Book Discussion | Furyborn by Claire Legrand

As I mentioned yesterday in my spoiler-free review, Furyborn was a book that wasn’t even on my radar until Birdie Bookworm brought it to my attention. And I can’t thank her enough for that. Furyborn was a spectacular read that I’m glad I didn’t miss out on. It’s full of action and adventure, and I was invested in the characters from the get-go. Per usual with our discussion posts, this is split between my blog and Birdie’s. The first part is here on Books & Beauty Are My Bag, and the conclusion can be found here on Birdie’s blog.

Please keep in mind that as this is a discussion post, it will include spoilers for the series.

Furyborn by Claire Legrand | Empirium Trilogy #1
Fantasy | Young Adult
Publication Date | May 22nd, 2018

Book Blurb:

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.

| Spoilers Galore Book Discussion |

The prologue to Furyborn was pretty intense. Do you think it was a good setup for the story?

Angie Elle: I do. I think it made sure that I was invested from the get-go, and I wanted to know what led up to that event. I will say, though, that I did go back about a third of the way through the book and read it again, and it clarified some things character-wise and blew a few of my theories to bits.

Birdie Bookworm: I loved the prologue. I agree, I was hooked by the prologue. I thought giving us a huge scene first was a wonderful way of influencing how we read the rest of the story.  

I wish I’d gone back and reread the prologue again. That’s a genius idea. I have a feeling we’re going to feel very different when we read that moment again later, my guess is from Rielle’s perspective.

What did you think of the world building?

Angie Elle: I liked the world building. I think it was perfect – not too overwhelming, and I never felt like information was being ‘dumped’ on me, which is sometimes an issue with this genre.

Birdie Bookworm: There weren’t any info dumps, which can be a problem in the Fantasy genre. I thought the world building was decent though. I think, when I finished, I did feel like I could have gotten more about the world. Without info dumping, I wish we’d gotten more of a world history.

There were two main protagonists in this story, going from POV to POV and past to ‘present.’ Was there a protagonist’s POV you enjoyed more? What do you think this did for the pacing?

Angie Elle: At the beginning, I was so interested in Rielle’s POV that I was hurrying through every other chapter just to get to hers, but by the end of the book, it was Eliana I was most drawn to, so I was rushing through Rielle’s chapters. I think it helped with the pacing, though I don’t feel like that would have been lacking either way.

Birdie Bookworm: Normally I hate flopping POV’s and time jumps, but it really worked in Furyborn. I think it helped that I anticipated that there was a connection between both stories, and that made me curious about both of them. I also found myself more invested in Rielle’s chapters in the beginning, and then Eliana’s chapters in the end. Though, I have to take it one step further. I actually disliked Eliana’s character in the beginning, and then it flopped and I found myself disliking Rielle’s character more in the end, which I think the author did on purpose.

Angie Elle: What’s interesting is that my feelings for the characters didn’t change – just that I found one situation getting more interesting than the other. I didn’t like Eliana at the beginning of the book, and I still didn’t at the end. But I liked Rielle all through the book.

Birdie Bookworm: For me, I couldn’t stand Eliana in the beginning but I eventually grew to understand what motivated her. Whereas I liked Rielle in the beginning, until I got to know her character more and she began to feel shallow and selfish.

Angie Elle: Interesting. Rielle never felt shallow or selfish to me. I think she’s desperate, so, of course, that makes me a sucker for her character.

Rielle was put through the wringer with the trials. What did you think of everything she had to endure?

Angie Elle: I was so mad at what they did to her. Putting innocent people’s lives on the lines solidified ‘them’ as the evil ones in my mind, and all I could think was that if Rielle wasn’t evil now,  she surely would be by the time these trials were done. I was so furious for her.

Birdie Bookworm: I could understand the trials in terms of testing her strength and proving that she had control of all elements. However, I also got really upset by how far the trials were taken. I still can’t believe the cruelty that was allowed in an effort to undermine Rielle. However, I found it exciting when she overcame them.

I did have one peeve about how the trials were written. I found the focus on beauty and costume was overdone. Maybe because it made the importance of what Rielle was trying to do feel minimized, and also because it felt like Shades of Hunger Games. I could have done without it.

Angie Elle: I actually liked the costumes, because I liked why it was being done. There was a 50/50 chance the people would find her endearing, and they were pulling out all the stops to get the people on her side. The prophecy that was driving the entire story was unpredictable, and they wanted all the advantages they could get.

Birdie Bookworm: I can see how that was what they were going for, but it didn’t work for me. I think maybe if more of the dialogue had been about the politics of the costumes, but the conversation of cleavage and bodysuits and the gorgeousness of Rielle made it feel too consumed with beauty for what was happening. While reading I just felt like it detracted from the direness of the trials.

Did you understand the concept of the Empirium and think it was explained clearly?

Angie Elle: I did not fully understand the concept of the Empirium as I was reading the book, and I still don’t. I don’t know if this was deliberate on the author’s part and she’ll be fleshing it out more in future installments, or if she thought it was clearly drawn out for the reader. I guess I’ll find out when I read the rest of the trilogy.

Birdie Bookworm: I also didn’t fully understand what Empirium was. It’s one of the things I thought should have been explained more, and why I thought the world building could have been better. You could be right though; it’s possible the author is withholding information to parcel out over the next two books.

This concludes the first half of our discussion! Don’t forget to go here to read the second half. We had lots more to say on Birdie’s blog!

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