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.
Believe me when I say the synopsis only scratches the surface of this complex story. To start off, the world-building in Furyborn is incredible. Developing not only one world but technically two is a feat in itself, and the author does it so well. Everything is explored in depth: the trials, the religion, the world's history, the characters’ backgrounds, and more. Magic is constantly being pushed to its limits in Rielle’s story, and Eliana’s world is just as interesting with its vivid descriptions and sort of post-war setting. And the dual perspectives really work in this novel- it almost feels like reading two completely separate stories, but there's still a thread that connects the two, even if you don’t know what it is in the beginning. When reading multiple point-of-view stories I sometimes prefer reading one person over the other, but I felt equally engaged in both Rielle and Eliana’s stories, and they complement each other really well.
Which leads me to my next point- all the characters are memorable. And there are a lot. Secondary characters all have their time to shine, and I was rooting for all (ok, most) of them. Their personalities and motives are fleshed out, and no one fits into a stereotypical role or feels expendable. But let's focus on Rielle and Eliana, our gritty, resilient, and fierce protagonists. Both of them possess great strength, and while they falter and fall throughout the novel they never fail to pick themselves back up again. They are such admirable characters, and I feel we can all relate to their messy emotions, innate sense of duty, and inner fire. The author really succeeds in creating a fantasy world full of magic and otherworldly creatures while still keeping the characters, well, human. Furthermore, I truly enjoyed the relationships in this book, on both sides. Without spoiling anything, there's something refreshing about having friends and siblings in fantasy novels who aren’t out for each other’s blood while still being entirely realistic. There are genuine friendships and forgivenesses and I really appreciate that.
If you’re a fan of fantasy novels like Throne of Glass, Ember in the Ashes, Shadow and Bone, and The Burning Sky, this book is for you. There is so much to like about Furyborn and so much to look forward to in the rest of the series, so I hope you consider reading it!