Sunday, June 26, 2011

Book Review #82: Legacy by Cayla Kluver

by Cayla Kluver

Genre: YA Fantasy / Romance
Ages: 15 and up
I received an e-book of this from NetGalley.

The first boy disappeared on the day of his birth, on a night when the pale yellow moon of the nighttime sky turned red and bathed the heavens in the ghastly color of blood, on the same night the Kingdom of Cokyri abruptly ceased its merciless attack.
Across the land of Hytanica, under the shadow of the crimson moon, infant boys continued to vanish. Not until the blood had faded from the sky did the disappearances stop and the bodies of the murdered infants were found outside the gates of the city, a final word from the greatest enemy Hytanica had ever known. For the next sixteen years, peace reigned, but one mystery remained unsolved. The Cokyrians had abducted forty-nine newborns, but returned only forty-eight bodies.

Now, as seventeen-year-old Princess Alera of Hytanica is besieged from all sides by suitors vying for the Throne, a teenage Cokyrian boy, Narian, is encountered within the walls of her Kingdom, a boy who will show Alera a world where women serve a purpose and not just a husband. As Narian helps Alera find her voice, she struggles against an arranged marriage that will shatter the life she has scarcely begun to live. And when Narian's shocking past is uncovered, and war with Cokyri looms once more, he must fight to defy a fate ordained at his birth.

My Review:
At first I thought thas this book was going to be a fairly typical young adult fantasy romance where the young princess falls in love with the wrong gentleman and struggles against all expectations. On one side, I was right. On the other, there are aspects of this story that do not even come close to being ordinary.

The first half was fairly predictable, princess doesn't want to marry an arrogant lord who is only after her throne and meets a mysterious, dangerous boy who may be an enemy of the kingdom. My sense of predictability was exacerbated by a scene where Alera goes to see Narian only to hear that he is out riding and it is suggested that she and her friends go for a walk by the river. I just had to roll my eyes because I knew that she was going to fall into that river and that Narian was going to pull her out. However, in the second half of the book it was impossible to predict anything and the ending was quite shocking. I am eagerly awaiting book 2 because I have no idea how it is going to work out.

The characters were interesting and likable. (Well, mostly. I really want to hit Steldor through most of the story.) Alera was well-written. She is aware of her responsibilities and does not behave like a child to avoid them, no matter how much she may wish to. However, she also acts like a giddy teenager at times, pulling pranks with her sister and giggling over boys. This struck me as being realistic. She was raised with the importance of her duties and how they would affect others and is so aware of them that she rarely acts selfishly.

Narian was very...interesting. On one hand, he is the handsome mysterious stranger with more weapons on his person than some people keep in their armory, but underneath his stony facade, he seems almost desperate. I am still not sure what side he will choose.

Of the minor characters, I really like Miranna and Temerson. They are so sweet and innocent compared to everyone else. The bodyguards, London, Destari and Tedark were all interesting and likable in their own ways, though in Tedark's case it was just fun to make fun of him. London was very complicated and at times confusing. He seems to have many secrets and I am sure that there are several yet to be revealed.

There are a few instances where the characters seem to contradict themselves and that irritated me. For example, the king killed his infant son as a sacrifice in the prologue, but that is never mentioned in the story and he does not seem like the sort of man who could do such a thing. Yes, he can be harsh, but nothing in his behavior hints that he murdered his son or even that he could. There were other, less noticeable instances, but that one bothered me the most.

There was a subtle undercurrent of darkness in the story. There were the obvious infanticides and battles, but there were also references to torture and hints of abusive behavior. When Steldor, Alera's suitor, grabs her arm too tightly she is unsurprised and most people do not care because the men are in charge and it is the woman's place to obey. A husband can do anything to his wife and no one will object. Also, a father has complete control over his children until they are married and out of his household. While no beatings or abuse actually occur in the story, there are enough small hints to worry me.

All-in-all, I enjoyed this book. Though my first impressions were not enthusiastic, the complicated world and puzzling characters drew me in. I have a feeling that the sequel will be darker, but hopefully not too much so. There are so many questions left unanswered at the end and I can only guess what will come of them.

1 (mild) through 10 (extreme).

There is no swearingin this book.

I rate is a 2.10 for some hints and innuendos as well as an almost-wedding night.

I rate it an 8.10 for the murder of many infants as well as mutiple battles and other scenes of violence.

                               Lieder Madchen

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