By: Cayla Kluver
Published By: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: June 2011
Buy it at Amazon
Source: Provided by Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Young Adult
Legacy is one of those books that you are exhausted from when it finally comes to an end. I have been through so many emotions on this reading journey. There were moments were I was bored and wanted to be done with this story so I could move on to something else. There were moments were I was totally enthralled with the characters and setting. I went back and forth on this one as I tried to determine a fair rating. I waffled between 3 birdies and 4 birdies. I finally decided to land on a 3 birdie rating because even though I enjoyed this read there were many things that were lacking for me. However, I will be reading the rest of the series. I have already invested so much time in these characters that I have to know their fates.
Before I start on how I felt about this read I do need to take the time to send some major props in Cayla Kluver's direction. Legacy was published the first time when she was only fifteen. This girl has got one of the best imaginations ever. I was amazed that a teen created these characters and the structure for their world. She draws heavily on feudal traditions and the structure of royal courts to create her story. The amount of detail that is present in this book was just astounding considering her age at the time of its creation.
Legacy is set in the kingdom of Hytanica and revolves around the Princess Alera, the heir to the throne. Alera has always been interested in the political workings of the kingdom and looks forward to being queen, however, in Hytanica women are seen as submissive to the male population. Therefore, Alera must find a husband to rule as king by her eighteenth birthday. In the end, will she do what's best for her country or will she follow her heart down a path that could ultimately lead to the destruction of her way of life and everything she holds dear?
Now, let's get to the meat of this book, shall we? I want to get the negative stuff out of the way. First, this book felt like it dragged on and on for the first 60% of the read. There was very little action, which was somewhat tedious for me. Kluver spends this time developing her characters, setting, world structure, etc. I understand that all of this is important and crucial to the plot, but I think it could have been condensed. Also, it would have been nice to have some more conflict and drama floating around during this portion of the book. During this segment of the story I often put the book down and found other things to occupy my time. I didn't think about the story or characters when I was away from my Kindle. This is sad because these are some truly amazing characters, but again as a reader I liked them, but didn't care about them in the beginning.
Secondly, I also had an issue with the main character, Alera. She was so annoying at times. Sure, she had a lot on her shoulders. Choosing between your throne and your heart isn't an easy decision to make. However, the man everyone in the kingdom wants her to marry really isn't that bad of a guy. I often just wanted to smack her when she went on and on about how horrible he was and how she just couldn't bring herself to marry him. So the dude is a little conceited? He's GQ cover worthy and knows how to handle an army. Shouldn't he get to be a little bit narcissistic?
Whew, now that I have gotten my two major complaints about the novel out of the way, let's get to what makes this a good read. I loved the amount of detail that went into this story. It is abundantly clear that Kluver knows her characters and world inside and out. She does a beautiful job of crafting the story in such a way that a portrait was painted in my mind of the palace and the surrounding countryside. I also really liked the whole forbidden love aspect that starts to take place between Alera and a boy from a rival kingdom. The blood moon prophecy was also a really cool twist that I hope to see more of in future books. Finally, the last 40% of the novel kept me on the edge of my seat. I was reading word after word voraciously because that was the moment when these characters and their fates truly started to matter to me. The ending made me feel like the time I invested in the beginning was totally worth it. I also fully admit that this not my typical read - I considered this one to be a fantasy story, which isn't always my cup of tea.
One Last Gripe: What's up with Narien? I don't like that his fate and reasons for his actions are not resolved. I know it's a series, but it still irked me that I was left hanging on this aspect.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: The structure of the royal house
First Sentence: The first boy disappeared on the day of his birth, on a night when the pale yellow moon that ruled the sky turned red and bathed the heaves in the ghastly color of blood, the same night the Empire of Cokyri abruptly ceased its merciless attack.
Favorite Character: London
Least Favorite Character: Alera's Father
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.