Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 May 2018

Member Reviews

Actual rating: 3.5
I'm kind of in the Middle of the road with this one. I did really enjoy it and I came to love a lot of the characters even though I didn't like anyone but Simon and Remy at first. Maybe the more I read the harder it is to impress me but I feel that I've already seen everything this book has to offer. Many times. And better. There were a few original aspects though. One of them being the main characters being an antihero and a likable villain. She flipped the script with Eliana and Rielle and though I didn't like it at first I really did come to appreciate the originality of it. It also shows that heroes and villains aren't always black and white. There are gray areas. The world-building was very full and done pretty well but like I said I've seen it all before. And though the two timelines are over a thousand years apart there seem to be no advancements in technology or anything. Life is the same. i do have to say I loved the feminist aspects of the story though. Overall it's a decent YA Fantasy and I'm interested to see where it goes because I've come to like the characters. I would recommend it to anyone that loves YA Fantasy.
*thanks to Sourcebooks Fire and NetGalley for the eARC for review*
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How do I describe my feelings for this book?

It was rough. The world building felt at times too fast and hard to keep up with and then other times, too slow and not fleshed out enough. The plot was disjointed, as a result of switching between the two drastically spaced POVs and therefore, didn't keep me turning the pages. By design, there was a tournament style set up during one of the POVs and this is always one of my least favorite things in books (I didn't realize one of the POVs would focus on it when I read the synopsis) and so those chapters were hard to get through for me, though I know some people LOVE this trope. I felt like the entire book, I was wanting something that the book wasn't delivering, at least until I got to the last 30%. Suddenly, the book picked up and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough and the ending I only sort of saw coming. I ended the book still not sure if I'll pick up the second one in the series or not. Maybe I'll see if my library has it.

Disclaimer: I was provided an e-arc of this book from Netgalley. However all opinions are my own.
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Great series for fans of high fantasy. The time travel element as well as the complex world building require a bit of dedication and attention to the plot and characters, but in the right hands this will be read in a night or two.
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Rielle is strong and kick-butt. The tension was epically high and I couldn’t put it down. I loved the intricate world building and the trials too.
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I had so many mixed feelings when it came to this book. There was so much going on and it felt endless. I know why most of it was added, in order to build up everything that made up this world, all the magic and connections that needed to be made. But, even like that it was still way too much to keep my mind from getting groggy and for anxiety not to kick in. 

I have to admit though, it did catch my attention enough to get me to push through the novel. Many of the characters were interesting and intriguing (even though several just didn't do it for me). Much of the good and evil battle captivated me enough to ask questions, to want to know what it all meant for everyone involved, and even with a beginning like Furyborn's, the story was not ruined.

Yet, even with the good I found, it was not enough to get me forever invested in the next book, or any others after this one. It just had way too much, a lot that I could have done without, parts that to me just didn't do good for this novel. And, like I just mentioned, it wasn't for a lack of good writing or story building, it was just tons of the in-between that I felt dragged on and muggled the mind. 

Ah! This book really had me all sorts of mixed up. Even after I've just written that I doubt I'll pick up any of the upcoming novels pertaining to this world, I'm at the moment contemplating if I should still pick it up and give it another go? I'm telling you, Furyborn is not one to give up easily. Maybe I will give it another try down the line, maybe some of those annoyances will be gone in the second book, or maybe it won't and I'll be back to square one wondering why I'm going through it all over again. I'll just have to wait and see. 

***I received this copy from Sourcebooks Fire via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.***
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This book was a phenomenal read. I have always been a fan of Claire Legrand's writing and this was one of my most anticipated releases. It didn't disappoint!

This is a young adult fantasy novel with two perspectives separated by hundreds of years. They are supposedly thought to be two women a part of a prophecy one said to destroy the world while the other is said to save it. 

There's a lot of unique plays on destiny in this novel. Both with forcing and escaping it. Throughout the story I was engrossed in the characters and the world. With it being duel perspectives, if you do not enjoy one character you'll struggle through the book. Fortunately for me I loved both. 

Claire Legrand excelled at keeping each chapter exciting. Whenever you were fully invested in one chapter she would switch to the other character during a crucial scene that made you want to get back to the character, but then you'd get sucked into the other story. I personally liked that since this is the first book they do not cross storylines or tie into one another very much. There's certainly room for expansion in the sequels. 

This book features:
Two bisexual main characters. While both have male love interests (at least for the time), they have stated that they've been in relationships or infatuated with women as well. 

Cannot wait for the second book.
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I loved the world of the book. It was really well-made, detailed and vivid. I like books with action and this one was packed with it. Rielle Dardenne is blessed with the ability to control all of the elements in the Empirium, but lives in fear of being discovered. The only thing that I didn't like were the sexual scenes.

My fav quote:
“I fear no darkness
I fear no night 
I ask the shadows
To aid my fight”
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I think I have just outgrown YA. This got great reviews and seemed well-written but I just couldn't get  in to it. 

I received a free e-galley from netgalley.com.
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FURYBORN is a YA fantasy that does not disappoint! We begin by seeing the world through the eyes of a child, Simon, where he sees his father taking care of the evil queen who has just given birth. She uses the last of her energy to fight the angel Corien and send her newly born daughter away with Simon. Simon and his father are marques, and while he tries to follow the threads to where he wants to go while holding onto the infant, he loses her in his travels. The rest of the book is told in alternating points-of-view between Rielle (the queen who gave birth before she became such) and Eliana, an assassin for the corrupt empire approximately 1000 years later.

The reader bounces back and forth between the two in each chapter, which can sometimes be disorienting- like reading two books at the same time (especially when the chapter has a cliffhanger). We follow Rielle as she endures magical trials meant to test her restraint and abilities- and to find out whether she was the foretold Sun Queen who could save the world (the prophecy: "The angels will return and bring ruin to the world. You will know this time by the rise of two human Queens- one of blood, and one of light. One with the power to save the world. One with the power to destroy it. Two Queens will ride. They will carry the power of the Seven. They will carry your fate in their hands."). We follow Eliana as she journeys to save her mother who was taken by unknown forces and her brother, who she wishes to get out of the Empire's reach.

In this world, angels are often powerful but cruel beings who are at war with humans (although some are good). People have the powers of the elements that they can conjure (one power per person typically, e.g. power over water), and the abilities vary with the amount of power they have. Rielle has a power over all the elements (the seven possible abilities) and she has so much that she is barely able to control it. In Eliana's time, these powers are a thing of the past and seen as myths of the past.

Overall, it was a really fascinating book, and I definitely want to continue with the series- as soon as possible! I do wish we had spent more time with one of the two women, as I felt that it was a little difficult to get truly entrenched in their lives/loves. However, I still really enjoyed it overall!
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This book is an AMAZING fantasy read that I could ever say it. Why I just read it now? Oh, GOD! I am so annoyed with myself. I get it why everyone loves this book because I do and I could not even say, how much I enjoy my read and how it put me on the edge of my seat. How could that be? Man, my heart. I need to collect every piece of my heart after reading.

It's really great. The writing was absolutely wonderful and I am so ready for the second book.

Rating: 5 Stars
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3/5 stars
It had a very gripping start. I was hooked right away. The alternation between the timelines was interesting and it was not confusing. The author has potential because her writing style was keeping me engaged. Furthermore, the book’s highlight is its universe. It is well built, especially when it comes to magic. Rielle was my favorite of the two main characters. We didn’t spend enough time with the characters from each time lines for them to get dimensions. This aspect was obvious when romance was involved. There are just simply generic males while the females try to be badass. Despite the points lost at the character category, I am looking forward to reading the next book,
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The danger of ambition is a theme at the heart of many a high fantasy novel. Even if one's ambition stems from the desire to do good, fantasy novels generally warn that political ambition often engenders a far more dangerous desire, a desire for power itself. And as French politician and philosopher deLemartine argued, "absolute power corrupts the best natures"; or, as English Lord Acton wrote, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great me are almost always bad men."

And if the striver in question happens to be of the female persuasion? Well, then the warnings grow even more pointed.
Tuesday, July 3, 2018
Romancing Female Ambition: Claire Legrand's FURYBORN

The danger of ambition is a theme at the heart of many a high fantasy novel. Even if one's ambition stems from the desire to do good, fantasy novels generally warn that political ambition often engenders a far more dangerous desire, a desire for power itself. And as French politician and philosopher deLemartine argued, "absolute power corrupts the best natures"; or, as English Lord Acton wrote, "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great me are almost always bad men."

And if the striver in question happens to be of the female persuasion? Well, then the warnings grow even more pointed. As Robin Romm notes in the Introduction to her essay collection Double Bind: Women on Ambition, "striving and achieving [have] to be approached delicately or you risk the negative judgment of others." Twenty-first century American women are socialized to be soft, feminine, but are simultaneously urged to "go for it," a paradox Romm describes as "the double bind of the gender, success paired eternally with scrutiny and retreat."

That is what intrigued me about the first volume in Claire Legrande's YA fantasy novel, Furyborn: its portrayal of not one, but two deeply ambitious women. After an opening scene in which a queen gives birth and then gives up her baby to prevent her from falling into the hands of a malevolent angel, Furyborn forks into two separate strands, one set in the near past, the other a thousand years into the future. The first tells how the queen of the first scene, Rielle, came to be "allied with angels and helped them kill thousands of humans. This queen who had murdered her husband" (Kindle Loc 91). The second tells of a the rise of an assassin who is asked to become a rebel against the oppressive Empire, a woman whose questionable morals make her seem just as unfit for the role of savior as was/is Rielle.

Eighteen-year-old Rielle, only daughter of  Lord Commander Dardenne, chief of the king's guards, chafes against the restricted life her father condemns her to after the uncontrolled power of her magic lead to the death of her mother. As she protests to her teacher, Tal, the Grand Magister of the Pyre, the head of those who bend fire to their magical will, "If Father had his way, I'd stay locked up for the rest of my life with my nose buried in a book or on my knees in prayer, whipping myself every time I had a stray angry thought" (Kindle Loc 380). Rielle wants more than a life stuck in a cloister: she wants to participate in the Boon Chase; she wants her childhood friend Audric, now Prince Audric the Lightbringer, the mot powerful sunspinner in centuries, to love her and not their friend Ludivine; most of all, she wants to show everyone just how powerful her magic is. For unlike every other elemental who had ever lived, Rielle needs no physical object to access her power, and her magic is not limited to one element. No, Rielle can control them all.

During an assassination attempt on Prince Audric, Rielle uses her powers to save her friend, despite her father's warnings never to reveal them. And Audric becomes convinced that his old friend is one of the Light Queen of prophecy, a human woman who will rescue them all from the angels who once oppressed humankind and who threaten again:

The Gate will fall. The angels will return and bring ruin to the world. You will know this time by the rise of two human Queens—one of blood, and one of light. One with power to save the world. One with the power to destroy it. Two Queens will rise. They will carry the power of the Seven. They will carry your fate in their hands. Two Queens will rise. (1649)

Rielle is not your usual fantasy heroine, not an empty placeholder for the reader nor a troubled, misunderstood, but deeply good at heart girl. No, as Prince Audric's mother recognizes, Rielle is "Cunning. Willful, and lovely. It's a volatile combination. It unnerves me" (3400). Rielle, with her naked ambition, is meant to unnerve the reader, too. Indeed, she unnerves herself: "Even while my mother burned, I was glad to feel the power simmering at my fingers... Even though you belong to Ludivine... I want you for my own. I want... I want. I crave. I hunger" (4285). Is she the Sun Queen, the one who will save humankind? Or is she the Blood Queen, who will destroy all?

If Rielle seems a questionable savior, what are we to make of the other heroine of Furyborn? We first meet assassin Eliana Ferracora as she helps round up a group of rebels, fighting against the Empire that rose in the ashes of Rielle's betrayal of humankind. Eighteen-year-old Eliana is tempted to let the rebel children of  group go, but resists: "children couldn't keep their mouths shut. And if anyone ever found out that the Dread of Orline, Lord Arkelion's pet huntress, had let traitors run free..." (648). Instead, Eliana watches as the eldest boy is beheaded.

Eliana's partner and lover Harkan wishes she were different: "Harkan paused, that sad, tired look on his face that made her hackles rise because she  knew he hoped it would change her, one of these days. Make her better. Make her good again. She lifted an eyebrow. Sorry, Harkan. Good girls don't live long" (643). Calculating, skilled, and deadly, Eliana focuses on the here and now, on keeping her mother and brother safe, and herself alive. Her ambition may be narrower than Rielle's, but it still burns bright. Though people in Eliana's time call Rielle the evil Blood Queen, it's difficult to believe that Eliana is more suited to the role of Sun Queen than is/was Rielle.

Eliana knows that any day now, she'll be recruited as a member of Invictus, a company of assassins that travels the world and carries out the Emperor's bidding. For she's not just skilled; she also seemed to have an ability no one else in her world has:

The problem was, she liked showing off. If she was going to be a freak with a miraculous body that no fall could kill, then she might as well ave fun with it. If she was busy having fun, then she didn't have time to wonder why her body could do what it did. And what it meant. (552)

But after her mother mysteriously disappears, The Wolf, a famed captain of the Red Crown rebels, bargains for Eliana's help in infiltrating the palace in exchange for his help in finding her missing parent. Coldly weighing both the costs and the benefits, Eliana agrees, looking out all the while for how to shimmy free of any acts, or any personal connections, not promoting her own safety or that of her mother and brother. She even accepts poor Harkan's self-sacrifice, leaving him behind in order to save herself and her brother.

One of the other rebel leaders tries to convince Eliana that "Revolutions mean nothing if their soldiers forget to care for the people they're fighting to save," but Eliana has more than her share of doubts (2609). Somehow familiar with the trajectory of the typical fantasy romance, she knows that she's supposed to be transformed by her time with the rebels, especially by her admiration for The Wolf, known to her now as Simon, a man who has endured much during his battles against the oppressive Empire. "People like us don't fight for our own hope... We fight for everyone else's," Simon nobly avers, but wily Eliana uses his own hope in her redemption to deceive him (2964).

At the end of this first installment, both Rielle's and Eliana's worlds are on the verge of war: Rielle's against the resurgent angels, Eliana's against the invading Undying Empire. Can either war be prevented? Will either young woman be Sun Queen? Or will both fall into the temptations of blood?

Or might the stark binaries of the prophecy be pushed aside, the opposition between sun and blood,  self-focused ambition and other-directed empathy, shown to be equally necessary in order to defeat true evil?

I'm gnawing on my fingernails, waiting to see what the next two volumes in the trilogy have to say about women and ambition and power.
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This book and these ladies are my life now. This was one of my favourite reads from 2018 and I can't stop talking about it. Fantasy is one of my favourite genres and Claire added another level to the genre.
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An excellent, dashing fantasy that fans of Robin LaFevers and Morgan Rhodes .at appreciate! Flawed but admirable characters, betrayals, and plot twists that you won't see coming, this is a wonderfully told story.
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A gripping fantasy that picks you up with the first sentence and refuses to let you go long after you've finished.
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Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced copy of the book.

Overall, I liked the book. I enjoyed the suspense and the new, exciting, fantastical world of the Empirium being built in my mind. I thought that the chapters between characters alternated too often and it was hard to interrupt one storyline and go right into the other storyline after only a few pages each time. If the chapters were longer, I would feel more connected to the characters and more invested in their storylines. However, I need to know what happens next and I anxiously await the next installation of the trilogy!
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This book felt more adult than YA to me, but I loved it! The premise is so unique and the world felt epic in scale and intensely real at the same time.
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Disclaimer: I received an e-arc from Netgalley and the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book Series: Book 1 of the Empirium Series

Rating: 3/5

Publication Date: May 22, 2018

Genre: YA Fantasy

Recommended Age: 16+ (suicide, language, child murder, attempted rape, sex, demons/angels, possession)

Publisher: Sourcefire Books

Pages: 501

Amazon Link

Synopsis: 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. 

Review: Overall, I thought this was a pretty good high fantasy read. The world building was really well done, the character development for the main characters were amazing, and the plot was interesting. I really liked how the author used duel POVs to further the plot. The concept was really interesting, even if I figured out the twist after chapter 1.

However, the book is really clunky. There’s a LOT going on in the book and I don’t think the book really explains what all is going on well enough. The pacing is super slow as well. I feel that the book really could have done better if it had a prologue explaining some of the angel/demon stuff and possession stuff. I felt really confused by that aspect.

Verdict: As a high fantasy novel, I feel this is really good. But definitely should not be someone’s first high fantasy book.
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Though this book was good & creative with interesting characters, what took me out of the story so much that I could barely enjoy it was the frequency that the POVs were changed.
This is told in 2 different timelines, with very little that actually connected the two of them & warranted them being one story. So the fact that the chapters were fairly short & the POV changed for every chapter made it so hard to stay invested in either of the storylines.
This could have been so much better as 2 separate books or with the POV not being broken up as frequently.
Also, I felt as if the world building could have been more present, because we have 2 different timelines where the world didn’t appear to have any differences at all.
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Furyborn pulls you in right from the off, a dramatic birth, followed by an escape from an enraged angel.

The entwined dual stories were enticing. Starting with Rielle's rise to Blood Queen, from hiding her powers, to embracing them an becoming the long awaited hero of her people, and then ending on the brink of living long enough to become the villain. 

At the same time we follow Elianna, The Dread of Orline, an assassin whose mother is taking along with many other women who aren't seen again. While tracking her mother Elianna encounters The Wolf, who promises to help her, for a price. 

As the stories unfold we see how both womens lives entwine along with rebellion and a revenge driven angel from the past
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