Furyborn by Claire Legrand

GoodReads Summary:
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.
Furyborn (Empirium, #1)Review:
I’ve tried to pick up Furyborn twice now and this time I actually finished it. The last time I picked it up I only made it barely through the prologue before I put it down. I’m so glad I picked up the audiobook on a day my child didn’t want to nap because it pushed me to listen to a solid two hours. After that, I was hooked. I was enjoying it so much I went back and forth reading physically and listening to the audio.
Furyborn follows two powerful (and unlikable) women, Rielle and Eliana. I liked Rielle right from the start. We get a bit of how her story ends in the prologue so I was fascinated once the story jumped back to her being a teenager. I needed to know how her story led to what we saw in the prologue. And the more I read about her the more I loved her. She had a terrible father, who was terrible for a heartbreaking reason (but didn’t make him any less terrible). She had wonderful friends, except she was in love with one of them and the other was going to marry the one she loved. Also, she’s powerful as all hell, but she has to hide it from everyone. I thought her story was complex and interesting and I loved her so much.
Eliana was a different story. I really didn’t like her for quite a while. When this book starts, Eliana is finding and turning in rebels for the Empire. They are executed and she gets paid. She does this for her family’s survival. But it’s terrible and sad and I didn’t like it. But everything changes for Eliana when she has to find the Wolf. I really appreciated her growth and acknowledgment of her past. She will do anything to protect her mother and brother and she proves that again and again. I did grow to like her by the end of the story and I’m very excited to see what she will do next. Also, I do want to mention that she is bisexual.
I hate Corien with my whole heart and that’s all I’m going to say about him.
Simon was one of my favorite aspects of the book. He’s involved with both queens and his story is just complex and intricate and weaves between both timelines. I really enjoyed putting the pieces together to figure out what was going on with him. I one million percent ship him with Eliana.
Overall, this story took some getting used to. It was definitely jarring to go back and forth each chapter between two completely different time periods. But I think once I got used to that and got a better handle on both worlds, I really enjoyed the story. They are so interwoven and tied together. I think this book was incredible. I loved the characters (eventually). I loved the different magic systems. I loved it all.

Quotes:

“Dread,” he murmured, his breath caressing her cheek, “is only a feeling, easily squashed. But wolves, my dear, have teeth.”

“We all have darkness inside us, Rielle,” he said, his voice rough. “That is what it means to be human.”

“Some say the Queen was frightened in her last moments. But I like to think that she was angry.”

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogtober Day Twenty-Two: Series on my TBR

Hello, bookworms! For one of last year’s Blogmas posts (find it here) Amanda talked about series that she owned and needed to finish. In August, she finally finished the last series on that list. So, drawing inspiration from that success we decided for one of this year’s Blogtober posts we would make a list of new series that we’ve started and not yet finished. This post will double as Blogtober content and as a way to keep us accountable to finish these series before the end of the year! We’re planning to do a follow up post for Blogmas. This list is only for series that are completed, not series that are sill being published.

Amanda’s Series To Finish

The Empirium Trilogy by Claire Legrand: I read the first two books of this series in August for Tome Topple. It’s for sure going to make the list for my 2020 favorites. The final book comes out October 13th and I’m very eager to get my hands on it.

The Kendra Chronicles by Alex Flinn: I’ve been working on reading my physical TBR this year and Alex Flinn’s books have been high on that list. I’ve read a few of them, so some have been rereads. But I’ve never finished this series, so I’m looking forward to finally getting back into this series. Especially since it’s a favorite of Antonia’s.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: I started this series years and years ago. It was actually Antonia’s mom that recommended it to me and let me borrow her copy. But I made it to the fourth book and then lost said book. I never did find it, so I bought Antonia’s mom a new copy (she was rereading the series) and then never managed to finish it.

The Wicked + The Divine by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, & Matt Wilson: This is one that I plan to pick up this month. The graphic novel series follows twelve Gods who reincarnate into humans every ninety years. This series is dark as hell and I fucking love it. It’s only gotten more bizarre with each installment and I’m excited to read the five volumes I have left.

The Dark Elements by Jennifer L. Armentrout: This is actually a reread. I reread the first two books this past spring because of Armentrout’s new series, The Harbinger, which is set in the same world. I just have the third book left and they’re pretty quick reads. So, I think I’ll probably pick it up this month.

The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa: This is another reread. It was announced earlier this year that Kagawa is writing more books set in this world. Puck is finally going to get his own story and I’m so excited for it. I also only have the final book in this series to read, but then I’m going to read the Call of the Forgotten series which is also set in the same world. Hopefully by then, The Iron Raven will be released.

Antonia’s Series To Finish

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa: This is going to be my next read after I finish the book I’m on now. I’ve been so excited for this one and Amanda hasn’t been helping- she’s told me multiple times the ending is going to tear my heart out and I can’t wait.

Furyborn by Claire Legrand: Amanda recommended this one, it’s probably a little overambitious for me to try to read the whole series before the end of the year given how big my TBR list is but I want to at least start it.

The Air Awakens series by Elise Kova: I read the first three books forever ago after Amanda’s insistence but the end of the third book made me so sad and angry that I couldn’t make myself continue. I’m hoping to get back into it soon.

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini: Amanda and I were buddy reading this series last year and then life got in the way and I never got around to finishing the last one (it’s a reread). I really want to actually finish it finally.

Feverwake by Victoria Lee: Another series Amanda recommended that I’m really excited to start.

What series are you hoping to finish up before 2020 ends?

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand

Summary:
Who are the Sawkill Girls?
Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.
Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.
Val: the queen bee. Beautiful and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.
Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.
Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight…until now.
Sawkill GirlsReview:
I read this book because I’m Team Ketterdam for the BookTube Games this month. Sawkill Girls is the group book picked by the wonderful Katie and Liv. I was super excited because this is a book I’d heard some good things about, but hadn’t picked it up yet. I wish I had read this book back in October because it was the perfect spooky season book. It was so atmospheric and creepy and suspenseful.

“Nobody can change me without my  consent.”

I loved the girls. Marion was sweet and clearly so full of love for those around her. She’s had a tough time lately and she’s just hoping for life to calm down but sadly gets the opposite. Her whole life is turned upside down the minute she lands on Sawkill Rock. Despite the world seems to be against her, she stands up and fights over and over. I really liked her because when any normal person would have given up, she stood up, brushed herself off and kept on going. Then there’s Zoey, who was totally my favorite. She’s fierce and determined and unapologetic about who she is. She loves and she loves HARD. She’s determined to find out what happened to her best friend. Zoey is smart and clever. She’s the only one on the island that really figures out what’s going on in the world. I loved that she was able to put aside her feelings to do what she knew was the right thing. Last, there’s Val. She’s the Queen B in this story, the head Bitch. I didn’t like the girl on girl hate that happened here because this was a super feminist book so it just seemed out of place here. Val was a likable ‘villain’ she didn’t want to be involved in the horror that was happening on Sawkill Rock, but she was born into it. The horror was her legacy. She had no choice until she did. Val had the most character growth and I loved seeing her change.

“You must keep fighting. You must never stop fighting. You must light the path for others to find their footing. You must.”

The side characters were also good. I liked Zoey’s best friend Grayson. He was a really good friend to her. He accepted her no matter what she told him and I really loved that about him. He was a little over the top with the ‘anti-men’ stuff, but aside from that he really stuck by Zoey’s side and loved her even when she thought he shouldn’t. Then there’s Zoey’s dad. I didn’t know what was going on with him at some points, but it was all brought together at the end. I wouldn’t have liked to see a bit more of their relationship before all the craziness that happened in the book. Next is Marion’s mom, she was this fragile thing that’s lost half her family. But she really steps up at the end and she was a great part of the story. Finally, Val’s mother. I don’t even remember her name that’s how much I care about her. She was horrible and awful and seemed to have no feelings at all. Where Val wanted to stop what her family was doing, her mother had no problem and really believed that she was doing her duty to her family.

“Hope, she thought, breathing with the tide, was a choice that only those with resolute hearts dared to make.”

Overall, I liked this book. It was thrilling and exciting and I couldn’t put it down. The story was creative and suspenseful, surprising and compelling. The only thing I didn’t like about this book was that the feminist messages were a little too much here and there. There was a nice overall message of feminism but there were a few scenes that were more anti-men than feminist and I didn’t like that. I definitely recommend this for the spooky season or if you’re looking for a suspenseful book filled with girl power.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.