Furyborn (The Empirium Trilogy #1)
By Claire Legrand
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
Bang Bang Review
If you plan on reading this book, I highly suggest you take notes because you ARE NOT going to remember anything when book 2 comes out. You’ve been warned.
Furyborn is told in duo POVs. Rielle, the daughter of the king’s commander and Eliana a hired killer living 1000 years after Rielle. (OMG, there’s so much story I don’t know where to begin). Okay, let’s go back. The book begins with Rielle giving birth and in the room is her new husband Garver and his seven year old son Simon. At one point, an angel named Corien comes and that’s all I’ll say. Rielle’s story is then told two years prior to the birth of her child. Legrand slowly reveals how Rielle came to be pregnant and married to this Garver guy, what Simon is, and the significance of Corien.
This world is in a constant war with angels and humans and a very important angel named Aryava foretold a prophesy that there will be two queens-Blood Queen and a Sun Queen. One is bad, Blood Queen, and she will unleash the angels and destroy the world. One is good, the Sun Queen, she will save all of mankind. Both queens posses all the power but there are problems- some think Aryava was crazy, some think the prophesy can be interpreted a bunch of different ways, and lastly you won’t know if the queen is good or bad until it’s too late. Rielle possesses all the magic and the king needs to test if she’s good or bad. (Please see the spoiler edition for my theory). Rielle’s portion of the story is about her going thru trials to see if she does indeed possess all the magic and if she is good or bad.
Eliana’s story is the journey of a girl who prides herself on her great killing skills all the while trying to ignore the fact that she captures innocent rebels to be hanged by her Lord. Meanwhile someone is snatching girls and women and Eliana wants to know who is doing this and why. She’s strong but incredibly flawed and she makes some pretty shitty mistakes.
Can’t say too much because it’s all spoilery but Legrand creates a vast, interesting world of magic and rebels. The pacing might be tough for some because the story starts the middle of the trilogy and you have to work your way backwards and forwards. There are a lot of lands and people and angels and names and EVERYTHING is important to the plot-no fluff here. There are no points where you can skip around. There are some wonderful complex characters. There’s diversity and some beautiful female friendships. I’m always a little skeptical of overhyped books but Furyborn is worth the hype. I didn’t rate it higher because there were a couple of questions that weren’t answered.
Full spoiler edition
Bang Bang Rating: 1/2
Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2)
By Leigh Bardugo
Genre: High Fantasy
Publish Date: September 27, 2016
Bang Bang Rating: 1/2
Kaz and his gang return from their heist with their precious cargo only to find that the person who hired them won’t pay up.
The Good (THIS IS THE SPOILER FREE REVIEW. CLICK HERE FOR THE SPOILER EDITION)
- Ketterdam. Ketterdam is the world the Six of Crows series is based in and it’s a horrible and fantastic place. It’s reminiscent of Vegas if Vegas exploited the young and the female.
Ketterdam is also very diverse culturally and sexually but it’s never part of the story. People are who they are regardless of what they look like or who they share their bed- power is what matters in Ketterdam. I enjoyed this quite a bit because it’s RARE to see brown and LGBTQ characters in fantasy novels. I hope readers don’t get hung up on that because this book is about their relationship and survival and their race has nothing to do with the mentioned themes.
- Kaz & Inej. They are my FAVORITE couple of all time and they didn’t even touch in the first book. How Bardugo managed to create such a dynamic couple without so much as a hug is beyond me but it’s all fabulous. I’ll explain more in the spoiler edition.
- Characters. This series is completely character driven and there are six main characters that all require backstory. We received everyone’s story in book one with the exception of Wylan who didn’t have his own chapters in book one-very clever Bardugo. We get to learn more about Wylan because his father plays a major role in Crooked. Crooked is more about how the main six deal with their issues and if and when they will find their happiness.
- Pacing. Although the series is character driven, there’s a lot of action for all of those readers who need things to happen between all the dialog. Just like Six of Crows, Kaz was always ten step ahead of everyone else and several times during the story you weren’t sure if they were done for of if it was part of the plan.
- Nothing. I liked everything in this book so I have nothing to add in the bad portion. Because Six of Crows was so new and different and refreshing, I couldn’t give Crooked Kingdom five stars. I know it sounds weird but one of the reasons why I gave Six of Crows five stars was because it was different and since Crooked was similar in story and writing, it’s no longer different.
Crooked Kingdom stayed true to book one in characterization, writing, and plot. I envy the friendships in Crooked Kingdom but I thank the lord I do not have to survive the way they all do. The character development and the world are top notch and I’m excited to see what Bardugo will come up with next.
To see the spoiler edition of Crooked Kingdom, click here.