Furyborn is a 2017 YA dark action/adventure novel by Claire Legrand. When two queens rise, the gate will fall. The story is told from two perspectives. There’s Rielle, a girl from Celdaria gifted with the power to control all the elements. After causing the fire that killed her mother when she was five years old, her father and a young member of the church, Tal, teach her how to hide and control it. One thousand years in the future, Eliana is living under the tyranny of the Undying Empire. She’s the Dread of Orline, a bounty hunter for the empire who tracks down its enemies. She’s skilled with a blade and a body that can heal from most damage. The story switches between their perspectives through the onset of war, rebellion, and self-discovery.
There are a ton of things I love about this book. I love how Legrand writes her characters. They were complex in ways that I haven’t encountered in a long time. Rielle and Eliana are the “heroes” of their respective narratives but they also deeply flawed and deeply human. Rielle, as she tries to earn the designation of the Sun Queen, tries to show herself as noble, pious, and in control to inspire her people as the threat of war looms over them. But she’s also impulsive and has an underlying darkness that tempts her towards vengeance and murder. Eliana describes herself as, first and foremost, a killer. She does what she has to do to survive and buries any feelings of compassion or guilt for her actions to prevent them from swallowing her. Even when faced with the consequences of her actions, she shows little remorse and even lashes out. The plot of both of these storylines hinges on the ascendency of a Sun Queen who will guide their people to light, and the Blood Queen who will bring ruin. They’re either one or the other. Perhaps both?
My main complaint with this story is that this story drags in a few places. When switching back and forth between both Rielle’s and Eliana’s perspectives, the stakes at times aren’t quite even. The trials are a good example of this. I found myself asking why these trials were important. They seemed more padding than anything. I was acutely aware that this story was the first part of a trilogy. Enough of a story to entice but not enough to satisfy. This wasn’t a major issue to my enjoyment of the overall narrative however and actually made me curious where the story would go.
Overall, I quite loved this story. I say pick up this book if you want to read a kickass story with lots of high action, high stakes, and an interesting cast of characters that experience it all.