Review: Furyborn

2.5 out of 5 stars

A sort of Franken-book, Furyborn is a watered-down, blended-up amalgamation of ideas that were much better in other YA fantasy stories. Furyborn, by Claire Legrand (Empirium #1)

I’m having trouble recapping Furyborn, because my mind keeps wandering to the original source material. So allow me to pull the description from Goodreads:

When assassins ambush her best friend, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing herself as one of a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light, and a queen of blood. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven elemental magic trials. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

One thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a fairy tale to Eliana Ferracora. A bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, Eliana believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain and discovers that the evil at the empire’s heart 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.

The Goodreads page also calls it “stunningly original” – yet that’s the one thing Furyborn is not.

It’s not a bad book. Some parts are even very good, like the later challenges Rielle is made to face in order to demonstrate her elemental magic. Other parts are weak, like Eliana turning traitor for a hot second, nearly getting everyone massacred, and then coming back to be welcomed, with about one line of argument and otherwise open arms. But everything in Furyborn smacks of some other YA fantasy, making the entire story derivative.

It’s got angels – the emotionless, merciless kind from Shadowhunters. These otherworldy terrors were defeated by humans with magic and imprisoned behind a gate (Throne of Glass). They want out, to return to rule, using some weird element that only they can control (Strange the Dreamer). Rielle can wield not one, as is common, but every type of elemental magic, and without the help of an amplifier (The Grishaverse, Snow Like Ashes, a hundred other books). Eliana is sexy, smart-mouthed bounty hunter with a foggy past and an powerful gift who is secretly a prophesied queen. She’s Celaena Sardothien AND Aelin Galathynius, who are already one person! (And Harken is Sam. My God.)

So while I can’t blame the author for loving said books, I can only see Furyborn a second-rate mashup of them all. It takes the best parts, paints over them in a bid for originality, and tries to fit them together in a new way. All I see is recycling. Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but Furyborn does not flatter it’s writer or itself.



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