Description: 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.
My spoiler-free review is below.
I am so, so frustrated with this book. After reading the prologue, I was intrigued. Legrand had set up the makings of a beautiful fantasy, but unfortunately she just didn’t follow through. There were so many amazing elements to the story, but none of them were developed enough to make it a success. I’m going to break it down into a couple points to more clearly explain my thoughts.
Lots of action + very little valuable human interaction = terrible characterization
This book was almost non-stop action from the first page. It is well-written action, don’t get me wrong, but it was too much. Despite its 500 pages, Furyborn contains only a small amount of character development, so I really couldn’t care about the action. The novel is told from two perspectives, about a thousand years apart, and both female protags are bland. Legrand described their characteristics instead of actually showing them. The first, Rielle, is supposed to be some epic magic wielder, but SHE REALLY SUCKED AT MAGIC. Next we have Eliana, the Dread of Orline, feared assassin, badass fighter ninja lady–BUT SHE REALLY SUCKED AT FIGHTING. I don’t want to talk about the characters. They were dull, whiney, self-pitying, predictable, and completely lack motives for their actions. They added nothing meaningful to the story. Anyways.
The world-building was excellent…but there was no plot, characters, or development to act upon it
The plot never seemed like it was going anywhere, and that’s fine if the book is character-driven. This one is not. The characters spent most of their time threatening to kill people and sending their crushes “coy smiles”. Very cute. It’s just sad because the concept of the book was so complex, original, and interesting, but Legrand spent her time focusing on all the wrong things. She can write well, and she is very good at creating setting, but I think she just assumed that we knew what was going on her head, when really, she should have explained it better. The magic system was interesting, but once again, needed work. I wanted to know more about the politics, the history; I wanted to see the characters grow and develop bonds. It just didn’t happen.
Very sensitive and explicit topics, but lack of sophistication in the rest of the story to match
Another thing that pissed me off was how indelicate the writing was. Warning: this novel contains rape, murder, torture, abuse, child trafficking, distasteful cussing, and explicit sex. Some books use these topics in mature ways to help build worlds and characters, and some authors can use it in ways that add something to the story (George R.R. Martin, I’d say. Maybe Stephen King too). However, Legrand mixes her simplistic, YA writing with these heavy subjects just randomly thrown in without warning. Not only is it inconsistent, it seems like she added it in for the shock factor, because there was no time spent fleshing it out.
All in all, I wouldn’t recommend this book to those who are tired of half-baked YA fantasies. It had a lot of potential that was wasted on needless action rather than development. It had some delicate topics and the ending left a lot to be desired. I won’t be picking up the sequel.
I received this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review (and you got one lol).
What were your thoughts on this book, if you’ve read it? Feel free to discuss, I’d love to hear whether you agree or disagree.