Ah where to start with this…this series was brutal and exhausting. I have heard that this is perfect for SJM fans, and I agree to an extent. SJM has more romance but both have that high stakes feel to their fantasies. However this series wouldn’t be included in my top five for YA fantasy (in fact I could recommend you 7 other books to read instead). I’m in the minority here about this series!
After finishing all 3 books as a whole there are wonderful elements that make this an outstanding series on one end but on the other end it felt a bit too much at times or the polar opposite (going in circles again and again). In the end when I look back at it all I feel is this sense of heaviness like I can’t bother to go and read those books again.
This is your one stop for all for The Empirium Trilogy, as usual this is a spoiler free review for all books and you will get a warning before hand for my spoilery opinions in the end.
For commentators if you’re going to post something that might be spoilery kindly write before hand some sort of warning so other readers don’t get spoiled!
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A thing that irked me in the books (specifically the last two) is forcing these toxic love interests together which is quite horrific to witness at times, because it reaches to the point of abuse. No point hiding it. THIS then leads me to another thing. If you’re willing to portray toxic relationships in my personal opinion they are better suited for adult books. I don’t want a 14 or 15 year old reading this and thinking: “He treats me like shit and is aggressive = hot”.
Now looking at it from an adult’s pov (Using myself as an example): I’m a 23 year old who now has the awareness of what is toxic and what is not in a relationship, and though these kind of relationships are portrayed in books (Game of Thrones, etc), I can be self aware to pin point these out and not get influenced by them.
This is just my personal opinion and I understand that different life circumstances can cause different perspectives regardless of age.
Book 1 | Furyborn
In the kingdom where once Angels and Humans resided peacefully, a violent war broke out between the two species, and as the dying angels withered away their leader has made a prophecy:
A Queen of Blood that would bring forth the destruction of the world. A Queen of Light that would heal and save the world. Two girls. One Prophecy. Their fates destined and written.
Spanning a 1000 years between the two girls, we witness Rielle Dardenne endure seven elemental trials to prove herself as the Sun Queen or be executed. Eliana Ferracora, a broken child with a heart of stone is set upon a dangerous path after her mother suddenly disappears. Except the secret she uncovers about her mother’s disappearance reveals something far deadlier than she imagined.
The pacing was death at the beginning and you’ll feel like DNFing in the first 100-150 pages, It’s not really surprising to me because a lot of fantasy books tend to start slow to help the reader get acquainted with the setting and world system.
On one end I really liked the story. The world building and magical system is so well written and vivid, Legrand made a great job of getting me immersed in the book.
Rielle had a slightly dislikable start but as the book progresses I was more interested in her story because she developed into a stronger albeit flawed heroine with good intentions. She’s a big part into why I finished the book.
What I don’t like? Eliana. She is not a protagonist I would like to root for. Frankly she can be straight up rude with a lack of basic decency, and she has a tendency to screw things around her without thinking about anyone else but herself. The side characters (who are way more interesting) are left to clean up her mess. Yup can’t stand it.
Book 2 | Kingsbane
In book 2, Rielle has been anointed Sun Queen by the Holy Church, but she must play the art of diplomacy all the while figuring out a way to repair The Gate, a structure meant to keep an exiled race out. Inside her head, someone’s whisperings of glory are seducing her and it is getting harder to distinguish the other’s voice than her own ambitions
Elian Ferracora has discovered that she is in fact the long awaited Sun Queen. A rebel group known as Red Crown take her in and it is there she finds a believer in her new friend Navi. But as Navi’s life is threatened, the Undying Empire tightening it’s grasps on Eliana’s whereabouts, Eliana must face the harrowing reality of her true nature.
This book unfortunately took so many pages just circling through the same issues and scenarios over and over again, to the point where I just got really tired and wanted to skip to the last chapters and be done with it.
In terms of story and plot, that was fabulous. I couldn’t see that ending coming and it has turned into the high stakes fantasy that makes it much more addicting and brilliant (despite the pain it caused me). The action scenes were fast paced, there was more political intrigue, and the setting and world building was far more solid. Really you couldn’t ask for better than that.
The issue here was mainly pacing and the point of character toxicity in this book referenced earlier in the post.
Book 3 | Lightbringer
In the finale of the epic Empirium trilogy we follow Rielle as she succumbs to the whispers of glory, power, and freedom. Away of being a pet of court and free to use her power as she wishes, she is separated from her two closest people: Audric and Ludivine. As the power of the Empirium eats away her senses, the truth shall be revealed but this time can the monster be stopped?
Eliana, betrayed and left to the sick cruelties of the Undying Emperor. He tortures her about her powers and demands an impossible task of traveling back in time even if it means throwing the world into chaos.
The prophet whom many speak of their name as savior finally reveal themselves and that revelation will shock the world with it. Now with a second chance, the world will either be a world of light should Eliana succeed or a world of dark should Rielle persevere.
In the final book, the two fates of the two queens clash in wholly unexpected ways. Plot wise, I think the book did it’s job and more. However it was misshaped by the multiple POVs that were unnecessary at times and slowed the book even more.
It is kind of annoying because we spend so much parts of the book going slow only to have a short spanned ending that is literally one chapter.
Eliana remains my favored queen and she come a long way from the distasteful protagonist in book 1. This book however reinforced my idea that this should have been labeled as Adult and not YA.
Say hello to my spoiler included ranting :
- Borderline Obsession and Possessive when it comes to “love”. A thing that makes me feel queasy is how the people around Eliana and Rielle are borderline obsessed with them (Simon? Corien? Heck even Tal?). I don’t like it when a “possible” love interest is obsessed with the main character to the point where they’ll put themselves second in order to satisfy the protagonist.
- Rielle’s Ending: Contrary to many reviewers I’ve seen redeem Rielle quickly and wholeheartedly, I on the other hand respectfully disagree. I think the world of Avitas needed closure from the horrors they’ve witnessed; horrors Rielle willingly and consciously participated in (not all of them but you can’t deny that there wasn’t some free choices she made). Her death provided that closure and I found myself sighing in relief after she died.
- To let her come back into court, sit on the throne and appear before the same people as queen as if nothing happened and her mistake is nothing? Nope that doesn’t sit with me. The only thing that I didn’t like about her ending, is that it made Eliana’s story and journey in this and the last book pointless and that annoys me! Furthermore, I would have wanted more closure about the story, a glimmer of how Avitas would end up when Eliana grew up. Did she end up liking Simon? C’mon you made me go through two books of agony I deserve peace in this.
- I rambled a lot about the ending but I’ve seen many conflicting views about it and was curious to see if others saw the ending the same way I did?
If you made it this far, thank you for sticking it out with me and reading all my ramblings.
I hope you guys loved this post! Tell me have you read The Empirium Trilogy or are you planning to read it?