Furyborn (Empirium, #1)by Published 22 May 2018
|Furyborn (Empirium, #1).pdf|
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.
"Furyborn (Empirium, #1)" Reviews
The one question that kept spinning around in my mind as I read Furyborn is “why should I care?” I didn’t like the characters, the story almost put me to sleep, the stakes were never high enough to get my blood pumping, and the sex scenes made me laugh (not in a good way). I dislike giving one star but there was literally nothing I enjoyed about this book.
It's just too long, poorly-paced and oh so very boring. I feel like the author tried to channel Throne of Glass, which is also too long, poorly-paced and occasionally boring, but it still manages to somehow keep me interested. I need to break my notes down into points to try to make sense of them.
➽ Two perspectives. 1,000 years apart.
I'm not sure if I found it jarring and confusing because the book jumped quickly from one perspective to the next, not allowing me enough time to connect with either Rielle or Eliana, or if I found it jarring and confusing because these two different perspectives were 1,000 years apart, though the voices remained virtually identical and very little had seemed to change in that millennium.
If you compare it to our world, 1,000 years ago our world looked a little something like Game of Thrones but with disappointingly fewer dragons - how could so little have changed in that time frame in the novel? I sometimes couldn't even remember whose chapter I was on.
➽ A little less action, a little more conversation. Please.
Okay, that's decidedly less catchy. But I feel like this is a book of mindless action scene after mindless action scene. It lacked all the other things that give a story some substance-- complex characterization and relationships, world-building, compelling plot. It is 500+ pages of almost constant action and it draaaagggs. If I don't care about the characters or story, I'm just not going to care about the action.
➽ Bland characters.
You know what’s worse than a Mary Sue heroine? TWO Mary Sue heroines. Rielle is deliberately made to sound oh so baaaddd and uber-powerful but I just found her uninteresting. I think the author wanted her to be some kind of complex anti-heroine but instead she just rubbed me the wrong way with her all-powerful super specialness.
Eliana is pretty much the same. Super special cardboard cutout badass who is known as "the Dread of Orline.”
➽ What is the plot exactly?
I found it confusing to follow at times. I know what happened, but I really struggled to get a sense of what I should be concerned about, want to know, or root for, as I read. Rielle's chapters offered very little tension to me, even though I usually enjoy books with magical trials. Perhaps it was because she was so special that it never occurred to me that she might fail.
And Eliana's chapters were full of a lot of action but, again, I found it so dry and unexciting. It all felt like yet another forgettable YA fantasy bogged down by a bland romance and mindless action scenes.
➽ Romance, sex and bi rep(?)
It's just weird, honestly. Sex-positivity is great, the normalizing of masturbation is great, but these characters often act like sex is the most important thing in their world. I felt like all Rielle cared about was banging Audric the bland. I also don’t feel like it always was sex-positive, especially as Eliana seems to use sex as a form of manipulation most of the time.
The sex scenes themselves are pretty nauseating and overwritten, with the earth shaking and mist rising (no, seriously) à la Sarah J. Maas.
I don't know about you, but I was eager to read this for the bi rep. I've even heard this being touted as a "bi fantasy" which, having read the book, is a huge stretch. I'm gonna be honest and say I actually missed it the first time and had to go skimming back through the book to find it. The bi rep in this book is like two casual mentions of the MCs having been with women sexually. That's it. Great.
➽ To conclude...
I was mostly just bored. I think the book has a great premise, but that is by far the best thing about it. There was so much talk of angel wars and fantasy politics and deadly trials, but all that got lost somewhere under everything I didn’t give a crap about.
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ARC provided by Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review.
“The queen stopped screaming just after midnight.”
Apparently, this is going to be a super polarizing book here on Goodreads, which is totally fine. Whatever your feelings are towards this book, they are totally valid. I did end up really enjoying it though. I thought it read like an adult high fantasy, I loved the constant juxtaposition between the two main protagonists, I thought it was high action back to back to back, and I loved how morally grey and ambiguous everyone was. Maybe this book just catered to my personal reading tastes a bit more than others, but I really loved reading this.
I loved the worldbuilding, I didn’t find it difficult to understand. I loved the fast paced and constant action. I ended up completely adoring many of the characters. I thought the writing was smart and lyrical. And I just overall thought this was an expertly crafted tale and made these two girl’s stories and parallels blend perfectly.
Furyborn is a book about two girls who are leading very different paths, from very different times:
“She was supposed to be the Sun Queen, their savior and protector. And yet she had become the Blood Queen. The Kingsbane. The Lady of Death.”
➽ Rielle Dardenne - A girl that has been forced to hide who she is her entire life. In this world, it is rare to have a magical power, but completely unheard of to be able to wield all seven, well, except in a prophecy. After a life or death situation, her kingdom finds out, and then she is forced to complete seven magical trials or be executed.
“We live in a world where good kings die and those foolish enough to hope for something better are killed where they stand.”
➽ Eliana Ferracora - A bounty hunter that is forced to work for the Empire, who put every rebel they find to death. In this world, this is the only way to survive, until Eliana’s family gets broken apart, and she is forced to truly see the world in a different light.
And one of the best prologues that I’ve ever read, shows the starts of how these two women are connected, despite their stories taking place one-thousand-years apart. We are also introduced to a prophecy about two queens, who will change the world and leave it impacted forever.
“Two Queens will rise.
One of blood. One of light.”
My favorite part of this entire book was seeing the juxtaposition between Rielle and Eliana constantly. This story is told entirely in alternating chapters/points of view of the two girls. They would be doing such similar things, a millennium apart, but we’d get to see the different reactions, choices, and actions they decided upon.
And we have a full cast of side characters who also have completely stolen my heart:
➽ Ludivine - My second favorite character, and an amazing representation of found family and the unconditional love we have for friends. And like, give me all the wonderful girl friendships!
➽ Audric - Rielle’s love interest, and the king in waiting. Also, a sweet cinnamon roll and powerful light bringer.
➽ Corien - I could write at least one page on this character alone. But he’s wonderfully crafted, and I can’t wait for you all to meet him.
➽ Remy - Eliana’s little brother, who is in love with stories and is just adorable in general.
➽ Navi - Princess from another country that truly stole my heart. Also, more friendship goals.
➽ Simon - Oh boy, I don’t even know how to talk about him. Simon ended up being my favorite character, but I can’t say much without spoiling things. He’s amazing, he’s caring, he’s selfless, and he’s a wonderful leader.
(Six of the Seven beautiful character cards created by Kate Trish!)
Next, I love you all, and these next two paragraphs aren’t directed at any one person. I’m only even writing them, because I’ve seen many reviews talking about both of the things I’m about to talk about. And both of these paragraphs are also going to be very personal to me, so please be respectful, and try not to hate me. Thanks.
I see a lot of people talking about how they feel the bi rep is bad because those characters think and talk about sex a lot, but I honestly think that’s such a dangerous way to think. Bi people/characters should be able to be promiscuous without the world yelling that it’s bad rep/bad actions. You all that do this set queer people back every time. And you only help to reinforce that stereotype. Hi, my name is Melanie, and I identify as pansexual, and you know what I like to have? A lot of sex. So, whenever people say things like this, it actually hurts me and makes me feel bad about myself. People should be able to have sex, a lot of sex, sex with one partner, sex with many partners, sex with themselves, and they shouldn’t be shamed for it. Literature, our society, and the damn world need more sex positivity. And you’ll never catch me shaming anyone or any book for having too much of it, as long as it’s healthy and consensual.
I also see a lot of people saying that there isn’t bi rep in this. Just because a bisexual ends up with the opposite gender, and only has sex on the page with the opposite gender, that doesn’t make them not (or less) bisexual. Both main characters, who both identify as female, state attraction to women, a few times, and that’s enough. Am I going to say this is the best rep in the world and I see myself so much on the pages? No. But am I going to discredit female bisexuals who are with men or who have never even been with a woman? Hell no. This is also super harmful thinking. Hi, my name is Melanie, and I identify as female pansexual, and you know what I’ve been in? A lot of monogamous relationships with partners that identify as male. People shouldn’t make bi/pan people only feel valid if their representation means they end up with the opposite sex/people who identify as nonbinary. Miss me with that gross line of thinking, please. Bisexuality is about attraction, not action, you don’t have to perform any action, sexual or not, to prove your bisexuality. And both these characters say they are attracted to women, one of them many times, despite her also performing sex work with females, which many are acting like that’s the only time she’s expressed attraction to women. Also, I’m not going to write a third paragraph about how we shouldn’t shame sex work, you all should just know better in 2018.
Okay, so moving on, the next thing I want to talk about is the portrayal of grief. I really appreciated the portrayal of grief and how real and constant it felt. And it is focused on by both of the leading protagonists throughout this novel. And even though this book is at least borderline New Adult, I still think YA and NA need so many more normalized stories of grief, and how it’s something you might always struggle with, with good days and bad.
And let me emphasize more, that this is a dark book that has constant dark actions and dark themes. When I said above that this reads like an Adult high fantasy, I truly mean it, even though I would consider this book New Adult, and even though it is marketed as Young Adult. Trigger/Content Warnings: Abuse, child abuse, death, gore, violence, abduction, kidnapping, animal cruelty, loss of a parent, loss of a loved one, sexual content, slavery, and torture.
Also, I’d like to touch on the animal abuse scene a bit more, because animal cruelty is one of two triggers that I personally have. Was the scene hard to read for me? Yeah, a bit. Do I think it was done in a malicious manner? No, not at all. Did the character feel really awful afterwards and remark on it a few times after the event took place? Yeah. And lastly, do I think it’s extremely believable that someone who doesn’t understand their powers would not think about harming an animal consequentially while using them to save the human being you love most in this world? Yes, 100% yes.
Okay, moving on to the romance. I was much more invested in Rielle’s romance than Eliana’s, which is maybe not the general consensus either. After reading the prologue, and knowing what happens between Rielle and Aurdric, I just became so invested to see the events that took place to make the events come to fruition. Like, I became obsessed. And I will read book two alone so that I can hopefully find out more. Also, yeah, there is sex in this book, but it’s tastefully done and for sure not anywhere close to the worst sex scene I’ve ever read. It was just a normal sex scene to me; nothing over the top and nothing bad. But it did heavily emphasize consent and making sure this was something that the woman wanted to do throughout the act. I loved that, and please give me more books like this.
“I don’t know how to both love you and be the person who sends you to war.”
But I really enjoyed this one, and I can’t wait to see where Claire Legrand takes these two interwoven tales next, especially with how both points of view leave off. I thought this was fun, and filled with action, and hard to put down each night. Also, give me all the *Breaking Benjamin voice* evil angelssssss! But I am excited to see how everyone feels upon release, since this does seem like a very polarizing book thus far.
You know who I really think would enjoy this book? Fans of The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen! Now, I know that that series is super polarizing, and I was such a strange reader and gave the entire trilogy three stars, but I truly kept thinking how much Furyborn reminded me of that series. But, dare I say? Better. It reads and feels better. Yet, if you liked The Queen of the Tearling, I would 100% recommend this to you still.
Overall, reading is subjective. And something that one person loves, another could just as easily hate. And one ownvoices reviewer can think the rep is bad in a book, where another could really appreciate and love it. As long as someone isn’t personally coming into my house and bothering me or my loved ones, I’m not going to fight someone over a book. Let people enjoy the things they love, and let people dislike the things they hate. But remember, telling a person their feelings aren’t valid is never a good look.
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The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
(Massive) buddy read with:
💗 Jessica at fringereading
💗 Amy at A Court of Crowns and Quills
💗 Julie at Pages and Pens
💗 Alexis at The Sloth Reader
💗 Jules at JA Ironside
💗 Jenn at I Will Seize the Day
💗 Lilly at Lair of Books
💗 Imogen at Imi Reviews Books
💗 Lourdes at Chapters We Love
💗 Paula at Je Speak Franglish
💗 And Rian
November Fairyloot ♥ More pictures linked below ♥
Holy shite balls! I loved this freaking book and I have a new favorite author and I hope the rest of the books in the series are just as good!
I love some bad arse woman in books. I had about 20 gifs of bad arse women to go with this statement but we will just go with a couple or so.... =D
This story is about Eliana and Rielle. This is told from both of their stories, one from the past and one in the present. I'm not going to get to heavy into this book as it comes out in May 2018.
Both women have wonderful characters in their stories. They have magic and they do good things and not so good things. It's a world people, a world full of everything! I love it! Fighting, killing, plotting, magic, assassins, angels, etc ....
I'm going to add a few excerpts that are actually some chapter headings:
"Since our war with the humans began, I have had only one dream. Every night, the fog surrounding it lifts, and I understand more of what I see: a woman, made of gold brighter than the sun. She stands in a river of blood, and light falls from the ends of her hair. Is she friend or foe? This my dreams have not made clear to me. But I know this: she will come. In this war, or the next-she will come."
-Lost writings of the angel Aryava
"Lift your eyes to the eastern skies
Wait for the sun, and with it-rise
We will march down the roads gone black with the dead
We will tear down their walls and paint their crowns red."
-A rowing song composed by suspected Red Crown ally
Ioseph Ferracora during the siege of Arxara Bay
"Dark-hearted Tameryn had never seen anything good come by daylight. With her daggers, she carved shadows from every corner and hollow. She breathed life into their gasping mouths, twined them around her limbs and neck, tied their newborn fingers into the ends of her hair. There the shadows whispered secrets to her, in gratitude, and so she was never alone, and always safe in the shroud of night."
-The Book of the Saints
This book made my day!
MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is with great pleasure that I present you the best release of 2018.
(Actually it’s a tie between Furyborn and Sky in the Deep. Please don’t make me choose, I love them both.)
Once upon a time, the angels roamed the world, burning it to cinders. But the Seven Saints rose and defeated them, and locked them away in a dark, dark prison, and thus ensuring the future of mankind. But their exile shall not last. As foretold by angel Aryava, the Gate separating them from humans will fall, and they will return, seething with rage and hatred, seeking to dominate the land of Aritas. That is when two human Queen will rise, two Queens carrying the power of the Seven combined. A Queen made of blood, and a Queen made of light.
One of them will save the world.
The other will destroy it.
“Some say the Queen was frightened
In her last moments
But I like to think that she was angry”
A few years ago I read Claire Legrand’s Winterspell. It was a truly unique novel, and Claire’s writing was sparkling with magic, but I was left a little unsatisfied. Wanting something more, something that would enchant me and make my skin tingle with anticipation and my heart flatter in my chest. And now, four years later, she delivered what I craved. She made me bow to her exquisite pen and boundless creativity. Because Furyborn is bloody brilliant. Featuring elemental magic, prophecy, angels, trials, war, politics, fierce and diverse characters and sweeping romance, it bedazzled me to the point all I could feel and breathe was Claire’s words. With her dual PoV, alternating between Rielle and Eliana’s time, she managed to fill a 1,020 years gap and make you equally invested in their stories, which were intertwined in the most satisfying way. She mixed fairydust and blood, and she created a stunning saga that filled your veins and your cells, that took you to a rich and dangerous world that made your body hum with energy like a living wire, and filled your mind with images and senses you could not erase.
“We all have darkness inside us, Rielle. That is what it means to be human.”
Deeply sensual and lush, Furyborn was brimming with intriguing and three dimensional characters. Rielle was a rather controversial one, a girl banished from the world, a woman who could not quench her insatiable hunger for attention, for admiration, for power and love.
Eliana, the Dread of Ornline, was a bounty hunter who silenced her conscience and committed terrible crimes in order to protect her family.
Always present, a shadow working as a puppeteer, was Corien, a villain that gave you goosebumps and was too alluring for your own good.
But every story needs a knight in his shining armor, a ray of sunlight between the looming shadows, and Furyborn was no exception. Prince Audric Lightbringer, the powerful sunspinner and soft marshmallow extraordinaire warmed your insides and made you want to cuddle him and keep him safe at all costs.
And then there was Simon, connecting the past with the present, a tortured soul devoted to the frantic request of a dying mother.
“We are all of us dark creatures, but if we linger in those shadows, we’ll be lost. Instead we must seek the light when we can, and that’s just what you’re doing. I see it happening.”
Furyborn was an intense novel. The most astounding thing about it was that you knew the majority of the important events that would take place since the first chapter. And due to this fact, you tried to guard your heart, to not get attached to characters you knew would perish or give in to the darkness, but it was a lost cause. You struggled and fought, but they crawled into your soul and tore it to shreds nonetheless.
All in all, Furyborn is a beautiful, dark and seductive masterpiece that will haunt me for a while. There’s nothing more I can say except READ IT PEOPLE.
[Source of these gorgeous Character Cards]
*ARC generously provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*
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