After Queen Rielle betrayed her country, killed her husband and let murderous angels invade, she gives birth. Fearing for her daughter's life she entrusts her daughter of a young boy, Simon. A thousand years later, the world is still feeling the affects of her actions, although she's and the angels are considered more of a myth than fact. Eliana works as a bounty hunter, finding rebels against the empire that has risen and conquered the world since the death of Rielle, "The Blood Queen".
If you're somewhat involved in the Young Adult Fantasy community, you've probably heard of this book. Source Fire has done an amazing job of promotion through galley sites and places like GoodReads. It already has rave reviews and that always makes me excited to get my hands on it. This was one of those amazing situations I'm still getting used to as a reviewer where a book has been highly anticipated but I was still able to get an advanced copy so I can share my thoughts with all of you first. Of course, highly anticipated and promoted books always make me slightly nervous as well, fearing they're overhyped, but I can say with absolute confidence that this was not the case here.
The world created in Furyborn does in some way rely in traditional fantasy tropes. There is elemental magic and gods and prophecies, but I found Legrand's world unique and refreshing. The use of the magic and the angel creatures were the most fascinating to me. The ability to jump about a thousand years in time is also an interesting element of the world building in this book. I enjoyed seeing how the events of the past affected the events of the future for our characters.
Initially, I wasn't sure how I felt about the time jumping element as a story-telling technique however. I was always struggle to connect to one part of the story when a book is split into two. Inevitably, I end up caring about one section more than the other and wanting to skip through the one I don't care quite so much about. Plus, I was concerned about going backwards into Rielle's story about knowing so much about her from the opening of the book. I worried about the lack of suspense in regards to her storyline. However, the author does a great job of intertwining the two story-lines while making them unique and her focus in Rielle's backstory is more in piecing together the story of how she became who she was than her actual fate, which ended up being fascinating.
The best part of this book, without question, was the characters. Each one, from our two protagonists to the antagonistic angels, was complicated and compelling. Our leading ladies, Reille and Eliana really stole my heart. They were both simultaneously flawed and lovable. There were times I wanted to smack them and times I wanted to fall down on the floor crying with them. I felt the same way about secondary characters like Tal and Simon. They were fully fleshed out and real people in the course of this story and I can't wait to see how many of their stories continue in the series.
Furyborn is the first book in the Empirium series by Clair Legrand. This book is a beautifully written, addicting and gut-wrenching fantasy novel. You'll fall in love with this world and this characters almost instantly. There are a number of mature elements, such as sex, drinking and some brutal murders, so I recommend this book for older YA audiences. I can not wait to see where this series goes next!