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Mystical Beings, Power Struggles, and a Delicious Villain: The Empirium Trilogy by Claire Legrand

Thursday, November 22nd, 2018 | Posted by John ONeill

Furyborn-small Kingsbane-small

One of the best things about the free book bag at the World Fantasy Convention is that it introduces you to books you’d never have paid attention to otherwise. That’s exactly what happened when I reached inside the bag this morning and pulled out Furyborn by Claire Legrand.

I’ve never heard of Claire Legrand. Turns out that’s something of an oversight, as she’s the bestselling author of Winterspell, Foxheart, the YA horror novel Sawkill Girls, and the Edgar Award finalist Some Kind of Happiness. Furyborn, the opening novel of The Empirium Trilogy, was an instant New York Times bestseller, and my hardcover comes laden down with plenty of praise (“A veritable feast of magic: mystical beings, ruthless power struggles, and gorgeously cinematic writing” – Traci Chee, author of The Reader trilogy; and “A delicious villain, non-stop action, and heart-pounding romance… A fantastic read!” – Morgan Rhodes, author of the Fallen Kingdoms series).

Still, not exactly my cup of tea. One more tale of ill-fated royals who must discover secret magic to reclaim their rightful seat on the throne? Not usually the kind of thing that interests me. But the book worked its magic and drew me in almost immediately, and the dual narrative — short alternating chapters set a thousand years apart — features two unapologetically powerful women, and is heavy with both cliffhangers and twists. Heaven help me, I’m enjoying it so far, and will probably pick up the sequel Kingsbane when it arrives next May.

Here’s the book blurb for Furyborn.

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.

Furyborn was published by Sourcebooks Fire on May 22, 2018. It is 501 pages, priced at $18.99 in both hardcover and digital editions. The covers are by David Curtis. Get complete details at Legrand’s website, and read the complete first chapter here.

Kingsbane will be published on May 21, 2019. It is 576 pages, also priced at $18.99 for both editions.

See all our recent coverage of the best in Series Fantasy here.

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