the world that Elaina’s story was set in more interesting, but her personality was too abrasive. Therefore I was fonder of Rielle, even knowing what I did about her and her future.
I want to say it wasn’t until about the halfway mark in this book that I found myself getting really hooked (I actually kept taking breaks in it, since I wasn’t feeling connected to either main character). If you find yourself struggling with it I’d suggest giving it until at least this point before you call quits.
I’m very curious about the world and magical systems that were introduced here, and I think that’s why I ended up liking this novel as much as I did. I’m a sucker for series with unique takes on magic and world building. I feel like there was a lot of teasing going on – lots of magic shown but not explained, and little bits of the world revealed here and there. I would have loved to see more of both, but that may have been intentional. After all, it pretty much guaranteed that I’m going to follow up with the rest of the series.
It was only after I finished Furyborn that I heard it described as a bi fantasy. For the sake of honesty I have to tell you that I found these points to be pretty subtle and not well defined. Most of the information dropped was either done hastily or hinted at. It’s not what I personally would consider a bi fantasy, especially considering it was all relatively minor. I actually almost missed the revelation (Spoiler warning) that Elaina may be bi (I say may here because she uses sex as a weapon, so it is difficult to tell at times if she’s attracted to someone or using them). Rielle expresses curiosity towards her sexuality, but really she’s too obsessed with Audric for that to really go anywhere.
While I wouldn’t say that this novel ends on a cliffhanger (the plot is left open but the current peril was wrapped up) it does end somewhat abruptly. I think it was the storytelling style that made it feel that way; both characters really only got half a book to start their story, so there’s still quite a bit left for them to say.
All in all I’m really happy I continued to read this book, instead of giving up on it. I know there are some divided opinions on this book (it seems like most people have either loved it or hated it, with very little room in between). I’m a bit more on the fence, having enjoyed it but not gone over the moon for it. I still don’t find myself especially attached to either queen (though like I said I do have a favorite out of the two) but I am very much curious to see what happens next.