Everything I Learned from Attending BookExpo and Tips I’m Sharing

I can’t believe it’s almost time for BookExpo. I’ve been attending the book and publishing conference since 2011 and will be heading back as Press this year so be sure to watch my social media for updates.

This is an updated version of a tips post I originally shared in 2014.

What to Bring:

Here’s what you should bring along to the Javits Center every day:

  • Paperwork: DON’T FORGET YOUR REGISTRATION BADGE! If you’re a print out your schedule ahead of time kind of person, don’t forget that either. If you’re attending with friends you may want to have copies to share too.
  • Cell Phone: I keep my entire BookExpo schedule on my phone for easy access and to see it plotted out in my calendar. This is also a great way to keep track of any friends you’ll be traveling with as your schedules may overlap and diverge. I take my Press duties seriously so I also use my phone to live tweet the show, share Instagram stories, take pictures for my recap post, and have a way to reference the BookExpo site if something on the schedule changes. (BookExpo also offers a Show Planner app to download to smartphones which is another helpful way to schedule but it might not always load properly at Javits.)
  • Portable Charger: Javits has terrible wifi. Your phone will run down. Be sure to start the day with a fully charged phone. Also bring some kind of portable charger–there aren’t a ton of outlets so having your plug on hand isn’t a guarantee that you’ll be able to charge devices.
  • Cash: It’s just easier to get lunch with cash whether you are at the Food Court or elsewhere. Also easier for cab fare and everything else. You will also want some cash on hand for Coat Check.
  • Small Bag: This is not the time for a giant hold-everything monster bag. Just the essentials (wallet, ID, paperwork, phone, etc.) It gets crowded on the show floor and everything you carry is going to be heavy. Don’t bog yourself down.
  • Business Cards: I give cards to authors, to publicists, and people I meet during the show. Be sure to have a nice stack so you don’t run out. This year I’m getting new cards with my blog URL, email, instagram, and twitter handles.
  • Water Bottle: Bring a bottle and refill it at the water fountains during the day.
  • Snacks: Just in case lunch proves elusive and you need to refuel.
  • Rolling Bag and Tote Bag: The tote will be used on the show floor (where no rolling luggage is allowed) to hold galleys you pick up. There is a 100% chance you will get totes throughout the show but it’s always good to have a sturdy one you already like–just in case. The rolling bag is the most important thing to bring. Before the show starts, drop the rolling bag in a coat check area for five bucks. Now, throughout the day, you can drop your books into the suitcase. At the end of the day you can roll your suitcase home or to your hotel. Easy.

What to Wear:

  • Clothes: BookExpo is a professional convention and it’s nice to look semi-professional too. I tend to do business casual leaning more toward casual. I’d also say dress in layers with some kind of lightweight sweater because air conditioning works more fully in some areas than others. My default outfit is usually a dress and cardigan with or without leggings underneath depending on the weather.
  • Shoes: Wear comfortable shoes. If that means sneakers, fine. If it means something else, go for it. You will likely be on your feet for eight hours and you will be walking for a lot of that. My go to shoes are Sanuks or Skechers just go with something you have already worn. This isn’t the time to break in a new pair.

How to Schedule:

  • Over-Schedule: BookExpo has author signings, panels and sessions, inbooth signings, galley drops, and sometimes even after hours events. You should check the BookExpo site and publishing social media to see what’s being promoted and what’s interesting for you. Opinions vary on how much to schedule or plan ahead for BookExpo. I’m in the camp of over-scheduling. I mark down everything I’m even remotely interested in and whittle down from there as the day progresses.
  • Prioritize: The key is to note when everything you want to do is happening. In any given time slot it’s likely you can do multiple things, but sometimes you can’t. Know what is most important to you and know how much time you want to spend on it–generally I pick some books and say to myself “Okay, this is why I’m at BookExpo today.” and that determines what else happens that day.
  • Schedule Lunch: Seriously. I tend to frequent the food court, but really eating anywhere is fine. Food is important and you won’t make it through the day otherwise. Same goes for staying hydrated.

What to Expect:

  • Fun: If you love books, BookExpo is a great time. It’s a little overwhelming but there is lots of fun to be had.
  • Books: No matter how many books you think you will take home, know that you will be getting more than that. If you listen to nothing else I’m sharing here, do trust me no the rolling bag.
  • Lines: You will wait on lines for a lot of BookExpo–especially for big name signings–but mostly it’s worth it.
  • Network: Don’t be afraid to say hi to people. If you see someone from Twitter, wave. If you love a book and see the author, say hello. If a publicist just made your day finding the last ARC for the only book you wanted that day, let them know. Pass out cards, make friends. Find contacts.

Those are all of the tips I have to share for a successful BookExpo. If you have more (or have some questions I didn’t answer), let’s chat in the comments!

Advertisements

Legendary: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

*Legendary is the second book in Garber’s Caraval trilogy which begins with Caraval. Start there to avoid spoilers.*

cover art for Legendary by Stephanie GarberTella never doubted that her sister Scarlett would win Caraval and use her wish to bring Tella back to life. Dying was worth any risk if it meant that Tella would be one step closer to mending her broken family and finally, for once, protecting her older sister. Playing Legend’s game was the only chance either of them would have to truly win their freedom–something that is worth far more than any debt Tella may have incurred to get Legend’s attention.

But every debt has to be paid eventually and Tella’s are coming due. Tella has always been quick on her feet, easily dodging any risk and danger. But even Tella isn’t sure that she’ll be able to acquire this last payment: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

 If Tella fails to discover Legend’s identity she could lose everything that matters–including her life. Winning the game will help Tella discover Legend’s identity. But the prize will come at a cost that could destroy Legend and Caraval forever. Tella knows better than to get swept away by the wonders within the game. But as time runs out, Tella starts to wonder if this time the game (and the dangers) might be more than illusion.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval, the grandest show by land or by sea. Inside you may come face to face with Fate or steal bits of destiny. As fantastical as Caraval might feel, the next five nights are very real. Elantine has invited us here to save the Empire from her greatest fear. For centuries the Fates were locked away, but now they wish to come out and play. If they regain their magic the world will never be the same, but you can help stop them by winning the game. Are you ready to play? in Legendary (2018) by Stephanie Garber.

Legendary is the second book in Garber’s Caraval trilogy which begins with Caraval. It picks up right after the events of Caraval with a decent recap of key events. Fans of the first book will appreciate many of the familiar characters in this installment.

This novel follows Tella in close third person as she tries to win Caraval while keeping her own secrets–particularly from her sister Scarlett who is sadly sidelined for much of the story as a result. Garber dramatically expands the world of the Meridian Empire and Caraval as well as offering more backstory on Tella and Scarlett’s past.

While Scarlett was a clever heroine who had to learn how to take risks and conquer her fears, Tella is already very shrewd and fearless. She wears her youth and femininity as weapons and is quick to acknowledge almost all of her weaknesses except, perhaps, for her fierce loyalty. Tella’s biggest struggle throughout Legendary isn’t learning to believe in herself. Rather she has to trust herself as she begins to realize that this version of Caraval bears little resemblance to the game Scarlett won.

Much like Caraval itself, Legendary plays with readers expectations as this story moves in surprising and unexpected directions. In many ways Tella’s story arc is as defined as Scarlett’s while leaving many key questions waiting to be answered in book three. Legendary is a must read for fans of the first book and proves that this series has staying power. Highly recommended.

Possible Pairings: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi, Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson, A Darker Shade of Magic by Victoria Schwab, The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration*

As You Wish: A Review

cover art for As You Wish by Chelsea SedotiWhat if you can make one wish and know that it will come true?

That’s the question Eldon has to answer as his eighteenth birthday approaches. Eldon’s small town, Madison, is unremarkable except for one thing: every person in town gets one wish on their eighteenth birthday and that wish always comes true.

But Eldon has seen enough wishes go wrong to know that wishing for something to make you happy isn’t the same as being happy. As his birthday approaches Eldon will have to decide if one wish can secure his future happiness. Or, if he’s smart enough and makes the right wish, maybe it can fix all the broken wishes that came before in As You Wish (2018) by Chelsea Sedoti.

Sedoti delivers a haunting story with fantasy elements in her sophomore novel.

With his birthday approaching, Eldon grapples with his own desires for a wish (getting his girlfriend back) and pressures from his mother to wish for enough money to pay his sister’s medical bills and maybe help the entire family. Eldon’s first person narration is interspersed with stories from the town of other wishes. These anecdotes include Eldon’s mother who wished, against all advice and reason, for her high school crush to love her forever–even when she falls out of love with him, and other wishes with disastrous results.

As You Wish is a bleak, claustrophobic novel. Eldon, like a lot of people in town, feels trapped. Unlike others Eldon isn’t so sure a wish can help. His struggle with that moves the novels forward and has the potential to change the entire town’s future. Despite the high stakes, the bleak backdrop and meandering tone make this a slow read. Eldon’s anger and distance as a narrator further remove readers from the immediacy of the story.

Possible Pairings: Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman, When We Collided by Emery Lord, The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider, Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes, Cloudwish by Fiona Wood, The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

*An advance copy of this title was provided by the publisher for review consideration at BookExpo 2017*

Week in Review: May 19–Furyborn is finally out this week!

missprintweekreviewThis week on the blog you can check out:

I am so excited that Furyborn is finally releasing soon! This week I shared my spoiler free review and also a lovely interview with Claire Legrand about the book.

Tomorrow Nicole and I plan to brave the rainy weather to go to the launch party and I’m really looking forward to it.

Happy #mapmonday! I’m so excited for Furyborn’s release this month and especially for the launch party this weekend. ☀️ Since I’ll be reviewing the book and interviewing Claire later this week on my blog, today seemed like the perfect time to feature Furyborn for #bookishmondaymemories too! ☀️ Only two people are meant to have power over all seven kinds of elemental magic–a prophesied pair of queens. The Sun Queen will bring light and salvation. Her counterpart, the Blood Queen, will summon an age of ruin and destruction. ☀️ Rielle Dardenne’s uncontrolled magic has already cost her dearly so she hides her powers. When her best friend, the crown prince, is attacked by assassins Rielle has to intervene. The kingdom believes Rielle to be one of the queens in the prophecy. But which one? ☀️ One thousand years later, Queen Rielle is remembered as little more than a legend from when magic and angels were thought to be real. Eliana Ferracora doesn't have time for stories. She isn't proud to be a collaborator with the invading forces of the Undying Empire. But her work as a bounty hunter is the only thing keeping her mother and her brother Remy safe. Until her mother disappears. ☀️ To save her Eliana forms a tenuous alliance with a mysterious man called the Wolf and embarks on a dangerous mission traveling across her country to distant shores and the center of a conspiracy closer to Eliana than she can imagine. ☀️ Two queens with the power to save their world or destroy it. Two young women pushed to desperate lengths for what they love. One war that has spanned millennia and demands that both Rielle and Eliana choose a side. ☀️ Is this one on your to read list? Would you be more of a sun queen or a blood queen? ☀️ #instabooks #amreading #instareads #bookgram #bookworm #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #booklove #bookphotography #instabook #reading #reader #booktography #bookstagram #igreads #booksofinstagram #goodreads #bookaholic #bookish #bookishfeature #bookstafeatures #bookstagramfeature #readersofinstagram #unitedbookstagram #furyborn #clairelegrand

A post shared by Emma (@missprint_) on

This week I went to a preview at HarperCollins and hope to have my Top Fives ready to share next week. Kevin Henkes was there which was really lovely–he’s just the best. And a librarian I know and follow and whose opinion I value told me she admired and liked my commitment to instagram this year. Which was just wild.

Here are two of my favorite posts I shared on Instagram this week:

What’s your favorite book to movie adaptation? Or which one are you looking forward to? 📚 I’m very excited about To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Darkest Minds. Summer can’t come soon enough. 📚 In Now A Major Motion Picture Iris Thorne is dreading the movie adaptation of her grandmother’s Elementia books. Hailed as a feminist response to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings the Elementia books are seen as classic fantasy and have the diehard fans to prove it. 📚 The movie adaptation is only going to make that work. Iris and her family already had to deal with a crazy fan trying to abduct her younger brother Ryder. She can’t imagine what will happen with a bigger fan base. 📚 Iris hopes that spending the summer in Ireland observing the production with Ryder will give her the perfect chance to sabotage the production. 📚 Iris’s sabotage schemes are thwarted by dreamy leading actor Eamon and the crew’s infectious enthusiasm. Is it possible that the one thing Iris has been dreading is the one thing she’s always needed? 📚 Now a Major Picture is out now so be sure to pick up a copy from your local bookstore or library! 📚 #instabooks #currentlyreading #amreading #instareads #bookgram #bookworm #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #booklove #bookphotography #instabook #reading #reader #booktography #bookstagram #igreads #booksofinstagram #goodreads #bookaholic #bookish #bookishfeature #bookstafeatures #bookstagramfeature #readersofinstagram #unitedbookstagram #nowamajormotionpicture #corimccarthy #yalit

A post shared by Emma (@missprint_) on

What’s your favorite color? 📚 Mine is hot pink! (Yes it has to have the exclamation point.) But I’m also really fond of red and enjoying that my books and accessories are on point with color coordination this week. 📚 I’m currently reading For a Muse of Fire by Heidi Heilig which matches my new Book Beau and Tale as Old as Time bookmark really well. Also of course I had to include a red owl. 📚 For a Muse of Fire is the first book in Heilig’s new trilogy. Jetta and her family are renowned shadow players for their performance with neither stick nor string. But their fame comes with a dangerous secret: Jetta can see souls and bind them to puppets with blood magic. 📚 This old magic is dangerous and forbidden in the wake of La Victoire. It’s also the only chance Jetta and her family have to get to Aquitan where shadow plays are incredibly popular and the Mad King has a spring that can cure his ills and may be able to cure Jetta’s own malheur. 📚 With rebellion brewing Jetta will have to make a deal with a mysterious young smuggler to try and keep her family’s dream alive. The journey to Aquitan will be dangerous and along the way Jetta will have to face shocking truths and impossible choices. 📚 You can add For a Muse of Fire to your to read list now and watch for it in your local bookstore or library this September! 📚 #instabooks #currentlyreading #amreading #instareads #bookgram #bookworm #bookblogging #bookblogger #bookstagrammer #bibliophile #booklove #bookphotography #instabook #reading #reader #booktography #bookstagram #igreads #booksofinstagram #goodreads #bookaholic #bookish #bookishfeature #bookstafeatures #bookstagramfeature #readersofinstagram #unitedbookstagram #foramuseoffire #heidiheilig #fantasy

A post shared by Emma (@missprint_) on

How was your week? What are you reading?

Top Fives: Macmillan Fall 2018 #MacKidsPreview

Macmillan hosted their Fall 2017 Librarian and Educator Preview on May 2. Below you can find my Top Fives from the preview. You can also check the #mackidspreview hashtag on Twitter and see my tweets from the preview for even more titles.

Picture Books

  1. So Tall Within: Sojourner Truth’s Long Walk Toward Freedom by Gary D. Schmidt and Daniel Minter: Picture book biography about Sojourner Truth with Schmidt’s poetic, lyrical text and stunning illustrations from Minter working in a new fine arts style. I got to read an early galley of this one and it’s absolutely gorgeous. September 2018.
  2. Carlos Santana: Sound of the Heart, Voice of the World by Gary Golio and Rudy Gutierrez: I think this is going to be a very smoooooooooooth picture book biography! I’m not even sorry for the pun because the illustrator also designed the album artwork for Shaman. So. September 2018.
  3. Lucy Fell Down the Mountain by Kevin Cornell: Lucy’s day starts with a fall down a mountain and gets worse from there in this cumulative tale that might be a good company for Judith Viorst’s Alexander and Brosgol’s Leave Me Alone. October 2018.
  4. King Alice by Matthew Cornell: What do you do on a snow day? If you’re Alice you recruit your dad to write a book detailing the exploits of King Alice and her knight princesses. September 2018.
  5. The Case of the Missing Chalk Drawings by Richard Byrne: Bright graphic art dominates this kid friendly mystery with a procedural vibe. Perfect for fans of The Day the Crayons Quit. November 2018.

Middle Grade

  1. Thundercluck by Paul Tillery and Meg Witter: Part Norse mythology, part adventure, 100% all natural chicken. September 2018.
  2. Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh: A timely story of two very different boys—one from DC and one from Aleppo—stranded in Brussels at the peak of the refugee crisis in 2015 and the friendship that forms between them. September 2018.
  3. The Train to Impossible Places by P. G. Bell: A sparkling fantasy debut and series starter follows Susie when she sneaks on the impossible (troll operated) postal train and becomes deputy post master.
  4. Snazzy Cat Capers by Deanna Kent and Neil Hooson: The launch of a heist-filled adventure series with Ophelia—a cat burglar who is actually a cat. September 2018.
  5. Wonderland by Barbara O’Connor: Two unlikely friends, one runaway dog. One friendship story perfect for fans of Katherine Applegate and Kate DiCamilo. August 28.

Young Adult

  1. Blanca and Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore: New magical fantasy with elements of Rose Red, Snow White, and Swan Lake. I can’t wait! October 2018.
  2. Unbroken: 13 Stories Starring Disabled Teens edited by Marieke Nijkamp: A short story collection that explores intersection diversity (both among the characters an authors) in stories starring disabled teens from both new and established voices including Dhonielle Clayton, Heidi Heilig, Karuna Riazi, among others. September 2018.
  3. Black Wings Beating by Alex London: New YA Fantasy and series starter featuring savage falconry and elements reminiscent of Graceling. October 2018.
  4. Unclaimed Baggage by Jen Doll: What happens to lost luggage? It gets sold in stores like Unclaimed Baggage where three misfit teens seeking work and refuge gravitate for the summer. September 2018.
  5. A Blade So Black by L. L. McKinney: An Alice in Wonderland retelling set in modern Atlanta with Buffy vibes. September 25.
  6. The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke: A dark fantasy retelling of Beowulf. Standalone. October 2018.

Author Interview #2: Claire Legrand on Furyborn

Claire Legrand author photo Furyborn is poised to be one of the big books this summer as it launches a blockbuster YA fantasy trilogy for Sourcebooks Fire. Claire Legrand has been working on pieces of Furyborn and the larger Empirium trilogy for years often crediting this book as the book of her heart and one that set her on this path as an author. I’ve been waiting for a new YA from Claire since I read Winterspell back in 2015 and I’m so happy the time has finally come. Today Claire is here to talk a bit more about this powerhouse series starter.

Miss Print (MP): You’ve mentioned before that Furyborn is the book of your heart. What was the inspiration for Furyborn? What part of the story came to you first?

Claire Legrand (CL): Furyborn, and the entire Empirium Trilogy, is indeed the story of my heart! I first came up with the idea nearly fourteen years ago. I was eighteen years old and had just graduated from high school. While flying back from a family vacation, I was listening to Howard Shore’s score for Lord of the Rings: Return of the King and daydreaming. Suddenly my daydream showed me a young, beautiful woman–very powerful, but very sad, and surrounded by fire. She was about to make a choice that would change the world forever. I knew all of this within moments of first seeing her face.

After that initial vision, I started asking myself questions about this woman; What kind of power does she have? Why is she sad? Who loves her, and who hates her? Why is she surrounded by fire? Is she in the middle of a war? As I answered these questions, I began constructing the character of Rielle, and the rest of the story grew up around her.

MP: Working off the last question: This is a story that’s been part of your life for years. Can you talk about one thing that has stayed the same from the beginning? What is something that’s changed?

CL: The prologue of Furyborn has stayed virtually the same from the beginning, though originally it was told through two alternating POVs–Rielle and Garver Randell. Now the prologue is told entirely through the eyes of a different character, eight-year-old Simon. I still remember the day I sat down in the spare room of my mom’s house to begin writing the prologue, after years of daydreaming and brainstorming. I was so shaky and nervous, as though I were gearing up to confess my love to a serious crush.

One major thing that has changed from the original Furyborn draft is that the characters of Rielle, Audric, and Ludivine used to be children! My initial vision for the trilogy featured them as children in book one, and then teenagers in book two, after an eight-year time jump. While that was a fun experiment–and ended up being very helpful in terms of character development–it ultimately wasn’t the best structure for the story.

MP: The world of the Empirium trilogy is rich and filled with unique locations and its own mythology. Were aspects of this world inspired by real locations or mythos?

CL: Certain locations and languages were loosely inspired by real-world locations and languages. For example, Celdarian words are pseudo-French, and many Borsvall words are a blend of various Scandinavian languages. Having been raised Catholic, I also drew a lot of inspiration from the structure and iconography of the Catholic Church when constructing the elemental world religion featured throughout the trilogy.

MP: Furyborn follows Rielle as she comes into her powers and is forced to complete dangerous trials to prove herself to her kingdom and Eliana a mercenary living a thousand years later doing everything she can to survive and protect the people she cares about. One of them is destined to become a queen of light and salvation to save the world while the other will be a queen of blood and destruction, dooming her world. How did you go about balancing these two separate but connected plots? Your characters don’t have much choice in the matter but if you could choose, which queen would you be?

CL: By the time I started writing the current iteration of Furyborn, I’d spent a dozen years living in this world and getting to know the characters, so it actually wasn’t too difficult a challenge to balance the two storylines. I’d also written a few different drafts of the book, and each new draft helped me learn what worked and what didn’t work. When I sat down to write the current version, I’d so deeply internalized the rhythm of the alternating storylines that the draft unfolded relatively smoothly.

It’s interesting that you say Rielle and Eliana don’t have much choice in the matter, regarding which Queen they’ll be–the Sun Queen or the Blood Queen. A Queen of light or a Queen of darkness. One of the themes I explore in this trilogy is that there isn’t only light or only darkness in anyone. The choices facing my protagonists aren’t as black-and-white as the prophecy in Furyborn might suggest. That being said, I’m definitely a Sun Queen. Darkness makes me grumpy; I much prefer sunny days to cloudy ones. Plus, think of all the gold, glitter-spangled gowns one could wear as a Sun Queen. I can’t resist bling.

MP: While we’re talking about characters, did you have a favorite character to write in Furyborn? Is there any character you were particularly excited for readers to meet?

CL: I love writing all of my characters, but writing Rielle, Simon, and Corien has been (and continues to be) particularly entertaining. Rielle has been so fully, insistently herself since the moment I met her. She’s passionate and brash in ways I am not, so it’s exciting to step into her shoes and explore that. Simon is a man of many secrets, and is so deliciously snarky, which is always fun to write. And Corien is cruel and charismatic, full of contradictions. When he’s on the page, everything feels electric. I always feel wired after completing a Corien scene.

MP: Can you tell us anything about your next project? What can readers expect in book two?

CL: After Furyborn, my next book is Sawkill Girls, a queer feminist horror novel for young adult readers. It’s about three girls who live on the island of Sawkill Rock, where girls have been disappearing for decades. There may or may not be something terrible and hungry living on the island, and it may or may not be kept secret by people who may or may not be complicit in a supernatural plot. Sawkill is scary and sexy and weird, and I’m so excited to share it with readers. It releases October 2, 2018 from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins.

I just finished the first draft of Furyborn book two, and all I can say right now is this: brace yourselves. Book two is bigger, sexier, and scarier than book one. The story is expanding in ways that I think will be both unexpected and delightful to readers. I wish I could say more! But…not yet. I shall exercise restraint.

Thanks again to Claire for this fantastic interview.

You can see more about Claire and her books on her website.

You can also read my review of Furyborn here on the blog.

 

Furyborn: A Chick Lit Wednesday Review

“You’re just my kind of dangerous.”

cover art for Furyborn by Claire LegrandOnly two people are meant to have power over all seven kinds of elemental magic–a prophesied pair of queens. The Sun Queen will bring light and salvation. Her counterpart, the Blood Queen, will summon an age of ruin and destruction.

Rielle Dardenne should not be able to wield all of the elements. Her uncontrolled magic has already cost Rielle dearly. She isn’t eager to lose more. Terrified she may be marked as the Blood Queen, she hides her power from everyone.

When her best friend Audric, the crown prince, is attacked by assassins Rielle has no choice but to intervene. The kingdom believes Rielle to be one of the queens in the prophecy. But which one? To prove her loyalty and that she is the Sun Queen, Rielle agrees to demonstrate her control and her power by completing seven trials where failure will mean death.

One thousand years later, Queen Rielle is remembered as little more than a legend–a story from when magic and angels were thought to be real. Eliana Ferracora doesn’t have time for stories. Not when it takes all of her energy to keep herself and her family alive.

Eliana isn’t proud to be a collaborator with the invading forces of the Undying Empire. But she doesn’t have time for pride or regret or pity. Not when her work as a bounty hunter is the only thing keeping her mother and her brother Remy safe. Until her mother disappears.

To save her Eliana will have to form a tenuous alliance with a mysterious man called the Wolf and embark on a dangerous mission traveling across her country to distant shores and the center of a conspiracy closer to Eliana than she can imagine.

Two queens with the power to save their world or destroy it. Two young women pushed to desperate lengths for what they love. One war that has spanned millennia and demands that both Rielle and Eliana choose a side in Furyborn (2018) by Claire Legrand.

Furyborn is the dynamic start to Legrand’s Empirium trilogy. This high fantasy novel alternates chapters between Rielle and Eliana bringing both characters closer to dangerous realizations about their world and their own roles in it. Legrand expertly manages both story lines maintaining tension throughout even in the midst of a surfeit of fight scenes.

High action and lush writing create an evocative and sensuous setting with intricate world building. The dual narrative structure makes for a fascinating setup as readers are positioned with more knowledge than almost all of the characters except, perhaps, for Eliana’s perceptive younger brother Remy and my precious Simon.

Legrand’s characters are fully realized, complex, and often flawed. Rielle’s calculated self-preservation and Eliana’s ruthless protection of her family prove that there are no easy choices for these characters who exist in a world where good and evil often walk hand in hand.

Furyborn is a taut, dramatic story filled with action, adventure, and some hints of romance. This masterful series starter is utterly engrossing and sure to leave readers eager for the installment. Highly recommended.

Possible Pairings: Frostblood by Elly Blake, The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Reign the Earth by A. C. Gaughen, Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi, Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch, Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Be sure to check back tomorrow to read my exclusive interview with Claire about Furyborn too!