Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Kingsbane by Claire Legrand

Series: Empirium Trilogy #2
Release Date: 1st June 2019
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Genres: Feminist Fantasy

The anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller Furyborn!

Two queens, separated by thousands of 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.

Praise for Furyborn:
A BuzzFeed Most Anticipated Title of Spring 2018
A Goodreads Most Anticipated Title of Spring 2018
A Bustle Most Anticipated Title of Spring 2018
"A must-read." ―Refinery29
"A series to watch." ―Paste magazine
"Visionary." ―Bustle magazine
"One of the biggest new YA fantasies." ―Entertainment Weekly
"Empowering." ―BuzzFeed


Anger and Feminism in the Empirium Trilogy
by Claire Legrand

When I was a girl, I felt angry all the time, but I never felt comfortable showing it. Instead, I would swallow my discontent and paste on a smile. Good girls weren’t supposed to get angry. Good girls were not supposed to ruffle feathers. And I was desperate to be not just a good girl, but the best girl. I wanted people to like me, and in my mind, the two desires were incompatible—the desire to be liked and the desire to express the sometimes-ugly feelings brewing inside me.

From an early age, women are conditioned to think this way. We must tolerate harassment from boys on the playground because “boys will be boys”—and anyway, that kind of teasing is simply a sign of affection, for which we should be grateful. We can’t be too ambitious, or we’ll be derided as arrogant.

We can’t choose to focus on our career rather than starting a family, or focus on starting a family rather than pursuing professional ambitions, because either choice means we’re lacking in some way when compared to our male counterparts.

If a woman is too mean, she’s a bitch. If she’s too nice, she’s a pushover. Too modest? She’s a prude. Too sexually expressive? She’s a whore.

And if a woman gets angry? She’s just being overly emotional. She’s PMS-ing. She’s hysterical.

Even though I was raised in a wonderful household, where thankfully I didn’t have to confront these kinds of attitudes, they were nevertheless omnipresent in the world around me. Commercials, television shows, movies, the products sold in stores, and the insidious, centuries-old effects of patriarchal power showed me that I must walk this impossibly fine line in order to be considered a good girl—and that being a “good girl” should be my ultimate goal. If that meant swallowing my anger time after time, then so be it.

Enter Rielle Dardenne and Eliana Ferracora.

I came up with the idea for the Empirium Trilogy when I was eighteen years old, when I was very much still of the mindset that I should “play nice” whenever possible. But as I started developing this story and getting to know its protagonists—Rielle and Eliana—I began to understand how powerful anger could be.

Both of these young women learn they are the subject of a prophecy: A queen of light and a queen of blood will arrive, one with the power to save the world, one with the power to destroy it. The question Rielle and Eliana face is, “Which queen am I? The good queen or the bad queen?” (Because, of course, a woman can only be one of these two extremes. A bitch or a pushover. A prude or a whore.)

As Rielle and Eliana grapple with this utterly unfair destiny, they grow increasingly angry with the people in their lives—even well-intentioned people—who think they know what’s best. Who tell them they’d better figure out how to be the “good queen,” or else. They must use their power when the people they serve tell them to, but must otherwise not be defiant with it. They must not use their power to rebel, to question, to fight back.

And they must use this power even if they don’t particularly want to.

Now, as a 33-year-old woman, I am much more comfortable with the “uglier” parts of my personality—my anger, my selfishness, my cowardice. Do I always like these parts of myself? No. Do I always express them in the correct way? No. (After all, anger can be productive, but it can also be destructive.)

But over the course of writing first Furyborn, then Kingsbane, and now Empirium Book 3, I’ve learned that the anger I experience isn’t unnatural, or unfeminine, or villainous, or unattractive. I am allowed my anger. My anger does not diminish me. My anger does not strip me of my womanhood.

In fact, my anger gives me power. It motivates me to make positive changes for myself and for others. And I don’t think I would have found the courage to embrace this part of myself had I not spent years developing the characters of Rielle and Eliana. Their journey toward accepting, expressing, and learning to live with their anger and power has taught me so much about myself, and I hope that the girls who read this series feel similarly emboldened.

Anger can be destructive and cruel. It can also be a tremendous force for change, and, as a woman, understanding and expressing your anger is an act of liberation, of empowerment, of great bravery. I’m so grateful to the characters of Rielle and Eliana for helping me understand this, and I’m delighted to see them join the ranks of the many other dynamic, complex, angry girls that populate the world of fantasy literature.

About Claire Legrand 

Claire Legrand is a librarian and the author of several novels for children and teens, including the Edgar Award–nominated Some Kind of Happiness and The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls. Claire lives in New Jersey with her partner, her dog, and two cats. Visit

To find out more about The Empirium series head over to .  

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