Furyborn by Claire Legrandra
Published: Sourcebooks Fire (May 22nd 2018)
Genre: young adult; fantasy
LGBT rep: bisexual MC
Rating: 2/5 🍑
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.
I received a galley from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I think I might have liked this book more if it was the first or at least one of the first fantasy novels I ever read. That’s not the case, though. At this point in life I have quite high expectations for this specific genre & here? They were not met.
We start off with a prologue already in the middle of some exciting action & that would be a good thing. A great thing, in fact, if not for all the info dumping going on in the background. Listen, I have a whole book ahead of me, there’s no need to acquaint me with every single made-up word & aspect of this brand new world across the first ten pages. Especially when it’s not just characters using terms that are familiar to them, but actual history & geography & anthology lessons. I don’t like being treated as a kid when I read and that’s exactly what I got here; the author makes you follow her by hand & explains every single thing you come across. It’s boring!! Just let me figure some stuff on my own!!
I could deal with that (maybe) if at least the writing was mesmerizing. I probably wouldn’t even notice that then… But again, that’s not the case. It’s hard to say anything about the author’s style apart from it’s mediocre. I don’t remember seeing one (!!) quotable line across those over 500 pages! How is that even possible?? How do you make a book with such a cool premise so bland & then expect me to care about your world & characters???
Sadly, that’s not the end of my complaining about the writing itself. Another thing is the constant telling over showing. Come on, it’s 2018, we all know the importance of actually letting your characters discover things instead of other people describing those things. Also speaking of descriptions… Don’t wanna sound like a white male author from the ‘50s, but were All Those Adjectives really necessary? My biggest issue with the way Furyborn is written, though, was the constant use of an internal monolog (in italic, of course) to express character’s thoughts & motives. That’s just such lazy writing!!
Honestly all of this made me basically sure this is a debut, so imagine my surprise when I realized that no, in fact Claire has quite a handful of books under her belt.
I feel like it’s important to mention how much sexual content there is here, especially since this is advertised as young adult literature. Let’s start with some context. The couple I’m talking about here basically grew up together and it wouldn’t be too much of a reach to see them as siblings. I’m not sure anymore if they have an age gap though… So in the third chapter we get a 13 years old girl – one of the two pov characters – “admiring” a boy’s body & lowkey fantasising about having sex with him. A few years later in the plot we are actually “treated” to an explicit sex scenes between them. And it’s not even well written. I mean honest to god, thirteen years old girls on ao3 write better sex scenes… The other pov girl character is basically just as open & talkative about her sexual prowess, if not more – mentions sex at least once every chapter. Technically there’s nothing wrong with it and I think this was the author’s way to show us that those girls are mature & badass but all it did for me was leave a bad taste in my mouth.
This also connects very tightly to my other point. Which is: I was recommended this book as one having bi rep. But we get all those love declarations & dreams of the future & literal sex scenes between boys and girls and yet, I’m honestly not sure which character was supposed to be bisexual. I mean, if you put so much effort into building up het romances, you really have no excuse not to be just as explicit with same-sex ones.
I was mostly excited about Furyborn because of the blurb, obviously. I was specifically interested in the connection between Rielle and Eliana. It was said to be “shocking” & “determine the fate of their world”. And yet, having read the book, I can tell you with very clear conscience that this connection is the most boring and uninnovative solution to a mystery I saw in years. Actually the whole plot is very much underwhelming & makes you feel like you just wasted time. I will definitely not bother reading the next instalment.
(Don’t?) Buy Furyborn on BookDepository.
All in all, one of my biggest disappointments of 2018.
Are you one of the “lucky” few who got the arc?