Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Wyrd and Wonder: ARC Review of Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Furyborn (Empirium, #1) By Claire Legrand
Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS Fire
Release Date: May 22nd, 2018
Format: Egalley, 512 pages
Source: Netgalley*
My Rating: 

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

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, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed...unless the trials kill her first.

A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable--until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire 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 is an epic young adult fantasy novel that I had some mixed feelings about. I think for me this book falls into some of the same pitfalls that other books of it's kind suffer from --the hype monster! Don't get me wrong, hyping up a book and talking about it is awesome for the publishing industry and it gets us all talking and excited about new books, but sometimes I think I go into books with way too many expectations. I think for me that's what happened with this book. I also want to say that a 3-star review is NOT bad, it just means that this book didn't totally wow me or kept me interesting in reading it non-stop. 3 star is decent, 3 stars mean I just thought it was okay, and it's perfectly okay to feel lukewarm about books. 

One of the things I did like about this novel was the world building. I think some of it could have been fleshed out a little more, but since I know this is going to be a trilogy, I am a little more forgiven with that. I thought the two sides of the world we hear about in this novel was really interesting. We see two very different worlds from getting the thoughts of both Rielle and Eliana. I thought it was cool to see these two women existing in the same land, but across times and how much it has changed from one's time to the next. Rielle's world was a little more interesting to me, because I always find it interesting when magic and God are used together in a fantasy world. It interests me when a world can believe in a higher power, but also are okay with having magical abilities. I think we perceive that as not being the case, so I find it cool when I see that in fantasy novels. There's mentions about Angels in this book, and I feel like I need to know more about what is going on there. Are they really Angels in how we view them biblically, or are they just another race that the humans in this land don't really understand? I assume this will be fleshed out in the follow up books. Eliana's world is so different from Rielle's, that I just struggled to figure out HOW that was going to happen, and I think we only get a kernel of that by the book's end. 

One of the flaws I found with this book was frankly just the characters themselves. Even though the book constantly goes back and forth between the two girls, I just couldn't connect with either of them. I just didn't like either of them, and I find it really hard to enjoy something when I just don't care what happens to the characters. I also felt like it was pretty predictable how these two were connected and why we should care about both of them. I think I figured it out just a few chapters in, and it felt like it drug on to finally just come out and say it. 

Another little issue I have with this book is that I don't think it should have been coded for teens. I'm not a prude or anything, and I'll read book sex any day, but there is a sex scene in this book that I thought was a touch too adult for the YA/Teen book scene. Not to say that teens don't have sex or don't know what it is, it just felt like it was a little too graphic for a teen book and I don't know if there really is a warning about there being sex in it. This book is definitely geared towards older teens, and I wouldn't want a younger kid reading a book with something like that if it's not something they are ready to handle. Maybe I'm reading in to it too much, but it just made me feel like maybe this book should have been coded as adult fantasy.

This book is DENSE, so if you like a good long fantasy novel, I would still recommend it. I think for me it came down to not connecting with the characters, but I think a lot of other fantasy readers would really enjoy it. 

Have you read this book? What did you think? Do you think I'm being too weird about the sex it in? What do you think about YA books and how graphic a sex scene should be written?

*I received a free egalley copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

Happy Reads Everyone!