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A CROWN PRINCESS A SCANDALOUS SECRET CRUSH A KINGDOM ON THE BRINK OF DISASTER
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 an 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...
A CROWN PRINCESS A SCANDALOUS SECRET CRUSH A KINGDOM ON THE BRINK OF DISASTER
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 an 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.
“A thoroughly entertaining read, Legacy shows a lot of promise, for Kluver and her princess.”—Miami Herald
"I THINK I'M GOING TO VOMIT."
I paced in front of the barren fireplace that spanned most of one wall in my parlor, clasping and unclasping my hands. My younger sister, Princess Miranna, had retired to her quarters after breathlessly assuring me I would have a lovely evening, but then, she was much more enamored with the man I would be meeting for dinner tonight than I was. Now it was only London, my bodyguard and a member of the King's Elite Guard, waiting with me in the richly furnished room.
"You're not going to vomit, Alera. Just try to relax," London advised, one eyebrow raised in bemusement. He picked up a book from the table beside the burgundy velvet sofa and began to leaf through it.
"How can I possibly eat?" I asked, my voice sounding shrill even to my own ears. "I don't think I can go through with this."
"It's going to be fine. He's just another suitor, and like the rest of them, he has to impress you, not the other way around. Besides, as far as I can tell, you have no real interest in him, so I don't know why you're working yourself into such a state."
"You don't understand! If something goes wrong tonight, Father is going to be so disappointed."
"Well, unless you've made plans to marry Steldor that I don't know about, you're going to disappoint your father in the long run no matter what."
I stopped pacing and faced London, who had set the book back on the table and was now leaning against the tapestried wall by the door, arms crossed over his muscular frame. Unruly silver bangs fell across his forehead, contrasting sharply with his deep-set indigo eyes, which were fixed upon me in anticipation of a response. I fumbled for one; every moment I could feel the noose of my impending marriage growing tighter. With my seventeenth birthday just around the corner, a betrothal would soon be arranged, with or without my approval of the gentleman. The idea that Steldor might be that gentleman
"But I can't stand him. How can I spend the whole evening with him?"
"It's just one evening. You can survive one evening." London hesitated, then teasingly added, "Besides, he may just win you over. I'm not one to underestimate the power of a romantic stroll in the garden."
"Please say he won't expect that of me!"
I stared at him, unable to find humor in such an awful possibility, and he tried to alleviate the worry he had inadvertently created.
"If he does, tell him you're feeling ill and that you must return to your quarters at once. He can't argue with that."
I sank into one of the plush armchairs that stood near the hearth, buried my head in my hands, and moaned. My father, King Adrik, had arranged for this dinner between Lord Steldor and me, for he felt Steldor was better suited to be his successor
than anyone else in the kingdom. As the heir to the throne, I was to marry on that basis alone, for it was my husband, not I, who would come to rule Hytanica.
Even I had to admit that Steldor was the obvious choice. Three and a half years older than I, he was the son of Cannan, the Captain of the Guard, and had one year ago become a military field commander at the young age of nineteen. He was charming, intelligent and strong, with stunning good looks, but I had disliked him from the moment we had met.
A rap on the door interrupted my thoughts, and London stepped into the corridor while I fretfully plucked strands of my brown hair free of its upswept style.
"We'd better go," he said upon reentering, and I slowly rose from the chair. "I have just been informed that Steldor is waiting for you in the Grand Entry."
London opened the door for me, and we left my parlor to walk through the second-floor corridors of the Royal Residence toward the spiral staircase at the rear of the palace. In addition to my quarters and those of my sister and parents, the residence included a library, a family dining room, a kitchen and a visitor's parlor. The Royal Ballroom and the King's Dining Hall were the only areas on the second floor that were used for public events.
We descended the stairs, emerging into a lantern-lit corridor, and London offered his arm to escort me toward the palace's main entrance. As we walked, I hardly glanced at the intricate tapestries that adorned the walls, for my attention was drawn to the end of the hall where Steldor awaited me. Supporting himself with his left hand on the wall, he was flipping a dagger over and over in his right, impeccably positioned for maximum visual effect.
"Have fun," London said glibly, stopping midway down the
passage, for my handsome dinner companion had noticed my approach.
"You're not going far, are you?"
"No, I would wager you'll need more protection tonight than on most occasions. Besides, I'd be a pretty poor chaperone if I did, although I will try to give you two lovebirds some privacy."
"Go ahead and enjoy yourself at my expense, won't you?" I complained, irritated by the tease that had once more crept into his voice.
Steldor had returned his dagger to its sheath and was striding toward me. Although he was dressed more informally than was usual for him, his deportment would have made any clothing appear elegant. He was tall, broad shouldered and well muscled, with dark brown hair that fell in a perfectly careless manner to just below his prominent cheekbones. His brown eyes were guaranteed to make most girls swoon, and his smile was irresistible, given his straight and even, white teeth.
Steldor bowed and kissed my hand. His eyes swept my form approvingly, taking in my shimmering gray gown and the silver locket that graced my neck. "Allow me to escort you to the dining room, Princess Alera."
With an uncomfortable glance at my bodyguard, Steldor drew me to his side, and I was certain London's demeanor had given warning of how closely he intended to monitor the captain's son. Suppressing a smile, I walked with Steldor through the remainder of the corridor, the savory smells from the kitchen arousing my appetite. At least I would be getting a delicious meal out of the evening.
The first-floor dining room was designed to accommodate intimate gatherings. There were twin marble fireplaces, one
on each side of the room, with an oblong table that could seat forty-five centered in between. Three candlelit chandeliers were suspended above the table, and oil-burning lanterns were attached at intervals along the walls. A small, round table draped with white linen had been prepared for us at the far end of the room in front of the bay window. On it, two flickering candles provided subtle illumination, aided by the last glimmer of the day's sun. I sat across from Steldor and he offered me a glass of wine, which I accepted with some trepidation, having no more liking for wine than I did for the man extending the goblet.
"I have to say," Steldor observed, "you look exceptionally beautiful tonight, Alera."
He paused as if permitting me an opportunity to extend my flustered thanks. When none were forthcoming, he smiled.
"You seem a little overwhelmed perchance from hunger, although it's not unusual for my company to have this effect upon women. Some food may restore you." With a flick of his hand he indicated to a servant that we were ready to receive our meal. "Some sustenance may enable you to find your voice as well."
I stared at the man my father desired me to wed, feeling ill-equipped to deal with his overly familiar attitude. The arrival of the kitchen staff with vegetable-laden platters, warm bread and roast grouse saved me from having to reply.
Steldor nodded curtly to dismiss the servants, then placed a slice of the sizzling game bird on each of our plates, permitting me to select my own vegetables and bread. We ate in silence for a time, although I found it difficult to do more than nibble, for his eyes continued to shamelessly peruse me.
"I hope we shall come to spend a great deal of time together," he finally said, his voice a practiced blend of honey
and conceit, velvety smooth but with an undertone of boredom that not even he could conceal. Clearly this was not how he would have chosen to spend his evening free of duties. "Although I should caution you that the military demands much of me. I am well suited for such a life, of course— when I was at the Military Academy, my combat instructors had nothing but praise for me. As you probably know, I was allowed to graduate a year early due to my abilities."
Finished with his meal, he pushed his plate forward to rest his left forearm on the table's edge.
"After fifteen months as a foot soldier, I went into officer training and became the youngest field commander in Hy-tanican history. But despite the demands of my position, I find time to help train the students at the academy in hand-to-hand fighting. The instructors at the military school continue to hold me in high esteem and readily welcome my assistance."
I found myself paying more attention to his gestures than to his words as he droned on, for his movements were so fluid they seemed almost rehearsed. He paused to settle back in his chair, slowly swirling the wine in his goblet, once more perfectly posed.
"Of course, I didn't do anything special to win such admiration," he continued. "I was simply born with enviable talents. It was natural that I would become the favored one. You can understand that, can't you, Alera? It's much the same with you."
"And how is that like me at all?" I challenged, his arrogance at last goading me to reply.
"She speaks," he gently mocked, then elaborated. "Well, you didn't ask to be born into the royal family, did you? I likewise didn't ask to be the most admired man in the kingdom."
"More admired than my father? Well, then, I suppose I should feel honored just to be here with you."
"Alera, admiration isn't about wearing a crown. Your father is revered. But I have the eyes of an entire citizenry on me at every moment. That you cannot deny."
The churning in my stomach could no longer be attributed to nervousness. Just being in Steldor's company was making me physically ill. When I did not converse further, he glanced to the other side of the room where London was sitting in a chair, booted feet resting on the oblong table.
"It's a shame London has to be here, isn't it?"
"Perhaps from your point of view. I believe it's important that he diligently carry out his duties."
"Don't take offense, Princess," he said with a chuckle. "I only meant that, if we were alone, things could be a bit more intimate."
He leaned closer and reached for my hand, dark eyes lazily scanning me as if I were a gift for him to unwrap.
"That would be improper, would it not?" I reproached, picking up my napkin to spoil his attempt.
"And have you never done anything improper, Princess?" he drawled, wearing an insufferably indulgent expression. He stood when my only response was a deep blush. "As you don't seem to be particularly hungry, I suggest we forgo dessert in favor of a stroll in the moonlight."
I tried to think of an excuse, or to remember London's advice, but my brain had stopped working. In combination with my dry mouth, I found myself speechless.
"I'll take that as a yes," he said, slipping a hand under my elbow to direct me to my feet. "To the garden, shall we?"
Steldor's arm snaked its way around my waist as he escorted me from the dining room, and London let his feet drop loudly
to the floor, drawing our attention. He rose, his eyes connecting with mine.
"No need to keep such close watch," Steldor told him with a dismissive wave. "She's in good hands."
"That's an interesting assertion, considering your reputation," London replied, not about to let the young man out of his sight.
We walked down the corridor that London and I had earlier traversed, toward the rear of the palace and the garden that extended to the northern section of the walled city. Beyond the high stone wall stretched the forest that climbed into the foothills of the rugged Nineyre Mountains.
Steldor acknowledged the Palace Guards who were stationed at the rear entrance, then held one of the double doors open for me, but I vacillated, reluctant to go into the dusky grounds with him.
"I'm not sure this is a good idea," I fussed, still struggling for words, aware that my periodic lapses in speech might be attributed to girlish excitement, when in reality all I wanted was for the evening to be over.
"Of course it is—it's a beautiful night."
"I'm a bit cold, and I neglected to bring a wrap," I said lamely. The temperature was still comfortable, but since it was the beginning of May, a chill would advance as night settled over the land.
"Just stay near to me, Princess. I assure you I'll be able to keep you warm."
I nodded, and Steldor again draped his arm about my waist to guide me onward, one of the Palace Guards alerting the others who patrolled the area that I had entered the grounds.
Stars were beginning to glimmer in the clear nighttime sky
as we strolled along the stone footpaths that wove through the walled garden, dividing it into sections. Although torches burned around its perimeter, their flickering light did not penetrate the garden's depths, and we depended on the moon for guidance. Steldor led me toward one of four double-tiered white marble fountains located on the paths, and I was certain he viewed our surroundings as spectacularly romantic, even while I dreaded every impending second.
Posted August 12, 2011
Let me start out by saying I was interested in this book before I found out it was written, at the time, by a fourteen year old. After I acquired it I discovered this fact and was even more intrigued and eager to read it. I was not disappointed.
To have been fourteen when she penned this story, Cayla Kluver's writing shows a remarkable depth, strength, and polish to it. I was kind of amazed really. Not so much by the fact that a fourteen year old could conceive of and then write a good tale. I know people have good imaginations and creativity at any age. What amazed me more was the breadth of research she must have done to paint such a vivid and accurate picture of the time period... because although the book does take place in an imaginary kingdom, the customs, dress, environment, and culture is obviously of the middle ages. And she was phenomenal at setting the stage, conveying that culture, and making it all seem so real.
I loved the characters... just about all of them. Although Princess Alera does not like Steldor, strongly dislikes him in fact, I kind of liked him. Even though he is arrogant. But that very thing, which completely annoys him, kind of made me like him because I think there are more depths to him that the reader hasn't discovered yet and probably will discover in the following books. (Yes, this is a trilogy.) Narian I liked, of course, because he is shrouded in mystery. But I think we have a good love triangle about to start here. I LOVE love triangles! At least if they're done well. So I'm looking forward to seeing where Cayla Kluver takes this one.
I enjoyed the action, the setup, the flashes of romance, and the richness of the setting and time period. This was a great story and I look forward to seeing more from Cayla in future!
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Posted July 21, 2011
I purchased this book on the nook with the assumption that it was in english. The electronic version of this book is actually in Spanish, although I was able to call barnes and noble and get a refund.
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Posted May 15, 2013
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Posted May 12, 2013
Umm not to be rude but u dont know anything about herbs and healing and u cant just call yr self the med cat the leader has to call it u cant do it its againist the warrior code if anybody should be med cat it should be rosepaw she know moreWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 12, 2013
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Posted July 29, 2012
Unlike most of the people who wrote the reviews I disagree with them about the amount of details in the book. I don't think she did too much and it was nice to get the details and to be able to picture the book more clearly. For someone so young it was amazing the story she had written. I was caught up within the first chapter and had a hard time putting it down. I would certainly recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy and romance.
As much as I loved this book I was disappointed that she married Steldor! Narian should have come in and saved the day, im hoping they will finally manage to be together before the series ends
Posted June 30, 2012
Failed to Impress
Review brought to you by r Annabell
Legacy follows Princess Alera as she goes about her daily life. Her father is determined for her to marry by the age of eighteen so he can step down and Alera can rule along side her husband. The problem is the only male in the kingdom who seems suitable for Alera, by her father’s standards, is the unbearable and egotistical Steldor. Meanwhile, there is still a great deal of tension between Alera’s kingdom, Hytancia, and the nearby kingdom of Cokryi. The last act Cokryi took against Hytancia was to steal a bunch of babies and leave their dead bodies at the front gates, except one baby was unaccounted for. Cokryi had stopped the battle against Hytancia abruptly and none have ever stepped foot in Alera’s kingdom since. But the tension and distrust between both kingdoms grow as Narian, the mysterious boy who had been captured by Alera’s guards, is discovered to be the unaccounted for baby and now Alera finds herself developing feelings for him. A love that may be the downfall to her kingdom.
I had been pretty excited to read this novel. The book sounded as if it would offer a wonderful plot and rich characters but after a few chapters I found myself completely bored with the story. I started skimming through pages then skipping ahead because I honestly could not get into it.
The main character, Alera, spends soooo much time talking about frivolous and superficial stuff. Constantly describing what she was wearing, what her sister, Miranna, was wearing, how wealthy she was, how her hair was done etc. She also spends a great deal whining. Her sister, Miranna, is just as annoying. She is younger and I do know how bothersome younger siblings can be but Alera and her sister were just too boring to care about. I can understand that Alera and her sister were raised very sheltered and there are many restrictions on women in the kingdom but I just didn’t see anything really interesting about either girls.
Steldor was probably one of the well written characters. He is extremely arrogant, driven, and a total play boy. He never tries to pretend what he isn’t. He is also very clever and cunning. Steldor was one of the characters that really shined in the novel even though he was most of the time, a total jerk. But I respect him for the fact that he never tried to convince anyone was anything else than what he is. London, Alera’s bodyguard, is also one of the only good characters in the book. He is agile, sexy, and mysterious. He also has a good sense of humor. He isn’t afraid to be honest with Alera, even if it means hurting her feelings.
The characters really were never well developed. Alera never changes nor does her sister. They also make INCREDIBLY stupid decisions. I had no respect for Alera. The plot was drawn out slowly but, in truth, was pretty much nonexistent. The novel consists of a constant mass of descriptions for every little thing and Alera whining she would have no choice but to marry Steldor. I never understood what Narian saw in her. Steldor, I figured, just wanted to marry her because he wants to be king but what either man sees in her eludes me. There was never any real chemistry between Alera and Narian or Alera and Steldor. Steldor never seemed to be attracted to her. (Cont)
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Posted June 14, 2012
Cayla Kluver’s writing is beautiful. Fluid. Descriptive. Eloquent. Yet there is a certain lack — or shall I say, excess? — to it. Cayla puts so much effort into description — describing dresses, which I understand to a point, considering that this story takes place in the eyes of a princess — but this description is completely overwhelming. And sometimes unnecessary. Honestly, who cares about the cut of a dress?
There were other things that bothered me in this book, and all these things can be described in one word: clichéd. The love interests were clichéd, a large part of the plot was clichéd . . . I’m very prejudiced against clichés. I always want to read books that are unique. Different. Not the same old, same old “girl moves to new town and meets boy at new school and falls in love with boy” etc. Reading the same story over and over makes me cry and tear out my hair in frustration.
So the characters. I adored Alera, though I believe that she might be just a little bit clichéd (yet I never tire of headstrong women discovering who they should be). Her loyalty to her bodyguards London and Destari; her love for her father (the King), her mother (the Queen), and her sister Miranna; and her duty as Crown Princess of Hytanica . . . all of that made me love her and her resolve and everything she represents to women.
And Steldor . . . Steldor is that arrogant and pompous jerk that wants to marry Alera. And he would be crowned King if he did. Normally this would be the part where I rant on and on and on about why I hate him and etc., but an odd thing is . . . my sister likes him. So I had wondered why, and after I finished the book, she told me. “I think I like Steldor so much because he isn’t the obvious choice. And I think he actually does love Alera.” I might agree with her on both counts.
Narian is the sort of bad boy that comes into a girl’s life . . . yet he is undeniably sweet to Alera. Though I had no trouble in believing in their romance (though I wish their romance would have been more gradual and not as fast), I do have a problem with Narian — getting over the fact that he’s quite handsome and is also quite sweet and is also quite a bad boy. He’s clichéd. Yes, all those things that I listed about him? Those are all clichéd.
The plot of this book was, in large part, original. Though there were a few bumps here and there that I didn’t like (spoilers: why was the High Priestess captured? What was she doing there in the first place? Why did Narian leave the city so suddenly? AND WHY IN THE WORLD IS ALERA MARRIED TO STELDOR?), I generally enjoyed the surprises at every turn. But one thing I definitely did not enjoy in the book was that cliffhanger ending! Never have I ever read a book with as big a cliffie ending as Legacy. So be warned.
And lastly, I wasn’t the biggest fan of this synopsis. I know synopses tend to be dramatic (and often give away spoilers, though that is not so much in this case), but the tone of the synopsis is completely different from the tone of this book. So people who are looking for blood and guts, you definitely will not find that in this enchanting love story.
Legacy is an alluring love story that captured my heart mainly because it’s more than a love story. Legacy is a story about duty and sacrifice . . . and a choice a seventeen-year-old girl must make.
Posted June 12, 2012
Very well-written and entertaining! I LOVE this story, I can't believe the writer is only 20 years old!
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Posted January 19, 2012
Princess Alera of Hytanica and her younger sister, Miranna, had a rather peaceful and easy life. Their parents had to endure the cruelty of a war against the Cokyrians and suffered the lost of the rightful heir to the throne which caused Alera's father to become King.
The Cokyrians never won but they stole the smiles of 49 Hytanican houses for they took with them one newborn from each. After a while the corpses of the infants were found at the city gates... Except that there was a boy who was never found and, after the days continue to pass, it became obvious that the child could only be dead.
Time passed and peaceful times fell upon Hytanica. But there was a new matter at hand: Alera, soon to be Queen, had to marry a young man to be her King. Why was this so important? Hytanica was a patriarchal place and no woman could rule for it was the job of a man.
And the suitor her Father had chose was not the one she thought would make her happy.
Steldor was the son of Cannan, the man who ruled the soldiers. And Steldor was nothing bur pompous and arrogant. Always flirting, always mocking, he knew he was good looking and took advantage of it. The only prey that never fell for his looks was Alera and that only made Steldor more eager to get her.
But the peaceful times were shaken when a Cokyrian woman was arrested inside the Palace by Alera's bodyguard, London (who was also some sort of father for her and best friend). And after the Cokyrian woman escaped a boy, one year younger than Alera, was also arrested.
And this boy was the one who charmed Alera, the one who made her heart beat faster... But he was Cokyrian. Somehow, she was trapped between her desires and her loyalty.
I liked the world Cayla created for this book for it was very described and built. But at the same time I found myself skipping paragraphes and maybe a few pages full of details about the festivities, rooms or moods. And I usually read every description but I fear that I was to eager to know what was going to happen next to bother with so much detail about decorations.
Saying that I know a lot of people who enjoy this fully and well developed descriptions and it would help them to picture Hytanica in its full glory.
The fact that the story is telled by Alera is at the same time good and not so good. I enjoyed being inside her head, the questions she always had, her desire to understand and to participate made me like her a lot. But at the same time, since she is a girl in a world ruled by men she is almost always, left aside and oblivious of plots and dangers. I felt so frustrated when she was only pacing back and forth in her room!
The patriarchal society of Hytanica is a thing that I can say I hate but understand so no problems with that. This is one of the things that Alera struggles too and it helped me to create a bond with her.
As for the love triangle all I can say is that I didn't like Steldor too much but I don't hate him either. It's difficult to have an opinion about him since sometimes he can be nice but most of the time he is arrogant and petulant.
And Narian, who is the one I like, is the only character I never fully met. I mean, yes, he is in the book but her appears a few times (it's a good thing almost all of them are worthy) and never really develops a relationship per se with Alera.
Will I continue with the series and read Allegiance? Yes, I'm going to. Why? Because this story has a lot of potential and I
Posted October 29, 2011
We all say "Don't judge a book by it's cover" but sometimes I kind of do. Since I loved the cover I decided to poke around a little about the book. One thing I found that was really neat was that Cayla Kluver wrote this book around the age of 14! She is now 18 and is being published by Harlequin Teen. From learning that bit of fact I had to have this book.
Legacy was the first book I picked up for this summer and it was perfect! At the moment I'm all about fantasy and the whole princess with an arrange marriage thing. Alera is a head strong princess who wants to be treated as equal as men. In the beginning, I didn't like Alera because instead of coming off as bold she came off too strong and was bossy and controlling. But as pages past Alera began to grow into the queen she would soon become. Steldor is the gentleman that is the most favored to be Alera's husband, but Alera does not favor him. Honestly, I don't favor him either because I'm a bit confused by his personalities. He's cocky and arrogant but at the same time he has these small moments where I'd look at him differently. With the stressed out life Alera is living she finds an escape being with Narian. I'm not sure what to think of Narian since he rarely shows his true self. What I do know about Narian is that he's at moments kind hearted and respectful. He's also my favorite character of the book.
I just loved the story overall and how Cayla slips in more obstacles through out without making it seem too much. From the struggle of an arrange marriage to the desperation of a new king to support their kingdom. They all fit perfectly and I wasn't left with as many dull moments. Although I loved the story I felt as though there was a bit too much detail that wasn't needed which stretched the book out to almost 500 pages.
Posted October 1, 2011
Princess Alera is too young to recall a time when her kingdom had not been at peace, but when a Cokyrian breaches the castle grounds with questionable motives, she gets a quick history lesson about the horrific war 16 years ago that ended with the death of newborns. No sooner was the Cokyrian captured, however, did the enemy manage to escape! Alera wants to find more about it, but her father feels that she should focus her pretty, little head on deciding which suitor to marry and leave all the war concerns to him. Too bad all the suitors are either boring or full of themselves - and the only boy that Alera finds remotely interesting is the Narian who had been kidnapped by the Cokyrians during the war and recently escaped from their clutches.
I have mixed feelings on Legacy - on the one hand, the story has much potential and piqued my curiosity for the world that Carla Kluver created; on the other hand, I did not particularly care for the characters themselves. Told from Princess Alera's perspective, I did not connect with her and she came across as a little immature to expect herself able to run a kingdom, despite her father's misgivings. If she had demonstrated more efforts to prove her worth as a ruler instead of simply resisting her father's approved suitor, I would have seen more reason to her reluctance. I wish that we had more of Narian - the enemy who challenges Alera to fight against the norm of thinking women as the weaker sex. The ending is quite abrupt - I thought it was a rather awkward point of the story to end on - just when Alera's heart begins to break! I hope the characters kick it up a notch or two in time for the sequel because, if not, I don't know if the story will be enough for me to continue on.
Posted July 29, 2011
Knowing that this book was written by a fourteen-year-old, it is impressive. That fact is pretty much what kept me reading it after a while, to be honest. I really just wanted to see where Kluver was going with it. Standing on its own as just a book, though? I probably wouldn't have finished it.
For one thing, there is way too much description throughout. Constant mention of hair and eye color is distracting. Great detail is given about clothing, when that clothing's appearance really isn't at all relevant to the story or plot. A lot of time is also spent describing things like where people will be sitting at a dinner, when that information could easily be relayed while the dinner is in progress. Too much showing, not enough telling. Adjectives and adverbs, instead of being sprinkled through the writing to add depth and intrest, are thrown about with wild abandon.
Another aspect that bothered me was the politics involved. At the end of the novel, the kingdom is hovering on the brink of war with an enemy that they fought for about a hundred years last time and have only had an uneasy peace with for the past sixteen years or so. Yet with this looming on the horizon, the king is pushing his younger daughter to marry so he can relinquish the throne to her husband? Does this really seem like something a responsible head of state would do? The fact that the son of the captain of the guard would be considered the best choice for a king also seemed highly suspect, his individual personality aside. (According to the "rules" of this society, only men can rule. Therefore, princesses like Alera, the main character, can be queen, but their husbands will rule the kingdom.) Surely there would be noble boys of a higher rank deemed more suitable than a mere soldier's son. Although other suitors are mentioned, we really don't see any of them in the novel, at least not in the exhaustive detail that we see Steldor.
The main personal conflict in this book is a love triangle of sorts between Alera, Steldor, and Narian (a nobleman's son), but it just doesn't quite seem to work. Steldor is consistently portrayed as a complete lout who amazingly is adored by everyone but Alera and her loyal bodyguard London. (How can an entire kingdom be so hung up on the superficial and completely ignore his words and actions?) Alera abhors him, detests him, and would like to see him run over by a buggy--but hey, he smells good, which distracts her hatred so much that she forgets to try and stop him from doing things like stealing kisses. We see each and every encounter with Steldor in exhaustive detail. Narian, on the other hand, isn't even in the picture for a lot of the book. When he is around, we only see a very few interactions between him and Alera in any detail, and most of those are before they really even have much of a relationship. Once they really start to care for one another, all we hear is that they spend hours together, talking and kissing. We actually witness very little of it, though, so it seems more like we're taking Alera's word on the fact that they have a great love.
Much is left unanswered in the end, as a trilogy is promised. I'll try book two in the hopes that Kluver will grow into her potential. If her writing style hasn't tightened up, though, I won't be in line for book three.