Lightbringer (The Empirium Trilogy #3) by Claire Legrand

Fantasy, 592 pages, published in 2020

The conclusion of the story of the Sun Queen and the Blood Queen.

Spoiler Free Review:

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Content Warnings: coercion/drugging, psychological torture, suicidal thoughts/attempts, violence

Ah, where to even start with this book? I enjoyed the first two books in this series because they were exactly what I like about older-leaning YA fantasy: fun, sexy, dramatic, while still having tons of fantastical elements. This finale…didn’t really have those elements.

The plot of this book was extremely slow going. The first half (at least) was what felt like the same chapters over and over. The characters are going through some stuff, so I think it was done to show how dire their situations are, but it was just a slog.

One major gripe I have is about the POVs. In the first book, chapters are only from either Eliana or Rielle’s POVs because they are the main character. In the second book, other POVs were introduced and there were even more in this book. Normally, that is fine, but the side characters with the POVs ended being pretty much irrelevant to the plot. There are quite a few characters in this series and only a small handful ended up being relevant.

I never really understood why Rielle did the things she did. As this book went along, it was harder and harder to care about her because she was making bad decisions for what felt like no reason. The villain also felt a little flat, like he was just being evil for evil’s sake. There is a loose reason, but again, I don’t feel like it was believable. He does a lot of stuff in this book that is absolutely terrible, so it just felt a little too much like torture porn to me.

I feel like this whole world is built up and there’s lots of lore and layers and things to be explore, but it just felt a little wasted on this story.

I thought the ending made sense with the story, but there was an element to it that was just so unsatisfying. I can’t say too much without spoilers, but I feel very lukewarm about it.

I’m not sure if this book was particularly bad, or if it was me that changed. I started this series in 2018 and my reading taste has definitely evolved since then, but there were still elements of this book I would have found frustrating no matter what.

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