Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Review: Legacy (Cayla Kluver)

AUTHOR: Cayla Kluver
SERIES: Legacy, book 1
PUBLISHER: Harlequin Teen
PUBLICATION DATE: October 3, 2010
PAGES: 496
SOURCE: NetGalley
GENRE: Fantasy romance
OVERALL RATING: Neutral opinion; 2/5 stars

SUMMARY: As her 18th birthday draws nearer, Princess Alera knows she must choose a husband lest her father the king choose for her. The king clearly wants Alera to choose Steldor, the handsome (but haughty) son of the captain of the guards. But when an intruder is captured in the kingdom, Alera is surprised to learn that the young man's history and destiny intertwine with her own.

WHAT I LIKED: The entangling plotlines of past and future kept me guessing. Sixteen years before, Narian was the only infant out of 49 kidnapped babies who was allowed to live, and I (and the characters) constantly wondered why. London's mysterious past is also interesting, especially the fact that his imprisonment also happened to be sixteen years before. And, by chance, the war between the two kingdoms ended abruptly sixteen years ago as well. Coincidence? Hmmm...

As far as characters go, the males held my attention far better than the females. I loved Narian's resourcefulness and ability to sneak around. London is loyal, a deep thinker who sacrifices for those he loves and never comprises his integrity. I laughed at Tadark and even felt a little sorry for him (though he does kind of ask to be ridiculed). Even Steldor's haughtiness is somehow endearing; while he is power-hungry, Steldor is smart and brave and seems like he might be kind of fun when he wants to be. He doesn't seem evil to me, just young and stuck-up. As a reader, I actually felt a better connection with Steldor than I did with Narian.

Will I read the sequel, Allegiance? Probably. The end of Legacy has a very interesting and unexpected little twist, leaving tons of unanswered questions. Kluver was only fifteen when she wrote Legacy, and it is certainly possible that her writing style has matured much since then. Since Harlequin Teen picked up the publication, maybe Allegiance will also come with a really good editing team.

WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: S.L.O.W. While I love the plotlines in Legacy, the book took me forever to finish. I wanted to know what would happen, but I kept falling asleep or putting it down in favor of other books. At almost 500 pages, Legacy could have been so much shorter. I kept feeling that Kluver was really going somewhere with the story, but it never quite seemed to reach the destination. Kluver includes lots of descriptions of clothing and foods and cascading hair, all at the expense of good pacing.

Why is it that so many female authors can create fascinating male characters, but the female characters are infuriatingly annoying? Protagonist Alera just has no personality whatsoever. She's afraid to break the rules, only doing so when a man urges her to do it. She submits to pampering constantly, and, at 17, acts far younger than her age. Really, she can't ride a horse, even when it is only walking? And does she have to ALWAYS tell the truth to her father? He seems distracted enough to believe just about anything.

Also, why is it necessary for Alera and her sister Miranna to have one or even two bodyguards at their sides at all times? Do they routinely receive death threats? Do intruders regularly try to kidnap them? They have no power and are the daughters of an apparently benevolent king. So why the hyper-protection? And why does Alera have no urge to shake off her bodyguards from time to time? She does not like being followed constantly, but she does very little about it.

A passive weakling, Alera just drove me nuts.

I would have preferred a rebellious, sardonic Alera. Someone who can conceivably be trained to kick butt and be somewhat worthy of warrior Narian's affections. A life with Narian would be anything but pampered, and I don't see Narian allowing himself to be trapped into the life of a king. Maybe Alera will toughen-up over the course of the series. Despite all my ranting, I am willing to invest the time to find out.

  • Language: None
  • Sexuality: mild; some kissing and mild references to wedding night intercourse
  • Violence: mild; swordfighting with injuries
  • Drugs/Alcohol: medium; teens and adults drink alcohol (mainly wine) at parties
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We don't have it, but I am going to order it. I pride myself on giving my students my most honest opinion; they know it and take my word for it when I say a book is awesome. While I can't honestly recommend Legacy myself, I do have a couple of girls who I think would enjoy it. If they do, I'll ask them to write up their own reviews in our library catalog to counterbalance my lukewarm opinion.

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