*NEW RELEASE SPECIAL* Review of NETGALLEY arc #Furyborn – Book 1 of the Empirium series by #Claire Legrand #Brainfluffbookreview #bookreview


It was the cover that grabbed my attention – and when I read enough of the blurb to realise it was an epic fantasy allll about two powerful women, I wanted to read on…

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.

The blurb above gives a quick overview of the two main protagonists in this fast-paced epic fantasy, full of drama and emotion. Told in third person viewpoint with Rielle and Eliana featuring in alternate chapters, we build up a strong picture of how events lead to the shocking and bloody scene at the start of the story. I am still in two minds as to whether that works. Himself read a couple of chapters and once he realised who exactly Rielle was, he broke off announcing that it wasn’t worth slogging through a whole book when he already knew what had happened to one of the main characters. While I take his point, I am glad that I got swept up into this violent, difficult journey. I found the contrast between both of main characters intriguing. Eliana is definitely the more damaged of the two at the beginning of the book having been trained as an assassin and committed a series of bloody murders to keep her family safe. She is angry and cynical – and at times very funny.

This book would have been a lot less readable without the shafts of humour peppered throughout. At the beginning, Rielle is clearly the softer character, although she has had a tragic start in life by losing her mother in terrible circumstances, when only five years old. But circumstances and destiny push these two young women such, that by the end of the book, it is Rielle, who is the desperate, violent character driven by circumstances beyond her control and Eliana, whose cynical veneer is being stripped away in a desperate hunt to save those she loves.

Legrand can certainly write with the brakes off – an accomplishment that is harder than she makes it look. It would be all too easy to keep writing at full throttle, so that the light and shade is lost in amongst all that heightened emotion. She avoids that by peopling the world with strong supporting characters, so that we see these frightening women at their most vulnerable, as well as in ferocious attack mode. I also appreciated the world, which she effectively filters through the perceptions and knowledge of our main characters without resorting to boring info dumps.

All in all, this is an accomplished, full-on epic fantasy dealing with the themes of power and its corrupting influence, and what makes us human. It is a strong start to what promises to be a gripping series. Highly recommended for all fans of this genre. While I obtained an arc of Furyborn from the publisher via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.

12 responses »

  1. I’m so glad to read your review! My NetGalley request was not approved, so I was a little sad. But I’ll definitely keep this on the list to read at some point, the cover alone would look so good on my bookshelf😊

  2. This sounds great, glad you enjoyed it. I do recall seeing this but decided not to request as I’m trying (not with great success it has to be said) to cut back.
    Lynn 😀

    • Yes – I really enjoyed it. I’m looking forward to reading the second one – but I quite understand. I’m trying to cut down my TBR pile with even less success than you!

  3. That cover is indeed captivating, but now that I’ve read your excellent review, I know I won’t be reading this one. Too much graphic violence for my liking! Of course, it is epic fantasy. But still, I think the violence need not be that graphic. This is the reason I haven’t read any of the “Game of Thrones” books. I guess I’m just a BIG chicken! Lol.

    Thanks for the heads up about this book!! Hope you’re having a nice week!! HUGS!! ❤ ❤ ❤ 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Yes – there is fair amount of violence in this one. And I quite understand your feelings on the subject. I cannot cope with horror – it tends to give me nightmares, so I’d never be hypocritical enough to disrespect anyone else for finding gory scenes too much!

      Thank you for your kind good wishes – I am not really having as much of a break as I’d hoped, despite it being half term… our internet was knocked out during a massive thunderstorm on Monday and we are STILL without a router! So I’m panicking at all the emails… blogs… social media… stacking up without being able to attend to it except on my dinky and very slow little laptop at my sister’s flat. I hope you have a lovely weekend. Take care Maria:)xxx

    • I’d really like your opinion on this one. There is a lot going for it and both characters are amazing – but I’m still undecided as to whether the structure is a help or hindrance to the overall story arc…

  4. I think I’ll pass on this one. While epic fantasy is my thing, queens and prophecies and assassin-protagonists-who-were-forced-to-kill seem a bit too worn out for my tastes. I’m glad, though, that you found the book worth the time reading it to the end. 🙂

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