Sunday, July 10, 2011
Legacy by Cayla Kluver
Source: Publisher provided galley from NetGalley
In her seventeenth year, Princess Alera of Hytanica faces one duty: to marry the man who will be king. But her father's choice of suitor fills her with despair.
When the palace guard captures and intruder—a boy her age with steel-blue eyes, hailing from her kingdom's greatest enemy—Alera is alarmed…and intrigued. But she could not have guessed that their clandestine meetings would unveil the dark legacy shadowing both their lands.
In this mystical world of court conspiracies and blood magic, loyalties will be tested. Courage won't be enough. And as the battle begins for everything Alera holds dear, love may be the downfall of a kingdom.
I hate writing reviews like this, but I don't keep a blog to write only good things. I am here to tell my honest thoughts, and so here they are:
Legacy looked so promising. The cover was very appealing, with the lovely curly script and the girl in the fancy dress, but the book just needed some help. On a scale of one to five stars, I would probably rate it at about 2.6. The idea was there; the world was there. The book suffered from a lack of editing.
The synopsis gives the reader the idea that they are in for something of historical fiction with some political intrigue, war, and romance thrown into the mix. Truthfully, it didn't feel like much of any of those. Princess Alera's biggest problem seems to be that her father wants her to marry a drop dead gorgeous, charming guy, but she likes another guy. That's all she worries about for a good 400 of close to 500 pages. When we do get some hint of a prophecy, it's mentioned for a few pages, and then completely dropped for another 50 pages only to be mentioned briefly once more. Or when the capitol city of Hytanica is lain under siege and all food is rationed, somehow the royalty and the captain of the guard manage to have an extravagant dinner party. Yes, they're royalty so they get leeway, but a multiple course feast? Things just don't add up.
There are, at times, some really good moments of storytelling in this book. When I got to those, I cherished them. There are also some really well done characters. London, for example, I love. He was Alera's personal bodyguard for most of her life and her closest confidant next to her sister. London is the most developed character out of the lot. Alera is too changeable, and wishy-washy. I also didn't find Narian (does anyone else want to read that as Narnia?) to be an appealing love interest. The reader just doesn't get enough out of him. Hopefully this will change in the next book, because I really want to like him, I do.
My biggest complaint in this book was the descriptions of the clothing. I could pretty well get past most of the other faults, but for the clothing. I do not need a description of every dress Alera wears, nor do I need to hear about what her sister, Steldor, London, Narian, or anyone else wears. Brief, pertinent clothing descriptions I accept, and am perfectly happy to read. There were maybe two times I found a description of someone's dress or tiara important, and I didn't mind those in the least. I understand trying to give a visual, but there are times a reader needs to imagine for themselves, rather than being told what to see.
Now, I really liked the idea for the story. The idea of a war that had ended mysteriously with the death of 48 children is a fascinating one. When I heard the story, I immediately wanted to know why the rival country had withdrawn, why they had fought in the first place, etc. Details of this are unveiled, but not so many as to give it all away, which is why there are more books! (And I will be reading them, with great hope.)
I was very impressed when I learned that Cayla Kluver was fourteen when she wrote this book. For a fourteen-year-old, it is quite accomplished. She was able to create her own world, some good characters, an involved story, and make it not predictable. Those things are where this book shines. There is quite a bit of potential here, too. Most of my discrepancies could be fixed, and easily. Scenes with some character development for Narian and Alera would not be hard, nor would cutting out some descriptions. With those fixed, I could see myself giving this book a solid three stars, maybe working up to being rounded to four.
Risk a paper cut? Ummm... Not really, in my opinion. For major fans of historical fiction and/or political intrigue, maybe.
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