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Review – Kingsbane (Empirium #2) by Claire Legrand

Kingsbane
Overall
7.3/10
7.3/10
  • Writing - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
  • Development - 7/10
    7/10
  • Overall - 7.25/10
    7.3/10
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Summary

Author: Claire Legrand
Book Format: Hardcover
Pages: 608
Release Date: May 21st, 2019

Description:

In this sequel to the instant New York Times bestseller Furyborn, two queens, separated by a thousand years, connected by secrets and lies, must continue their fight amid deadly plots and unthinkable betrayals that will test their strength—and their hearts.

Rielle Dardenne has been anointed Sun Queen, but her trials are far from over. The Gate keeping the angels at bay is falling. To repair it, Rielle must collect the seven hidden castings of the saints. Meanwhile, to help her prince and love Audric protect Celdaria, Rielle must spy on the angel Corien—but his promises of freedom and power may prove too tempting to resist.

Centuries later, Eliana Ferracora grapples with her new reality: She is the Sun Queen, humanity’s long-awaited savior. But fear of corruption—fear of becoming another Rielle—keeps Eliana’s power dangerous and unpredictable. Hunted by all, racing against time to save her dying friend Navi, Eliana must decide how to wear a crown she never wanted—by embracing her mother’s power, or rejecting it forever.”

 

Review – Kingsbane (Empirium #2) by Claire Legrand

Kingsbane is the second novel in the Empirium series by Claire Legrand. You may remember when Furyborn came out last year. It caused quite the commotion in the young adult and fantasy communities. People just fell in love with it.

The second novel in the series continues the journey of both Rielle and Eliana. Two Queens of the same blood, but that is all they seem to have in common. The prophecy foretold that one would become the Sun Queen, and the other the Blood Queen.

Kingsbane removes all doubt about which queen is which, pushing the plot of their plots forward. That makes this novel sound so straightforward when it’s really anything but.

Writing

Kingsbane (Empirium #2) by Claire Legrand
Kingsbane (Empirium #2) by Claire Legrand

Kingsbane had a lot of pressure on it. It had to live up to the hopes of the fans, as well as the sales of Furyborn. On the whole, I’d say that it managed to hit the mark. Though I will confess that I didn’t like it quite as much as Furyborn. Regardless, it was still a brilliant and page-turning read.

One thing that surprised me—both about Furyborn and again with Kingsbane—is how long she kept up the split perspective. The beginning of Furyborn led me to believe that we wouldn’t be given the opportunity to get to know one of the characters. I was wrong. Still, because of that introduction, I knew that there was a finite amount of time to be spent here. And yet Legrand has managed to fit so much into that relatively small period.

The split perspective allowed for a lot of good storytelling moments. Legrand was able to even out the pacing by jumping back and forth in time. She was also able to build the tension more. Even though we know the fate of one of the queens, there’s still this sliver of hope that things will change (you never know!).

Development

Both of the main characters in this series were given ample opportunity to develop. Rielle and Eliana have had to face this prophecy of theirs for a while now, and thus have had some time to grow into the idea of it. That doesn’t mean that they’re happy about their roles—they’re not. But they are starting to come into their powers.

Rielle probably saw the most change during this novel. Her character arc took her down a different path, forcing her to face challenges and temptations. On the whole, I think Legrand did a decent job with Rielle’s character. I can see her thought process (I think) and the reasoning behind a lot of what was shown and done.

If I had to guess, I would say that the next novel will show us Eliana having a dramatic development. But I’m basing that partially on the way things left off here.

There were so many twists and turns in this novel. Some of them we could see coming. Those ones also made a lot of sense, though, given what we already know about the characters and the world. Some of them were total surprises, though. And I’ll be honest—I’m still processing some of the revelations made in the final scene. I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

Conclusion

Kingsbane had a lot to live up to, and while it didn’t quite manage to hit the same level as Furyborn, it was still a solid read. If Kingsbane did one thing better, it was increasing the emotional reactions it solicited.

In a way, it’s hard to believe that there’s only one novel left in this series. The third novel doesn’t yet have a title, but I expect it will soon. Based on what we’ve seen so far, I think Kingsbane will end up being a vital stepping stone for the finale. 

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About the author

Cat Wyatt

Cat Wyatt is an avid comic book reader, as well as a reader of novels. Her favorite genres are science fiction and fantasy, though she's usually willing to try other genres as well. Cat collects Funko Pop figures, Harry Potter books (different editions), and has more bookshelves than she's willing to admit.

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