Follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.
When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.
A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.
As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.
TW: violence, explicit sex scenes
I had to think about what I wanted to rate this book. For most of it, it felt like a 4.5 star, right until the end, when it dropped dramatically to 3.5 star because there are some things I will not compromise on in ratings, and this had one of them. But we’ll start with the positive and go from there.
This book has definitely gotten a lot of hype this year, and a good chunk of it is well deserved. Split between two POVs, that of Rielle and that of Eliana, it switches after each chapter, following their separate arcs. I’ve seen people complain that Rielle is very Mary-Sueish because she can control all seven elements, as told by the prophecy, but I actually kind of liked her. Once she learns to let go of all the restraints on her power, once she embraces it, she does some really nifty things with it. That, and she knows exactly what she wants. She wants to be the Sun Queen, beloved by her people, protector of her country. Meanwhile, there’s Eliana a thousand years later, the Dread of Orline, somewhat superhuman and with an empty space carved out where her heart should be, because that’s what survival takes. I liked her as well, constantly confronted with the humanity and regret she’s worked hard to tamp down in order to protect her little family.
The supporting cast, I thought, was equally delightful. I loved the closeness between Rielle, Audric, and Ludivine, and even though I’ve seen folks complaining about Audric being a bland love interest, I liked him A LOT. He may be a little underdeveloped, but god, I prefer a kind secondary character who’s a little underdeveloped to a developed character who’s also an asshole 98% of the time (no, the 2% of the time spent being not an asshole doesn’t redeem him). Bad boys are out, love interests who genuinely treat the MC like the sun and moon and stars are in.
And the supporting cast on Eliana’s side? Ohhhhh, I loved Remy, that sweet little kid, that poor thing, dragged into all this. He’s so cute, and I just want him to survive the series and have a good life. Princess Navi? Equally good, and I want to see her return in full force. Zahra? A neat concept, and I hope she sticks around and gets more development (plus I have a theory or two about her). Harkan? I want answers, because at least this kid was trying to be a good person, even if Eliana didn’t make it easy. Simon? The one exception, for reasons I’ll get into in a minute because they make me furious lmao. He’s dirt, I don’t like him, I probably won’t ever like him much, you probably can’t change my mind.
Plotwise, I think it could have been a little stronger. Rielle’s side was the weaker, focusing on a series of trials without particularly intricate subplots. You also know from the prologue exactly where her story ends up (it’s in those first ten-odd pages or so), which works in some books, and doesn’t work in others. I haven’t decided if the prologue helps or hurts Rielle’s story yet, but it is interesting in terms of what you get to piece together as the rest of the story develops. Eliana’s story, though, is uncertain and wild and fast-paced, with plenty of danger at every turn that even the Dread of Orline can’t possibly face alone. Her stakes, since we don’t know where her story will lead, seem much more ominous and real, and her desire to put her family first, especially Remy, really spoke to me as the oldest of three.
Oh, and as a note, both Rielle and Eliana are bi! I’m a little disappointed it’s only a little in passing mention, but that doesn’t make them any less bi. Also, I’m holding out for a ship I like (and Naviel is a good ship name whoops there I said it).
But here comes the thing I don’t like. The thing I hated. The big fat spoiler (BIG APOLOGIES IT’S A SPOILER I’M SORRY). I can’t really not mention this because it’s genuinely frustrating to me. I hate it. I hate it so much.
In the last bit of the book, it’s implied that Eliana and Simon are going to get romantic about it. The thing is, Simon is 8 years older than her, was literally there when she was born, and I can’t tell if he zipped from 1000 years ago to present day, or had to live out those 1000 years, but either way, there’s an age difference, a power difference that I already don’t like, PLUS he spends, like, half the novel skipping around the truth or lying or being rude and crude and BAD BOYS ARE OUT UNTIL THEY LEARN TO NOT BE ASSHOLES DURING DEVELOPMENT OF ROMANTIC SUBPLOTS.
Simon is on my shitlist, and I wish he had died during this book because I don’t like him one bit. He’s also the reason for that full star drop because teenage MCs falling in love with adult men who reciprocate despite all manner of uncomfortable and frankly creepy inequalities between them is my least favorite thing in the entire world, and I HATE IT.
ANYWAYS, BIG FAT SPOILER OVER, CARRY ON.
So on the whole, I loved the concept, I liked the POV characters, I’m hoping for the survival of the side characters. I’m a little disappointed that some of the plot felt a little weak, or that it should have been slightly more resolved within the first book and it’s being saved for the rest of the trilogy. I hate the ending, though, because it makes me eighty-two kinds of uncomfortable, especially since this is YA.
All in all, I think I’ll be looking for an ARC or a library copy of the sequel when it comes out. I’m invested in the story, interested in seeing how it pans out, but given those final scenes that I hated, I don’t think I’ll be spending my own money on it until that’s done away with, if it’s done away with at all instead of encouraged.
Have you read Furyborn? Are you furiously in love with it or just kind of furious? Both? And also, poll for science: how do you feel about bad boy love interests? Obviously I’ve made myself clear, but what about you?