By Cynthia Bujnicki
Rielle and Eliana are two queens, separated by centuries, in worlds so different. Both grapple with the challenges of the Sun Queen title, with the angel Corien lingering on the fringes of their mind, manipulating them, tricking them. For one, the temptation to fall into Corien’s arms is easy to resist; for the other, the acceptance he offers is too tempting to ignore. Both must continue their struggle and battle for the world against the undying and vengeful angels.
Kingsbane is one of those novels that makes one want to scream not because it is terrible, but because it is so good. Two stories are going on in this novel, Rielle’s and Eliana’s and each takes place in a different world, and yet the same. Eliana is Rielle’s daughter, flung into a far off future, a future dark and bleak because of her mother, because of Rielle who lives in a world of richness, magic, and beauty. It is such a sharp and perfect dichotomy to see these two worlds reflect off one another. The reader knows Rielle’s choice, mostly, but it is her journey to that point that makes her part of the story so captivating.
Admittedly, Rielle is, at times, an unlikeable character because she is arrogant and self-righteous. Considering the events of the previous novel, it is understandable. Rielle was raised to fear her power, as a being that is more of a burden than anything else. However, now she has this power that she does not have to hide, but with that power comes responsibility she is unprepared to understand. It is complicated, but the reader already knows from the beginning of Furyborn, that she is the one that is going to damn everyone. The question is why? There is also this factor of how her power influences her that makes her a complex character. She loves one man and yet lusts for another, a man who manipulates her and roots inside her head filling her with false empathy. Again, it is complicated, and Rielle is a complex character which is why, even when her hubris makes her unlikeable to the point where the reader wants to smack her, her story, her perspective still draws the reader into the story.
Then there is Eliana. Eliana is a much more likable character than her mother. This power is a burden to her; one she did not want nor understands. Eliana lives in a world where there is no magic, only struggle, so it is all so new to her, and Eliana is trying to navigate this world that was always familiar to her until Simon entered her life dropping this knowledge on her shoulders, forcing her to carry the weight of the world on them. For Eliana, this new knowledge is overpowering. Readers can gravitate more towards her character and even sympathize with her as she struggles to be the savior everyone needs.
By going back and forth between these two strong female characters, Legrand is painting a well-rounded story by touching upon so many facets of the human psyche as it develops the story. It also keeps the momentum of the story fast and unpredictable. There are so many gut-wrenching plot twists in the story that takes the reader by surprise, coming out of nowhere and gluing the reader to the pages of the book. None of them are predictable, and that is why they are so good because they also do not feel forced or out of place. The plot twists fit the mechanisms of the story beautifully, keeling the reader on their toes.
The execution of the novel is impressive and in many ways surpasses it is predecessor. It has a brilliant pace and an intriguing set of events to keep the dynamics and pace compelling. (★★★★☆ | A)