Furyborn – Claire Legrand

Furyborn (Empirium, #1)Furyborn by Claire Legrand
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I am a huge fan of epic fantasies and this book hit all the right notes. It was clear from the beginning that the author put an incredible amount of time and thought into her world-building, magic system, and history. I felt that it could be a real world due to the depth and detail that the author provided. What impressed me, even more, was that the author essentially created two completely different, yet similar worlds in her story. We experience the same land, but from two very different time periods so the bones and foundation are the same – but the worlds that we experience are vastly different from one another. It was incredibly interesting to see how things had changed over the course of 1,000 years as we bounced back and forth through time.

Although I do not usually enjoy characters that are anti-heroes, this book made me reconsider. For me, relating to the characters in some fashion is important because I immerse myself so fully in the book and the world that the author builds. As a result, anti-heroes tend not to be appealing to me – yet I feel as though both of the main characters in this story had an anti-hero feel to them. The sun queen and the blood queen, both mired in indecision, bad choices, and a prophecy that foretells that one will ruin the world and one may save it. I couldn’t choose which of the two I enjoyed reading more, nor which character I preferred. It was so epic and engrossing that I couldn’t put the book down.

I love books with multiple narrative threads and voices, so the style of this book was not off-putting to me – but I could see how it might be challenging to follow as our two main characters are experiencing situations 1,000 years apart. I never felt that one narrative took precedence over the other and was equally invested in both storylines. It was a creative way to give backstory and build the history of the world without chapters and chapters worth of flashbacks. It was a fantastic approach and kept the story engaging the entire time.

The world building and plot were fantastic throughout, and the characters were all unique and engaging. I enjoyed getting to know the characters, even if sometimes they were a little inconsistent. For example, in Eliana’s time, we meet a princess who at first seems like she’s about ten years old, then she is between Eliana and Simon’s age, but at times will sound like a world-weary adult. Her voice wasn’t always consistent, which threw me off a little but overall didn’t affect my enjoyment.

I felt like we had a special bond with Simon, getting to see so much more of him as the reader than the characters were able to experience. We had knowledge that no one else possessed and it helped to form a connection to the story and the plight of the characters. I loved his character in the story and wanted to know what happened to him between when we first meet him and when he reappears in the story. There is a lot of mystery, hurt, and confusion surrounding that time – so I hope to see more of his backstory in the next book.

I had a few small issues with it, but nothing that affected my overall enjoyment of the story. My biggest issue was just something silly about the magic system and Eliana’s character. Although she can get hurt, she heals from her injuries – yet the author just throws out an innocuous line about Eliana licking her chapped lips. I’m sorry, but that just completely pulled me out of the narrative because if she heals… then she shouldn’t have chapped lips and now I’m just running down a train of thought as to what might not heal from her magic. It’s ridiculous, but everything was so detailed and well-thought out in this book that things like that in it stood out to me. Despite that, I loved this book and cannot wait to see where the author takes us next.

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