Oh man y’all, I’m so sad. I went in to my Lightbringer read with such high hopes because I freaking LOVED Furyborn. It was such a great book and there was so much promise there for the rest of the trilogy to be incredible and for it to become one of my favorites, but Kingsbane dashed those hopes. BUT lots of trilogies suffer from second book syndrome, so I thought maybe, just maybe Lightbringer would be able to bring back everything I loved about Furyborn, but unfortunately, after finishing it last night, I have to say that I just think that this whole trilogy is not for me. *Caveat here! I saw so many people on Goodreads raving about Lightbringer, so if you haven’t read it yet, don’t take my opinions as your own- go ahead and read it! You may love it and think I’m a complete idiot, which is totally fine*
Reason number 1: The Length I love long books. I read all SJM’s books and I loved all of them and the length didn’t bother me at all for any of them, so when I say the length is one of the reasons I didn’t like Lightbringer, it’s not because it was a long book, but it’s because it was a long book that didn’t have to be as long as it was. There was so much… fluff in the middle that didn’t have to be there! We get it, Corien was torturing Eliana to get her to try and break so Simon could take him back to Rielle so he could be with his one true love again- we don’t need like 150 pages of it! We get it, Rielle is all powerful and the empirium is taking her over so she’s killing people she used to love and she doesn’t seem to care- still don’t need like 100 pages of it. We don’t need all the pages of Audric freaking out or Corien going crazy- maybe if this book was half as long (so like 300 pages instead of 600), I might have liked it better because it wouldn’t have felt like it was dragging as much.
Reason number 2: Allll of the POVs So in my mind, this was supposed to be Rielle and Eliana’s book, so it would make sense for us to have their POVs. If we really needed to understand more of what was going on, maybe give us Audric and Corien’s POV too, but we got also got Tal’s POV, Navi’s POV, Simon’s POV, Jessamyn’s POV, and Ludivine’s POV. Don’t get me wrong, I love Navi, so her POV was my fave, but I still think it was unnecessary.
Reason number 3: Rielle I get it, she’s the big, bad, intense emperium wielder. I get that she has access to all of this power and it’s eating her up from the inside and she feels like Corien is the only one who doesn’t see her as a monster, but man, she just was so flip floppy. Sometimes she loved Corien, sometimes she hated him. Sometimes she loved her power, sometimes she hated it. I understand that characters need complexity and dualities, but I felt like she wasn’t the most understandable for a good amount of the book and I know we’re not really supposed to sympathize with her since she’s supposed to be the blood queen, but you should feel some sort of sympathy for even the villains, and I didn’t for her until near the end.
Reason number 4: The Ending Wooooowwww that ending- I feel like the whole last battle was so rushed and then once the good guys won (because of course they were going to win), the way Rielle and Audric handled the aftermath and ruling the kingdom didn’t seem like the best solution. It seemed like Audric loved Rielle still, but it was more Eliana and the idea of Rielle that he loved and Rielle loved him, but she was also floating through life until she gave birth to Eliana and then it was a countdown until the emperium took over. AND THEN what is this nonsense set up for a possibility of new things with (🚨 MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT 🚨) Rielle taking away all of the emperium from everyone but Godsbeasts, Wraiths, and Eliana until Eliana needs it because she “senses” that there will be trouble in Eliana’s lifetime that she will have to lead the land out of? That’s ridiculous and sure it’s a great set up for people who love this world and want more from it, but what’s going to happen next? More angels? Maybe beasts? What new magic is going to come out of the gate now?
Although I did not really enjoy Lightbringer, I am glad I read it and I am glad I finished the Emperium Trilogy. I’d be interested to see if Claire Legrand does come out with a spinoff series (and let’s be real, knowing me, I would end up reading it, just to see if it follows the same pattern of me loving the first book and then not liking the second and third books as much). Did y’all read Lightbringer? What did you think of it?