Author: Claire Legrand
Series: Empirium, #1
Genre: High Fantasy
My Rating: 2.5/5 Stars
“We survived the end of the world, you and I, we’ll survive this too.”
You know when people compare a book to your favourite author’s work, obviously you end up having high expectations going into it. Yes, that’s my experience with Furyborn. Before picking it up, I had read multiple reviews that compared it to Sarah J. Maas books. And if you don’t already know, I love everything by Sarah so I was hyped. Not only that, but I was desperate to get my hands on an ARC copy of Furyborn when I was first introduced to it last year. Unfortunately, the hype didn’t last too long as I realized when I began this high fantasy book, with an epic synopsis I might add, that I was bored, I didn’t care about the characters, and I didn’t enjoy the writing.
Set in a world with angels, elemental magic, and prophesied queens, Furyborn follows the story of two female protagonists who live a thousand years apart. Rielle Dardenne has been forced to suppress and hide her powers ever since a tragic accident took the life of her mother and the love of her father. But when the crown prince, Audric, is in danger, she is left with a decision that would reveal her powers and change her life forever. A thousand years later, Eliana Ferracora lives to protect her family from the empire, even if that means working with that corrupt power. But when her mother mysteriously disappears, she is left with no choice but to ally with an enemy to the very people she works for.
“Dread,” he murmured, his breath caressing her cheek, “is only a feeling, easily squashed. But wolves, my dear, have teeth.”
Right away, my first problem was the prologue because, to me, it revealed too much. I had barely entered this story and already I knew how it was going to end for certain characters and I figured out the not so discreet way one of the protagonists was introduced. Let’s just say that when I hit certain points in this book, I was not shocked. It was as if this book revolved around the prologue, which took away the potential for mystery.
It was a slow-paced, dense read, I didn’t care much for the characters because the author left no room to connect with them when action took over the majority of the pages, and the banter between Eliana and Simon was painful to read.
“Decent clothes aren’t something you rebels care much about finding, I suppose?”
“If you’re finished”
“Give me my knives, and I’ll refrain from hitting you for at least five minutes.”
“Have you always been this unspeakably irritating?”
“Has your face always looked so temptingly carvable?”
“Ignore me at your peril.”
“You’re an ass.”
“I’ve never claimed not to be.”
“My, my. Never have I seen the Dread struck so speechless. You know how to make a man feel good, I must say.”
“Come to catch a peek at me naked, did you?”
To me, all this dialogue exchange is forced and unnatural. As if it wasn’t needed in the story but the author added it in weird places in order to have some form of sexual tension between two characters because readers would be expecting it.
I may have nickname Simon as “Simon the ghost” because all his character was good for was a fight scene, and that’s the only time he was really present on the page. This is another reason his exchanges with Eliana felt forced. Simon had no other purpose beyond fighting and any other aspect to his character was ignored.
Eliana as a character, well that’s a whole other thing. I had trouble accepting her lack of morality. And due to her lack of morality, it seemed she herself did not know what she wanted. Such as outing innocent refugees but becoming a “hero” after she decides to save the refugees from the demise that she caused.
Another element that took me out of the story was that, yes, there was a lot of action, but that action was not executed well. As in the way it was written was confusing. The “big” scenes, weather it be a fight scene or a make-out scene, the way it was described did not give a clear visual. It made me as a reader feel lost and stupid. One second A happens then the next C happens but there’s no B in between to show how that transition worked. It was all over the place.
I think it’s clear that I enjoyed reading Rielle’s chapters more than Eliana’s. This wasn’t the case at the beginning when I thought Eliana was going to be my preferred point of view since her story style seemed more of my taste. But alas, that switched on me.
Rielle wasn’t perfect either, but I seriously enjoyed reading some of the trials she had to endure. Such as the water trial.
Audric loves Rielle. Despite her being a little “evil.” But I never bought why he did. Sure, you can say they grew up together so it should be obvious. And yes that’s true. But I don’t want to not read about their relationship development and just assume it happened somewhere off the page. Then what’s the point of reading and immersing in a story and in characters where everything is thrown together with no development? Even in the present we didn’t see much of their relationship, just the sex scene and the declaration of love.
The stakes were high in this book, but I didn’t feel it. My heart wasn’t racing. I didn’t really care. I didn’t grasp the epicness and I’m disappointed that I was hyped for nothing.
“Perhaps if nothing else, what’s happened has taught you that there is more to life – and even to war – than simply staying alive.”