Furyborn, by Claire Legrand, for Timeslip Tuesday

I am writing this with some reluctance, because it is horribly hot inside my house (no a.c.) and the keyboard is unpleasantly warm (wrists must be kept up and away from it!), and also because it is something of a spoiler to come right out and say Furyborn, by Claire Legrand (Sourcebooks, May 2018) has time travel in it. However, since I figured this out very quickly, it is not a disastrous spoiler (I am usually very very slow to figure things out). And in any event, the time travel serves only to set in motion the paths that the characters must follow, and so reviewing of the book actually requires no further mention of it. Time travel ex machina, and on with the story, as it were.

The people who live in the kingdoms where Furyborn takes place once had a war against angels (who could, just as easily, have been called demons, but in any event--non-human beings of immense magical power who were not nice to humans). Against them rose saints--people with gifts of elemental magic, who were able to imprison the angels, and be at peace... for a while. But the prison has broken, and the war must be fought again.

Two young women, separated by centuries, find within them the magical powers such as the saints had wielded, fulfilling a prophecy foretelling two queens.  One will be a queen of light and salvation and the other a queen of blood and destruction. Rielle is sure that her command of all seven elemental forms of magic, and her fervent desire to protect her kingdom and those she loves, mean that she's the Sun Queen. But first she must endure seven trials to prove her magic, and her ability to control it. If she can't, she dies. A thousand years later, bounty hunter Eliana knows of Rielle only as a distant legend.  But Rielle's story continued long after she herself was gone, and now Eliana must pick up its pieces, and join the fight against the  (truly evil, loathsome, horrible) Undying Empire...And so she becomes a leader in the Rebellion, discovering that she, like Rielle, has magical gifts.

It's a pretty violent book, with rape and cruelty and death and lots of collateral damage. This isn't really my favorite thing to read about, but I kept on with increased interest--I liked Rielle's magical trials, and I liked Eliana's ethical dilemma (can someone who has done bad things be a good person?), and I'm all in favor of a good rebellion.  Claire Legrand has a true gift for making what she's writing about seem very real, and very immediate to the reader (which, given that what she's writing about often is rather horrible, is a mixed blessing).

For the most part, though, the book read like an extended introduction to the real story of the rebellion, which is just about to get going for reals when the book ends.  There's also more of Rielle's story to come as well.  So if you have patience for lots of magical and violent shenanigans that do more to set up the story than advance it, and love stories of girls discovering that they are powerful and magical, and finding love (and having sex), you might well love this one.  I was interested enough so that I'll want to read the next book, but I wasn't knocked off my feet.

The reviews are pretty polarized on Goodreads, which is interesting, but I put myself right in the middle.  Possibly because I'm not the teen girl demographic who is most passionate about books like these (I didn't, for instance, enjoy the Throne of Glass series).


  1. I have seen those polarizing takes on this one, and I am planning to read it. I appreciate your "what to expect while reading" take - I think I'll likely be in the middle as well given your notes, but who knows! I've always been a fan of set-up but terrible at reading series. *sigh*

  2. I also felt middle of the road about this one, but not interesed enough to read the next book. I was actually disappointed once I understood for certain there was time travel involved in this book. I had this far-fetched yet hopeful theory that Rielle's storyline actually took place only a couple decades or so earlier than Eliana's, and that propaganda from the Empire was saying it was way longer ago, and that Rielle and Eliana would get to team up...

    1. Yeah, I think it was too much time between the two povs. I don't think the two perspecitves did much to heighten the tension of each other, a bit with the angel dude in both, but not quite enough. But I do like rebellions, so I'm in for the next one at least!


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