Book Reviews

Book Review ‘Kingsbane’ ~ Claire Legrand

40895030._SY475_Kingsbane by Claire Legrand

Publication Date: May 21st 2019

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Series: Empirium #2

Blurb: 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 alter, 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. With few allies in her corner she races against time to save her dying friend Navi. Most importantly, Eliana must decide how to wear a crown she never wanted by either embracing her mother’s power or rejecting it forever.

Separated by a thousand years, connected by secrets and lies, Rielle and Eliana’s fight continues amid deadly plots and unthinkable betrayals that will test their strength – and their hearts.

★★★★/5

Review

Kingsbane was an intense and wild ride from start to finish. Angels, saints, magic and mayhem collide in the second instalment of the Empirium trilogy.

“You are the light of the world, and you will guide us home.”

It was a lot of fun to watch Eliana come into her power. She struggles to accept it or even believe that she is the Sun Queen. But more than that she has to contend with the knowledge that her mother is the infamous Blood Queen. Legrand handled this really well because part of Eliana’s struggle with accepting her power is that she doesn’t want to take after her mum and is afraid that her power will only lead to destruction.

One of the things I like about Furyborn and Kingsbane is how messy and flawed Rielle and Eliana are. They have done awful things to survive, are selfish at times and are young women that ultimately are grappling with power that puts them on a level beyond Aritas’ legendary saints, and they behave as such. They aren’t perfect but they’re so much more real for it.

One that note I did find myself not liking Rielle much during Kingsbane. As Rielle began her decent to Blood Queen, something that had been shown at the very beginning of Furyborn I found myself frustrated at her at times. Like Audric and Ludivine love her and yet she keeps going to Corien. People dislike you cause you keep doing evil things Rielle! You are covered in blood from a bunch of people you just murdered! That said, even if I found her frustrating at times, I did understand her in some ways and her desire and need to be loved is a very human thing even if she took it too far. So although I was struggling with her decisions, I appreciated we get a female character like this since men act like this and are ‘book boyfriends’ or hot and misunderstood villains but when women to it’s too much.

The fall of {Spoiler: Astavar)}* did feel a bit abrupt since Eliana was removed from it. One minute the Empire is invading and the next, {Astavar’s}* Kings and Queen consort are dead and the country has fallen. I can see how it can happen but because the story moved on it felt a little like it wasn’t dealt with. This could just be my desire to know things, I like to know everything that happens if it’s only hinted at. *highlight to read

This was gloriously bi! I loved the casual background queer rep as well. Casual mentions of queer couples and individuals make such a difference and there were so many of them. In addition, we see a lot more mention of Rielle and Eliana’s bisexuality in Kingsbane than we did in Furyborn. I loved that their relationships with women, mainly Eliana’s, was presented in the same way their relationships with men are. It’s not an add on or hinted at and then never mentioned agained.

Quite frankly I can’t believe Legrand has the audacity to tell us Audric’s fate in the prologue of Furyborn and then proceed to make us fall in love with us for the next three books. He is the Lightbringer he can’t die, I refuse. He loves his people, Rielle and Ludivine so much and deserves only peace and happiness.

What the hell was that ending because holy fuck? It was so intense and there were people dying left right and centre, betrayals, revelations. So many things that left me wanting book three because I need answers. How dare Legrand, how dare. We don’t even know the fates of some characters from about halfway through the book and I want them to be safe and happy but these are the Empirium books so I worry for my children.

Kingsbane (and Furyborn for that matter) definitely fit into a crossover of YA and Adult. Kingsbane especially, is very much skirting the lines. I really loved this, it suits the story and I like the added room it gave Legrand to move the story but it’s definitely a more upper YA title.

I definitely recommend Kingsbane and the entire Empirium trilogy. It’s a wonderfully immersive and thrilling fantasy with compelling heroines, fantastic bi rep that’s rounded off with epic magic and angels.

“Papa one told me that, when I lay dying – because someday I will, we will we all – I must not think of the things that frighten me, and I must not think of my pain. I must think of everyone and everything I have ever loved, for if I do that, those thoughts will follow me into death, and that far black place will turn bright and golden, as the world long ago used to be.”

You can find my five star review of Furyborn here: X

Find Kingsbane
Goodreads ~ Dymocks ~ Booktopia ~ Readings ~ Book Depository ~ Amazon AU

Find Claire Legrand
Website ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads Author Page

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