by Claire Legrand
As a girl who has spent her life growing up surrounded by royalty and within the comfortable confines of the castle, Rielle Dardenne is no stranger to privilege and prestige. With best friends like the Crown Prince and his beloved cousin, Rielle has never doubted that she fits into the world made of gold and glitter. And even though she harbors a secret that bubbles just beneath the surface of her sharp and adventurous facade like so much boiling lava, the raven-haired beauty has a keen sense of belonging. She has security.
While the world of Avitas is full to the brimming of the thick and ever-changing waters of magic, there are none who can wield all seven of the talents and control the waves they bring. Rielle is no stranger to the experiences intertwined with the mystique of magic and its familiars. Almost everyone has some power. Everyone uses it to their advantage. And while some magical talents are more revered than others, everyone is allowed a modicum of respect when it comes to the things they can conjure and manipulate. Rielle’s only problem has ever been trying to choose just which magical talent she will allow the world to see. She could never dare to show all of the mysteries that she holds so close; to do so would mean to put herself into certain danger.
There is a prophecy of a pair of women who shall grow to carry all seven of the points of magic deep within them. The women will be able command fire and weather, possess water, bend iron to their very whim. They will be great and they will be mighty. They will possess the ability to bring light and shake the earth to its very core.
One will be a savior, a queen made of sun’s very luster and warmth.
The other, a vicious villain made from blood and all that is dark fear.
When a dangerous situation puts Rielle’s best friend and the object of her affections into mortal peril, she cannot stop herself from (quite literally) riding to his rescue. Prince Audric is set to lose his life to a team of mysterious assassins, and Rielle is the only person who can save him from the untimely fate. Full of overwhelming emotion and unable to control the power within her, Rielle unleashes the devastation she’s trapped inside of her body for so long and revels in the freedom it allows. She has known from childhood that she houses more than one power, and she suspects she is the whispered vessel for all seven. But she never expected to show her destiny in this public a fashion. And once the cat is out of the bag, there is no turning back. There is no closing of Pandora’s box of delights – and terrors.
But Rielle would never regret the choice to save him.
Audric Lightbringer is her obsession. Growing up side by side on the castle grounds, the daughter of the Captain of the Guard has always known she didn’t have a chance at the prince’s heart. She always knew she would eventually have to shove every feeling she had for him as deep as she could bury and watch as he became her best friend’s husband. Ludivine is Rielle’s confidante and the woman she considers her sister in all things but blood, and it is she who is destined to take her place beside Audric in matrimonial harmony. Ludivine is of the proper stock, a veritable princess of the land and beloved by all, while Rielle is nothing more than a scrappy commoner with questionable heritage and a murky past. Watching her two best friend’s lives become planned and projected on paper right in front of her like so many business arrangements, Rielle had all but given up hope that she could one day possess Audric for her own. But that didn’t mean she could stand by and watch him die; not if there was something she could do to prevent it.
And what thanks?
After showing the full force of her powers in front of Audric and half of the city, Rielle must face the King and his many trusted advisors. There are whispers that she is the Sun Queen in all of her saving glory, but others wonder if she may have more nefarious blood running in her veins. Her power is both awe-inspiring and terrifying, and there are some who are concerned with the lack of control she possesses. It is no secret that Rielle Dardenne is a wild card, a girl who plays by her own rules and who revels in taking risks. How can the girl be tamed, if even her own father cannot control her? And what if she is merely a sheep in wolf’s clothing . . . a pretender of the Sun Queen, and in reality . . . death, incarnate?
The Blood Queen?
Tasked with seven trials to prove her worth and the control she has over each element of magic, Rielle fights to keep her life and her heart intact. As the months go on and she is pushed to the limits in public and in private, she finds herself consumed with a new friend and mentor from the most unlikely of places. Living within her mind like a parasite is a curious creature, an angel . . . a handsome stranger who is part of a race that was defeated and exiled from the lands due to the cruel and unusual torture and demonic dealings associated with angelic kind. Rielle struggles to maintain her sanity the more Corien begins to appear inside of her mind; the angel wraps her innermost thoughts with the tangled web of masterful lies and manipulations. Rielle has a hard time choosing right from wrong, which is exactly where the angel wants her to remain.
Leaving death and destruction in her wake, will Rielle be able to resist her true destiny? Or will she embrace the prophecy and take her place in devestation?
More than a thousand years later, the woman known as the Dread of Orline roams the city streets as a lethal bounty hunter and hired assassin. After her lands were conquered by the Undying Empire, Eliana Ferracora turned to the only life she felt could sustain herself and her family – one of crime and malcontent. Trained by her mother in the arts of death and violence, Eliana believes herself to be immune to danger.
A threat grows across the city, one that is leaving the women within the gates on the brink of terror and ruin. Stolen out of beds in the middle of the night by a dark shadow or snatched from their kitchens at dawn, the women of the city are disappearing without a trace and at an alarming rate. The situation reeks of depravity and desperation, almost as if something wicked is ramping its way up. When her mother becomes one of the taken, Eliana must team up with a notorious bounty hunter – a rebel known as the Wolf – and journey far from her home into the depths of the rebel camps. Can she be trusted, and can she trust those around her? What Eliana uncovers beneath the surface of the rebellion and the power it fights against will shock her, but will she be able to believe her connection to an ancient prophecy? Or is she doomed to repeat past mistakes and burn everything to the ground?
Furyborn is the newest novel by librarian and mid-grade/young adult author Claire Legrand. No stranger to the fantasy genre, Legrand has worked hard to begin building her own world complete with a nest of thieves, haughty royalty, ruthless assassins, and magical beings in what will eventually become a trilogy. While the story of two fiercely independent and somewhat reckless women has been hailed as “the must-read book of the summer” for young adult to new-adult readers, the book has proven to be very polarizing already. The book has been marketed heavily, saturating booklists and finding its way into exclusive subscription boxes full of like-minded bookish loot.
As I dug deeper into this novel and the mystique surrounding it, I spoke with several other reviewers and fantasy readers and found one thing to be for certain – in truth, readers seem to either love it with a zest that rivals Rielle’s obsession for Audric, or despise it about as much as Eliana does being told what to do. There is hardly any middle ground for Furyborn, which is interesting in such a genre and targeted age bracket. Young adult to new-adult readers range from ages 15 to about 25, and their tastes are as refined as their expectations are heavy.
Unfortunately, I landed on Eliana’s side of the coin with this one.
While the premise of two queens and the ultimate battle between good and evil is always a good idea, and the aspect of fallen angels mixed within the essence of magic was enough to draw me in, it was not enough to keep me within its grasp. The further I read into this (giant) book, I felt cheated. Annoyed. Pissed off. More annoyed. More pissed off.
The opening of this novel is so strong and viciously cruel, I thought I was immediately hooked. I love my heroine to be drowned in agony before I watch her rise from the ashes like a beautiful phoenix. I love my villains to be mixed with relatable qualities and for that fine line of love-to-hate-them to really develop. So when I saw we were opening with baby being born to a most-hated-woman and the baby is then ripped from her arms before a battle, I was so ready. I don’t think it’s any surprise who the Sun Queen and Blood Queen ultimately end up being, but to see that I was going to watch their stories develop from conception and travel with them as they grow – I was intrigued and excited. There are few things I love more in a fantasy novel than the aspect of world-building and a good quest. Have some magic thrown in and I am all for it. But this book . . . it kept promising me things and then snatching them away like I was some fat kid on the Keto diet.
Rielle’s trials? Seven of them. All seven seemed contrived and pathetic. It was painfully obvious she was going to win them all and as each one came to pass I kept wondering, am I really supposed to care? Were these even real challenges? Rielle’s story was so intent upon pressing the point that she had always hidden her magic but then automatically she knows how to use it? It felt like the author was much more concerned with describing Rielle’s outfits than in her actual athletic and magical prowess, which was odd considering the author wanted us to also view Rielle as some big time badass. Rielle was in fact, whiny and self-loathing (not in a good way – believe me, there is a difference). She was vain and ridiculous.
The character of Ludivine? I won’t spoil it for you, but her story was really quite stupid. I literally laughed out loud when her true essence was revealed – seriously.
Audric is supposed to be this handsome and charismatic prince; he’s enough to make resident badass Rielle swoon and forget everything when in his presence. Instead, he’s dull and seems to lack basic intelligence or athleticism. Rielle was just as one-dimensional, which was such a let down because hello . . . we all love a strong female, right? It’s what we were promised, right? I wanted to enjoy her story so much, but I found myself anxious for the pages to turn so that I could get back to Eliana’s plight.
Eliana seemed like a cheap knock-off of Aelin Galathynius from the epic Throne of Glass series and multiverse. That is something that truly irks me. If I wanted a replica, I’d buy one off of Ebay. Be original. Please.
I don’t even know if I should attempt to touch my feelings on how this book was marketed as having a bisexual main character. ‘Cause, she’s not. It was a shady marketing technique and I didn’t appreciate it. It felt like a hollow nod to the community and was not presented the way it was promised.
There were so many scenes in this book that felt strange and out of place. For example:
Rielle is having a dream that has her all hot and bothered. She wakes up and masturbates. Then she realizes that there are assassins in her room, ready to kill her. What? They all just stood around watching her before deciding to go in for the kill?
No. Just, no.
I give this book 2 out of 5 stars, and I will not be revisiting the series for book two or book three. I don’t recommend this book to anyone, and I certainly don’t recommend anyone spending the hefty hardcover price for it either. Save your money and buy Throne of Glass.