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Literature / The Empirium Trilogy

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Sometimes being the Chosen One isn't all it's cracked up to be...
"The prophecy, this talk of a Sun Queen and a Blood Queen... it is folly. Humans aren’t all goodness or all badness, and reducing Rielle to this choice— presenting her with two impossible and inhuman extremes— is a terrible cruelty, and it will be our undoing."

In a world where people can control only one element, Rielle Dardenne can control all seven. There are just two people who are said to possess such power: a Queen of light and renewal and a Queen of death and destruction. A prophecy foretells of their arrival but it does not specify which Queen will appear first. For all her father knows, Rielle could be either.

In an effort to keep her safe from such scrutiny, he forces Rielle to keep her powers hidden, only letting the most trusted individuals know. This works for eighteen years until Rielle sneaks herself into the annual horse race. During the race, a group of assassins ambushes Prince Audric, her close friend and crush. Without hesitation, she reveals her multielemental status, managing to save him but killing over a dozen innocent racers in the process.


Questioning her intentions and control, the King gives Rielle an ultimatum: she must face seven trials that will test her powers and morality. If she passes all of the trials, she will be deemed the Sun Queen, savior of the land. If she fails, she will be executed- if she can even survive the trials first.

Over 1,000 years in the future lives a young women named Eliana Ferracora. She keeps a powerful secret: she is nigh invulnerable. Cuts and bruises heal quickly and even falling off a roof leaves not a scratch. This mysterious power is an asset given that she is a bounty hunter for the Undying Empire, a ruthless dictatorship that invaded her kingdom and many others.

When women and girls start to mysteriously vanish, Eliana suspects that the rebel group known as Red Crown is behind it all. After her own mother disappears, she crosses paths with the Wolf: a masked killer and right hand man to the Prophet, the mysterious leader of Red Crown. The Wolf makes a deal with her: if she joins him, he will help her find her mother. Knowing that this might be her only chance, Eliana accepts. Her missions with the Wolf slowly reveal a darker truth about the Empire and its leader, ones that will make Eliana question what she is fighting for as well as her own identity.


In a story that spans centuries, Rielle and Eliana's fight against the perils that threaten them begin to intersect. It is these connections that will ultimately determine the fate of their lives and their world.

The Empirium Trilogy is a series of young adult high fantasy novels written by Claire Legrand. The series consists of:

  • Furyborn (2018)
  • Kingsbane (2019)
  • Lightbringer (2020)
  • Queen of the Blazing Throne (ebook, 2020): A novella starring Kirvaya's child-queen; was given a very limited release

This series provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: Rielle's father, Armand, was once a good parent before his wife's (unintentional) death at the hands of Rielle. After this event, he began to treat Rielle incredibly coldly either by ignoring her or not showing her any affection. Growing up, Rielle was constantly reminded by him that she's a "murderer" and dangerous, as well as bringing her to the lower parts of the castle and forcibly drugging her whenever a storm comes through. Rielle believes that he would keep her locked in a room for the rest of her life if he could get away with it.
  • Accidental Time Travel: Simon uses his marque magic to create a portal to Borsvall, hoping to hide the newborn princess among the Borsvall people. Rielle's final act of magic ends up changing his spell from jumping space to jumping time, which thrusts both him and the newborn 1,000 years into the future.
  • Aerith and Bob: Most characters have fantastical names, such as Ludivine, Obritsa, Harkan and Corien. There are also characters who sport names like Simon and Remy.
  • All Your Powers Combined: While the average elemental has access to only one element, the Queens of Prophecy have power over all seven. The Sun Queen is a heroic version whereas the Blood Queen is a villainous variant.
  • Alternate Timeline:
    • In Kingsbane, Eliana's brief trip to the Second Age altered the pasts of various characters and events of future-Ventera and not for the better.
    • In Lightbringer, after successfully convincing Rielle to destroy Corien, future-Eliana and Remy disappear. The end of the book shows a new timeline in which Audric and his daughter are living happily in a slowly recuperating Celdaria.
  • Alternative Calendar: The timeline is split between three eras: the First Age, the Second Age, and the Third Age. Month names, number of days, etc. are the same as real life.
  • Ambiguous Situation: When Rielle defeats Corien, future-Eliana and Remy disappear since their timeline no longer came to pass. The epilogue only focuses on the aftermath of the battle with Corien, leaving it unclear what the fate of Navi, Harkan, and all the other Third Age characters are.
  • Amplifier Artifact: Eliana forges a casting in the hopes that it'll help her tap into the empirium more easily. It doesn't work that well at first, but as she slowly accepts her abilities, she obtains more control over them.
  • Anachronic Order: Each book begins with a prologue that shows what happened to Simon after being separated from the newborn Eliana. The first book in particular starts with Rielle's last moments before jumping back two years. The rest of Rielle's story shows what she was like before she became the Blood Queen and how that happened. There is a 1,020 year time difference between Rielle and Eliana's plotlines, with each chapter alternating between these two eras.
  • Ancient Order of Protectors: The Obex are a longstanding organization that protects, maintains, and studies the Gate. They aren't loyal to any particular kingdom or country, just the Saint's legacy.
  • And I Must Scream: Upon entering the Deep, the angels were stripped of their bodies. All of their senses became muted and many of them became far weaker than they were before. Possessing a body doesn't help; no matter how much they eat or drink or how much sex they have, they can never get complete fulfillment or satisfaction from these activities.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Starting with Kingsbane, other characters get chapters where they're front and center. This includes Corien, Simon, Navi, Ludivine, Jessamyn, Harkan, Audric, and Taliesin.
  • Another Dimension: Multiple worlds exist beyond the Deep. One in particular- Hosterah- was where the cruciata came from. Eliana glimpses a couple others during her trips into the Deep with the Prophet.
  • Anti-Human Alliance: Angels hate humans due to them claiming land that, they feel, was rightfully theirs. They banded together in order to kill them off, starting the Angelic Wars. During Rielle's time, their anger shifted to hating humans because their Saints tricked them into an endless void that stripped them of their physicality.
  • Anyone Can Die: By the end of the series, several named characters are dead and the fate of many, many others is left ambiguous.
  • Apocalypse How: The Undying Emperor hopes to bring about a Class 3a apocalypse, specifically wiping out all of humanity and restoring the angels to their former glory. It's later suggested that not even other worlds are safe from him.
  • Apocalypse Maiden: The Blood Queen was able to break the Gate, bringing the angels back and effectively restarting the Angelic Wars. She was also responsible for ending the age of elementals as her last powerful act of magic stifled any connection to the empirium elementals once had.
  • Arranged Marriage: The Courverie's and Sauvillier's have planned to marry Audric to Ludivine; the two of them are already engaged at the start of the series. Audric and Ludivine have known each other since childhood and are close friends (and cousins), but neither of them are particularly eager to get married: Audric is in love with Rielle and Ludivine doesn't want to come between them. The arrangement eventually breaks down and Audric ends up marrying Rielle.
  • Barrier Maiden: It's said that the Sun Queen will be the one to save the world from the Blood Queen's reign. While Eliana doesn't see herself as a Sun Queen, she does wind up being the one to save Avitas by encouraging Rielle to destroy Corien for good.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The series ends with Eliana convincing Rielle to permanently finish off Corien. She ends up killing Ludivine in the process and future-Eliana and Remy disappear since their timeline no longer came to pass. Rielle still dies in a flash of light, but she manages to leave behind a letter to her daughter that assures her that she loves her. And with humanities biggest threat gone, the world is a little safer (at least for now).
  • Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress: In Kingsbane, Rielle's golden wedding dress becomes drenched in blood during her escape from Âme de la Terre.
  • Blow You Away: Windsingers are people who can manipulate air.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: Instead of helping Eliana and the rest of Red Crown escape, Simon is actually bringing her to an Empire ship. Most of Red Crown is slaughtered in the ambush and Eliana and Remy are taken as prisoners.
  • Body Horror:
    • During the Third Age, crawlers are creatures who were originally human but were so experimented upon that they became ferocious monsters. All of them still retain some human-like features. During the Second Age, they were ice dragons that were also experimented upon so they could use magic.
    • After coming across a severely wounded villager, Rielle tries to heal his burns. Not only does it not work, the flesh she tries to regrow ends up enveloping her hands. By the time Audric snaps her out of her trance, that villager is just a large puddle of blood and guts.
  • Bounty Hunter: Rozen used to be a bounty hunter for the Undying Empire until an injury forced her to retire. Eliana continued Rozen's work in order to support her family and keep them safe. Harkan became one because he didn't want Eliana to work on her own.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Queen Rielle's last blast of magic suppresses everyone's tie to the empirium, rendering each elemental powerless. In Eliana's time, the era of elementals is less fact than myth. In the new timeline, Rielle does this intentionally, only letting three people keep their powers. Before she dies, Rielle implies that this new status quo won't be permanent.
  • Casting a Shadow: Shadowcasters are people who can manipulate shadows.
  • Character Title: Each chapter is named after the featured point-of-view character. The main books are titled after the nicknames of the last of House Courverie: Eliana the Furyborn Child, Rielle the Kingsbane, and Audric the Lightbringer.
  • Cliffhanger: Kingsbane ends with the evacuation failing, many members of Red Crown being killed, and Simon revealing himself to be an agent for the Empire. Eliana and Remy are at his mercy and all three are on their way to the Emperor.
  • Complete Immortality: It's impossible for an angel to die of old age, disease, wounds, etc. The only way to successfully kill one is by severing their connection to the empirium.
  • Constructed World: The world of Avitas has very different geography from our own.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Corien offers himself as a devout worshiper of Rielle, positioning himself as the one being who won't look at her in horror, unlike her fellow humans. Rielle ultimately finds the temptation of using her incredible powers as she wishes too appealing to deny. This, in addition to being called a monster by Audric, is what pushes Rielle into joining Corien.
  • Cult: Fidelia is a group of angel worshipers who aid the Undying Empire in their various experiments. They're ultimately the ones behind the abduction of countless of women and girls.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: In Furyborn, Rielle wakes up in the middle of a session while dreaming about Corien. She has another date while fantasizing about Audric and Ludivine in Kingsbane.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Queen of the Blazing Throne focuses on Obritsa, a somewhat minor character from the main series. The novella fleshes out Obritsa's backstory and motives as well as showing some events from Kingsbane through her perspective.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: The angel that took over Ludivine's body has been impersonating her for three years. Not only did she do so well enough to fool Rielle and Audric, but also Ludivine's immediate relatives.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Both Eliana and Rielle end up holding their remaining parent in their final moments.
  • Disappeared Dad: Eliana and Remy's father, Ioseph, went to war one day and never returned. It's assumed that he died in battle.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Earthshakers are people who can manipulate the earth.
  • Disney Death: Remy gets shot during the fight with the cruciata, resulting in his death. Soon afterword, Eliana manages to bring him back with Simon's assistance.
  • Dying as Yourself: Rozen manages to regain enough of her humanity in her final moments to ask Eliana to kill her.
  • Elemental Powers: There are seven elements available to elementals: sun, air, fire, water, shadow, metal and earth. Excluding the Sun and Blood Queen, each elemental can only use and eventually master one element.
  • Encyclopedia Exposita: Some of the quotes at the beginning of each chapter are taken from an In-Universe historical or academic book. These excerpts are used as a way to expand upon the world of Avitas in further detail without disrupting the overall pacing.
  • End of an Age: The end of the Angelic Wars ushered in the Second Age and the fall of elementals is what ushers in the Third Age. Even before Rielle's last spell nullifies all elemental magic, it's stated that magic in general has been on the decline.
  • Epigraph: Each chapter of each novel starts off with a quote of some kind. The quotes usually tie into the content of the chapter in some way, be it obvious or subtle; for example, the chapter that details Rielle's water trial starts off with the Water Rite.
  • Extra-ore-dinary: Metalmasters are people who can manipulate metal.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Rielle's story details her turn from a heroic icon for her country into the ally the angels have been waiting centuries for.
  • Fantastic Racism: There is equal animosity between humans and angels. Angels hate humans because they keep taking land they lived on first. Humans hate angels because the angels keep hunting them down. Both species despise marques because of their half-breed nature and their powers over space and time.
  • Fantasy Pantheon: The seven Saints were humans that were each exceptionally gifted in a particular magic. They created the Gate and were the ones that helped end the Angelic Wars. In Rielle's time, temples dedicated to each Saint exist as well as prayers related to that particular saint's magic. There are also many references to God, but it's unclear if this God is the same or similar to the Christian God/Jesus Christ.
  • Feminist Fantasy: The series features two female leads that drive their own stories.
  • Fictional Document: There are multiple chapters that start off with excerpts from in-universe texts, letters, and other such documents. They're used to give the audience a glimpse into what's going on in the background or flesh out the world of Avitas.
  • Foil: Ludivine is a foil to Corien. They both used to be angels who were forced into the Deep by the Saints. Both use their angelic powers in order to achieve their goals, and they both become leaders of powerful organizations. That's where the similarities end: unlike Corien, who hates humans and can't forgive them for what the Saints did, Ludivine has nothing but love and understanding for humans. As such, she's naturally on the opposing side, and tries to help out where she can, both with Rielle as herself and Eliana as the Prophet.
  • Foregone Conclusion: There's no attempts made to hide which of the prophesied Queens Rielle and Eliana are. The main questions then become "What events lead to Rielle becoming the Blood Queen?" and "Will Eliana be able to defeat the Undying Emperor?". Additionally, since Eliana refers to Audric as Rielle's husband and that Eliana herself is their daughter, the sexual tension between Audric and Rielle will culminate in their marriage and their making a child.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • There are several hints behind the Prophet's true identity hidden throughout the series before the ultimate reveal. One of the earliest is the voice that urges Simon to make a portal. It's described as sounding feminine and familiar to him. Since Simon has already met Ludivine, it's little wonder that he can recognize it.
    • When Zahra first feels Simon's presence, she remarks that his mind is so scarred that not even she can read it. This is because his mind was broken years ago by Ludivine in order to make it more difficult for Corien to read.
  • From Bad to Worse: For both Rielle and Eliana in Kingsbane. Rielle starts out the book with many dissenters who accuse her of being the Blood Queen and finishes the book mindlessly killing bodyguards on her way to join Corien. In Eliana's case, the mission to travel back in time to stop Rielle wasn't as easy as Simon had thought and the consequences of her time in Old Celdaria changed several people and past events for the worse. Then Simon reveals that he's been working for the Undying Empire this whole time and her once thought-to-be deceased father turns out to be the Emperor's Admiral.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Though it's more title than literal, the Blood Queen is an Apocalypse Maiden who's appearance will ultimately destroy the world.
  • Good Parents: Rielle's parents were loving and kind before her mother's death. Eliana's parents also cared for her deeply and did what they could to keep her and Remy safe.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: In order to restore the Gate, Rielle is tasked with finding all seven of the Saint's castings. It's possible that the castings remember how the Gate was made, which will make repairing it more successful. Rielle manages to get three castings before her situation gets infinitely worse.
  • Great Offscreen War: The Angelic Wars were a series of ongoing battles between humans and angels. Since these battles happened centuries ago, we hear a lot about them, but never see them.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: Marques were hunted down by both angels and humans, not just because of their half-breed status, but also because each marque possesses the unique power to cross time and space.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Marques are beings that are half-human and half-angel. They're born with wings, but because of the prosecution against them, their wings are usually cut off.
  • Here There Were Dragons: Godsbeasts were powerful, ancient creatures who were more in-tune to the empirium than most elementals. In Eliana's time, it's believed that they became extent or were never even real in the first place.
  • Heroic Second Wind:
    • In Furyborn, Eliana gets one during the fight with the Empire's crawlers. Exhausted, hungry, and distraught, she starts a raging storm without even realizing that that's what she's doing. The storm takes down most of Empire's fleet and it confirms to Simon that she's the Sun Queen that he's been searching for.
    • In Kingsbane, when it becomes apparent that her newly unleashed powers won't come to her willingly, Eliana believes that this trope is the only way she'll be able to use them in an upcoming mission. She tries to invoke this by deliberately depriving herself of food, foregoing sleep, and just generally not taking care of herself. It works, though in a very destructive way. She no longer feels the need to invoke this trope once she grows more used to her powers and how they work.
  • High Fantasy: The series takes place in Avitas, a world governed by a magical structure and the various magical beings that live there. Angels were the first sapient, bipedal species to appear. When humans started to arrive on the scene, hostilities emerged, eventually culminating in a giant war. The hostilities felt between these two species permeate even into Eliana's time. Both Rielle and Eliana are tasked with saving their world lest Corien take it over and wipe out humanity.
  • His Name Is...: During one of his mind-speak conversations with Rielle, Corien is about to reveal the name of the angel that took over Ludivine's body. Rielle cuts him off, saying that that information isn't his to tell.
  • Horseback Heroism: During the annual horse race, Rielle sees a horseless Audric about to be attacked by assassins from an enemy country. Without a second thought, she rides to where he is and uses her powers to stop their assault.
  • How We Got Here: The prologue shows Rielle giving birth to Eliana and facing down Corien, an encounter that leads to Eliana and Simon being thrust into the future and the empirium being smothered. The narrative then jumps back two years ago to a time before Rielle's powers were even widely known; the rest of her story details how she got to the state she was in during the prologue.
  • I Am a Monster: Eliana sees herself as a heartless monster due to her work as a bounty hunter for the very Empire that took over her home kingdom. This view of herself gets worse after unleashing her powers in catastrophic ways and finding out that her birth mother was the Blood Queen herself. After some soul searching, she does come to terms with her powers and her heritage. As such, her self-image improves.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: Ludivine suggests partaking in some celebratory drinks after Rielle successfully completes the first trial. Much later on, Rielle damages the Gate even more and the Obex give Rielle the task of finding the Saint's castings on her own. Ingrid offers up a round of drinks to which Ludivine holds up her hand.
  • Immortality Begins at Twenty: The completely immortal angels all look like they're in their early twenties.
  • Impartial Purpose-Driven Faction: The Obex aren't associated with any particular country or ruler. Their main goal and purpose is to protect and study the Gate.
  • Inciting Incident: Rielle fighting off Audric's assassins is what makes her reveal her powers, kicking off her storyline. Rozen's disappearance is what gets Eliana to team up with the Wolf, which starts hers.
  • In Mysterious Ways: Taliesin says the empirium "works in mysterious ways" as a way to dismiss Rielle's concerns that the prophesied Queen's are going to appear soon.
  • Instant Fan Club: Soon after Ludivine's dramatic entrance during Rielle's anointing, a group calling themselves the House of the Second Sun formed. They're obsessed with Rielle and how she (apparently) brought Ludivine back from the dead. Group activities include reenactments of Ludivine's death, resurrection, and reappearance.
  • Interquel: The events of Queen of the Blazing Throne run concurrent with what happens in Kingsbane. Some scenes from the later book are even shown through Obritsa's perspective.
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Rielle and Audric are about to go all the way when Ludivine's father walks in on them.
  • Interspecies Romance: Saint Katell was in love with the angel Aryava. It's that same love that helped bring an end to the Angelic Wars.
  • Kill All Humans: Angels see all humans as an invasive species that's trying to take over their homeland. They attempted to wipe humanity out as a result of this.
  • Last of His Kind: Eliana is the last member of House Courverie, and both she and Simon are the last of the original Celdarians.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Corien the Undying Emperor has spent a lot of time thinking about Rielle and his love for her that he can't focus on much else. By the time he has Eliana in his clutches, the need to see his long lost love again trumps even his desire for resurrection.
  • Love-Obstructing Parents: Rielle's father and both Ludivine's and Audric's parents don't approve of Rielle and Audric becoming a couple. In Ludivine and Audric's case it's because their parents want to join their families in marriage. In Rielle's case, it's because her father doesn't want her to overshadow Audric's talent or accidentally kill him.
  • The Magic Comes Back: Rielle implies during her explanations to Evyline that this might happen at some point in the future which is why she'll let her daughter and a couple others keep their powers.
  • The Magic Goes Away: Unable to withstand the constant pain of keeping her body together, Rielle's last act of magic ends up suppressing everyone's contact with the empirium, turning elementals back to powerless humans. In the new timeline, Rielle does this deliberately, only letting three people keep their connection to the empirium.
  • Making a Splash: Waterworkers are people who can manipulate water.
  • Matricide: Part of Rielle's backstory includes her unwittingly killing her mother. After Rozen becomes a literal monster, Eliana kills her to put her out of her misery.
  • Mercy Kill: When one of the crawlers attacking her turns out to be Rozen, Eliana kills her, knowing that it's too late to save her.
  • Mind Control: An angel can easily take control over anyone weaker than it, even after becoming a wraith. The only beings that they can't control are the cruciata, due to their wildly different minds.
  • Mind Rape: Angels can easily take over a human's mind and damage it beyond repair. Simon experienced this at the hands of both Ludivine and Corien, each for different reasons.
  • Missing Mom: Rielle's mother died when Rielle was five.
  • Mission Creep: At the start of Furyborn, Eliana's main mission is to rescue her mother. By the end, it's to find and kill the Emperor.
  • Mysterious Backer: The leader of Red Crown is known only as the Prophet; everything else about them is a mystery.
  • Named Weapons: Several characters give their weapons names. Audric's casting is named Illumenor and Eliana has Arabeth and Whistler among others.
  • The Namesake: The series is named after the empirium, the Sentient Cosmic Force that the world of Avitas is made out of.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: In Kingsbane...
    • Rielle tries to repair the fissures in the Gate on her own. Her efforts end with it being more cracked than before.
    • Eliana goes back in time in an attempt to convince Rielle to reject Corien's offer of allyship. Not only does Eliana fail, her presence in Old Celdaria changed things for the worse in future-Ventera.
    • After being shown what actually happened to his father, Audric confronts Rielle about her lies. Their argument ends with Audric saying that she probably is the Blood Queen that everyone thinks she is. This turns out to be the tipping point for Rielle, who flees Baingarde to find Corien.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted twice. The first chapter opens with Rielle lamenting the fact that Sun Queen status doesn't lessen her menstrual cramps. Later on, Eliana starts hers and experiences the cramps that come with it for the first time.
  • Not Growing Up Sucks: When Ludivine reveals herself to be an angel, it's noted that her perpetual existence as a teenager is an awful thing, and one that will get harder and harder to explain as the years go by.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Corien wants to bring back the angels. To do that, he needs human bodies in order to house each angel and, while that's going on, he wants to subdue or kill the rest. He gets plenty of support from the other angels, though Rielle, of course, needs a lot more convincing.
  • Older Than They Look: All the angels are centuries old (or even older) and none of them look a day over twenty.
  • Our Angels Are Different: In this world, angels are winged humanoid beings with various mental related powers that are separate from the main seven. They existed before humans and are impossible to kill through ordinary means.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Wraiths are angels that were stripped of a physical body. They still retain the powers they had as an angel, though they're far weaker.
  • Patricide: In an effort to harm Corien, Rielle lets loose her powers and winds up killing her father in the process.
  • Playing with Fire: Firebrands are people who can manipulate fire.
  • Plot Parallel: Much of Rielle and Eliana's plots parallel each other, from the broader strokes (becoming one of the two prophesied Queens) to some minor details (such as each of them having a wraith ally).
  • The Prophecy: The last angel to enter the Deep uttered a prophecy stating the rise of a pair of powerful Queens. In Rielle's time, this prophecy has been subject to much dissection and interpretation. In Eliana's time, most people ignore it as mere wishful thinking.
    "The Gate will fall. The angels will return and bring ruin to the world. You will know this time by the rise of two human Queens- one of blood, and one of light. One with the power to save the world. One with the power to destroy it. Two Queens will rise. They will carry the power of the Seven. They will carry your fate in their hands. Two Queens will rise."
  • Power Crutch: Each human has to craft a casting through which they can channel their abilities. Even the Saints, as strong as they were, needed one. The fact that Rielle doesn't need one is another mark of how powerful she is. Theoretically, Eliana doesn't need one either, but since her connection to the empirium is much weaker, she makes a casting anyway in order to help better tap into and control her powers.
  • The Power of the Sun: Sunspinners are people who can manipulate sunlight.
  • Promotion to Parent: Since Eliana and Remy's father has been missing for years, Eliana becomes Remy's sole caretaker after their mother is killed.
  • Rape, Pillage, and Burn: When Eliana is airing her grievances against Astavar to Navi, she mentions that the Empire's soldiers raped Ventera's civilians, killed the royal family, then burned down agricultural lands and libraries.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Angels can live for hundreds of thousands of years and not look a day over thirty. This holds true for any human body they possess.
  • Refusal of the Call: While she wants to take down the Empire, Eliana isn't exactly keen about the whole "Sun Queen" deal. She initially refuses to learn how to use her now unleashed powers and she hates being venerated. She does eventually come to terms with her situation but still dislikes being being referred to as the Sun Queen.
  • Religion of Evil: Fidelia is a cult that worships the return of angels. Because of this, they willingly aid the Undying Emperor in his various experiments and conquests.
  • The Reveal:
    • In Furyborn, Ludivine appears to die only to arrive at Rielle's crowning completely intact. She later explains that the real Ludivine died of a fever three years ago and she's actually an angel that has been watching over Rielle since birth. Said angel managed to escape the Deep due to cracks in the slowly weakening Gate.
    • In Kingsbane, Simon reveals himself to be a double agent for the Empire. Eliana's adoptive father was taken over by an angel. With the help of Aryava, the Saints tricked the angels into going into the Deep.
    • In Lightbringer, the Prophet turns out to be Ludivine. She's been orchestrating everything behind the scenes, including Simon's betrayal.
  • La Résistance: Red Crown is a rebel group whose main goal is fighting back and eventually taking down the Undying Empire. It originally started as push back against Merovec for taking the throne while Audric was still alive.
  • Rule of Seven: There are seven Saints, each one representing one of the seven available elements.
  • Save This Person, Save the World: Since Eliana is the one person with the power to defeat the Undying Emperor, Simon does everything in his power to keep her alive, if not safe, and assist her as best as he can.
  • Screaming Birth: Furyborn opens with Rielle screaming while giving birth to Eliana.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The Gate is a giant, powerful barrier that keeps the angels in the Deep and away from Avitas. On a smaller scale are blightblades, arrows that absorb wraiths. Wraiths are trapped inside until the blightblade is broken.
  • Sentient Cosmic Force: The empirium is a magical force that everything is made out of. The ability to tap into it is what gives humans their powers. As one of the Queens of Prophecy, Rielle can hear and even request help from the empirium.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: Using Simon's ability to travel back in time, Eliana attempts to talk to Rielle in an effort to stop her from joining Corien. Thinking her appearance is a trick by Corien, Rielle attacks Eliana in short order, forcing Eliana to retreat back to her own era.
  • Shipper on Deck: Ludivine has been secretly hoping for Rielle and Audric to get together, as it's quite obvious the two are head over heels for one another.
  • Society of Immortals: Angels are a race of immortals who existed long before humans did.
  • Space Master: Marques can basically teleport by creating a portal and stepping through it.
  • Special Person, Normal Name: Simon is one of the most important characters in the series and he has the most normal name out of all the others.
  • Species Loyalty: Both humans and angels look down on those that sympathize with the other, to the point that marques are their only mutual enemy.
  • Telepathy: Every angel has the ability to read and communicate through the mind of both other angels and humans.
  • Time Master: Marques can travel through time by creating a portal and stepping through it.
  • Time Travel: All marques can use their powers to travel through time. Simon suggests this as a potential solution to Eliana: travel back to Old Celdaria and talk Rielle out of joining Corien.
  • Trauma Conga Line: Rielle killed her mother without realizing it, which turned her father against her. Said father drugs her and forces her into confinement whenever a storm starts. She's subjected to physically and mentally draining tasks. She ends up killing not just her own father, but her love and best friend's fathers, one of whom was the King of Celderia. Then, she learns one of her best friends is actually an angel, humanity's worst foe.
  • Trial by Ordeal: In order to determine whether Rielle is the Blood or Sun Queen, King Bastien has Rielle undergo seven trials, one for each element. If she can control her powers and prove her virtuousness, then she will be declared the Sun Queen. If not, then she'll either die in one of the trials or be executed. She gets through four of them successfully until chaos erupts during the fire trial.
  • Two Girls and a Guy: Rielle, Ludivine and Audric. Rielle is the headstrong, determined heroine and Ludivine is her more gentle but still snarky best friend. They both have known each other and Audric, the nerdy prince, since childhood. Rielle developed feelings for Audric, which he reciprocates, but since Audric's already engaged to Ludivine, they don't really act on their feelings (at least, not at first).
  • Two-Part Trilogy: Averted. The series was always intended to be three parts, with each subsequent book adding on to the previous one.
  • The Unreveal: The reader never learns what Ludivine's angelic name was. The other angelic characters get named, even the very minor ones, but not her. Corien even tries to say it at one point but gets cut off by Rielle before he can.
  • Unstable Powered Woman: As Rielle becomes more and more connected to the empirium, her mental state deteriorates.
  • Unwanted Rescue: After Genoveve tumbles off a balcony and dies, Rielle manages to bring the Queen back to life. Genoveve weeps upon being revived, wishing she had been left for dead so she could see her recently deceased husband again.
  • Void Between the Worlds: The Deep is an empty pocket of nothing that exists between the world of Avitas and other dimensions. Only the truly powerful can enter it and keep their physicality, something even the angels couldn't achieve.
  • Was Once a Man: The Third Age crawlers were once women who had been experimented upon by Fidelia in order to create monstrous soldiers.
  • Weapon of Choice: Each element comes with its own type of weapon, though alternative castings can be made. Non-magical characters who partake in battle also have their own preferences regarding weaponry.
    • Windsingers have arrows as their casting.
    • Sunspinners have swords as their casting.
    • Firebrands have shields.
    • Shadowcaster have daggers. Eliana the bounty hunter also prefers knives and daggers.
    • Waterworkers have tridents.
    • Metalmasters have hammers.
    • Earthshakers use a staff.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: In the Prophet's mind, the deaths of thousands of people pale in comparison to bringing an end the Undying Empire.
  • Wham Line: In Kingsbane, during the ambush at the Jubilee, Eliana notices Simon standing on the beach when she notices something... off:
    "He had retrieved his gun and was shouting something at the angels still on the shore. Not in Venteran, nor in the common tongue, but in one of the angelic languages. [...] Lissar. He was speaking Lissar. And the angels on the shore were listening to him."
  • Wild Child: Simon turns into a feral child after spending a year on the desolate mountain he was transported to. He quickly learns how to kill and skin animals in order to feed himself.
  • Worst Wedding Ever: Soon after his coronation, Audric marries Rielle. Everything seems to be going perfectly, and Rielle can't imagine being any happier. Then Corien takes over Ludivine's mind and reveals to the whole assembly exactly what happened to King Bastien. The wedding quickly devolves into chaos, coming to a head when Audric takes Rielle aside to question her about the lies she's told.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Corien will use every resource at his disposable, up to and including children.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: The main reason Corien is stealing elemental children to use them as soldiers is specifically to weaponize this ideology: he knows that many people would balk at killing a child which gives his army an advantage on the battlefield.
  • You Can't Fight Fate:
    • Rielle desperately tries to convince everyone- herself included- that she's the Sun Queen. She eventually realizes that there's no point trying to fight who she is anymore and fully embraces being the Blood Queen.
    • Eliana doesn't want to be the long awaited Sun Queen and all that that entails. However, she does want to end the Undying Empire for good and if embracing her powers is the only way to do it, then she will.
  • You Monster!: Remy says this to Eliana upon finding out that she killed Rozen.

Alternative Title(s): Empirium


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