Author: Claire Legrand
Narrator(s): Fiona Hardingham
Run Time: 22 hours, 26 minutes
Trigger Warning(s): suicide (graphic depiction), attempted sexual assault, graphic violent sex, blood, gore, death of a loved one, multiple graphic/explicit sex scenes (NOTE: If you believe I have failed to include any necessary trigger warnings, please inform me and I will add them)
Summary: 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.
Here’s the thing. It’s really difficult to write reviews for books you love with all your heart. Why? Because all you want to do is scream about how amazing and awesome the books is and ohmygodohmygodohmygod you just HAVE to read it too!!! And it’s tricky to do that without accidentally spilling all the spoilers.
So here I am. A frustrated fangirl, flustered with excitement and struggling to talk to y’all about Kingsbane by Claire Legrand. But, true to my stubborn nature, I’m gonna try anyway.
Kingsbane…isn’t an “easy” book. In any sense. It’s not a light, fluffy fantasy about “good” heroes fighting for a just cause and defeating “evil,” mustache-twirling, obvious villains. No, Kingsbane is instead messy and complex, an intricate, scrambled tangle of morality, emotion, and humanity. And it’s beautiful.
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR FURYBORN (BOOK #1 IN THE EMPIRIUM TRILOGY)
When we left off in Furyborn, both Rielle and Eliana were at crossroads. Kingsbane shows the crooked paths our two “heroines” (for lack of a better term) slowly begin to follow as those paths unfurl before the two them. The book illuminates the uneven growth and development of the two queens with care, showing each step forwards and backwards that Eliana and Rielle take on their respective journeys.
Eliana is in a new kingdom, attempting to gather allies and, more importantly, trying to learn how to harness her powers. But the battle isn’t far behind and she soon finds herself on the run again. This storyline unearths so many new facets of her character. She is no longer just an angry girl hellbent on keeping herself and her brother alive. Now we see a new side of Eliana—scared and hesitant, yet simultaneously fierce and determined. Legrand masterfully digs into each emotion Eliana feels, drawing a rich, deep portrait of the young queen.
Meanwhile, Rielle wants to attempt to fix the Gate, but in order to do so she must gather the castings of the saints. Unfortunately, Obex (the guardians of those castings) aren’t all sympathetic to Rielle and thus the castings aren’t always forthcoming. All of this while Corien’s darkly seductive pull echoes through Rielle’s mind as he attempts to coax her onto his side of the fight. Rielle’s journey is a dark one, filled with fear, desolation, lust, arrogance, and a deep hunger for power which grows stronger with every use of her magic. Rielle’s transformation across Kingsbane from a hurt, confused young woman to a power-hungry villain is in turns fascinating and aggravating (but in the best of ways). Legrand deftly handles this transformation, illuminating every heartbreaking facet of Rielle’s character, crafting the perfect picture of a broken young woman trying desperately to find her footing in a harsh world.
In a change from book one’s dual POV, we also saw minor chapters from the POVs of Ludivine, Simon, Corien, Harkan, and Audric, all of which were super intriguing and greatly enhanced the story! In particular, I loved the peeks we got into Ludivine’s and Corien’s minds—and the hints we got that they may not be exactly who they seem. I’d love to see more of them and to find out what they may be hiding in book three. Harkan’s and Audric’s perspectives where heartbreaking, of course, but also contributed to the book beautifully. The perspective that made me most intrigued at the prospect of hearing more in book three, however, was actually Simon’s, much to my surprise! At first, I was puzzled as to why we needed a POV chapter from him, but by the end of the book I completely understood why it was necessary and I’m dying to hear more from him (and, hopefully, to learn his secrets) in book three.
Outside of the characters, I loved the world and how much Legrand expanded it in Kingsbane! Both Rielle and Eliana are travelling around Avitas in this book and it was exciting to see all of the new places and cultures, and to meet new people! I especially want to learn more about the Deep, the Obex, and Queen Obritsa! Legrand really knows how to build a vast universe and play around with it in the ways that most enhance her plot.
Speaking of plot—aaaaaaaa ohmygodohmygodohmygod!!! So much happened and I have so many questions that I need the answers to!! Legrand totally took the plot to the next level and it left. me. dead! Who is the Prophet? What’s going on with Simon?? And what is Ludivine hiding??? Also—will we get to see other worlds???? Where are the angels from, like, originally, and what are they????? Adsfvuumndfttfklksgfsfsvfv it’s all too much!!! I can’t wait to find out what happens next cause the suspense is killing me!
So, in conclusion, Kingsbane wrecked me in the best of ways. It was an excellent expansion on book one and left me screaming for more. I’m chomping at the bit to get my hands on the third and final book of the trilogy and you have no idea how much it kills me that I’ll have to wait at least a year to do so. Claire Legrand already has my heart with this series, so I have no qualms about her taking my money too.
R A T I N G
T E L L M E A L L A B O U T I T
- Have you read Kingsbane?
- If so, what are your thoughts on it?
- Also—do you have anything you hope will happen in book three? Any theories??