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Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Audio ARC Review: Kingsbane by Claire Legrand

Please Note:  I received an advance audio copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This did not influence the opinions of my review in any way.

Synopsis (From Goodreads):
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.

Furyborn, by Claire Legrand, was one of my favorite books of last year.  I enjoyed the imaginative world the author created, along with the complex characters.  When I learned the new book, Kingsbane, was out (and narrated by one of my favorite voice actors, Fiona Hardingham), I eagerly wanted to review it.  While I still liked the world in which it took place, I have very mixed feelings about this book.  The characters changed drastically, and the story took some very strange (and kinky) turns.

What I Liked:
As with the first book, the world-building was excellent.  The author must have created volumes of backstory and mythology in order to make such a rich environment.  Each nation has a different religion centering on one of the seven "saints".  There are traditions in clothing, food, and customs.  Not to mention that the two stories take place one-thousand years apart, so some things like language and innovations had to evolve.

As always, Fiona Hardingham does a terrific job of narrating the story.  Her many distinct male and female characterizations make the story easy to follow, and very entertaining.

Rielle and Eliana aren't the only ones who possess magic.  There are angels who can possess people, and others who can create threads of time that can be used in all sorts of ways.  

There were also those who didn't have any magic, who were fearful of those who did.  This made for a lot of tension which some seeking power used to create unrest in the cities.

Strangely, I connected more with the male characters than the female ones.  Audric, Rielle's long-suffering lover, is a man blinded by his affection for her.  He refuses to see how dangerous she is becoming.  Simon, who is in the later story with Eliana, is also a tragic character.  He is a man in the wrong time period.  Everyone he knows is long dead.  His sole purpose is to keep Eliana safe and help her realize she has magical powers.  What a lonely existence. 

What I Was Mixed About:
Okay, the angels are about to break down The Gate that would let them back on Earth, and cause the end of the world.  Rielle (The Chosen One) needs to find the artifacts of the seven saints in order to repair The Gate.  Several religious orders know where they are.  Time is of the essence.  What should they do?

    A: Hand the artifacts over to Rielle.


     B: Make Rielle go through tests to "prove" she is worthy before giving her the artifacts.


I guess just giving her the artifacts would be too easy, but I thought it was completely unnecessary to put her though a bunch of trials, when they would need to give her the items anyway.  Couldn't the author have just made the journey to each artifact the challenge?

What I Didn't Like:
There is one aspect of both Rielle and Eliana that I found disturbing.  When either of the characters become anxious, they turn to sex to distract themselves.  This happened several times with several partners!  While I don't have a problem with people having sex, I did feel that Rielle and Eliana selfishly used some of their partners.  Rielle, in particular, jumps into these encounters without any thought to the feelings of her long-term partner, Audric.  Although he is pretty liberal sexually, I think Audric would be very hurt by how freely Rielle jumps at the chance to get busy with others.

Sex Scenes:
This book has some very explicit and disturbing sex scenes in it.  Considering the novel is being marketed as a YA, I thought they were extremely inappropriate.  One encounter, in particular, was violent and psychologically creepy.  Plus, I didn't see the need for them.  How do any of these moments relate to the story?

Trigger Warning for Sexual Violence


Release Date:  May 21st, 2019

Author:  Claire Legrand

Audio Publisher:  Listening Library

Audio Length: 22 hrs, 26 min 
Narrator:  Fiona Hardingham

Print Publisher:  Sourcebooks Fire

Page Length: 608 Pages

Genre:  YA Fantasy

Source:  Publisher

Format:  Audio Book

Recommendation: This did not live up to the expectations I had from the strong first book.  Read it only if you simply must know what happens after Furyborn.

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1 comment :

  1. Too bad you didn't enjoy it as much as Furyborn. It was one of my favorite books too. I ordered Kingsbane today and I gotta say I'm kinda curious now to read it for myself. I saw it has 600+ pages so not sure how I feel about that. Bigger books intimidate me a little bit.


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2019 Reading Challenge
MsArdychan has read 10 books toward her goal of 120 books.


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