Sacrifice gets off to a bit of a slow start, dealing with the political ramifications of Cokyri's takeover of Hytanica. That first chapter was a snoozefest, but, thankfully, things picked up a few chapters in. For the rest of the novel, I was wholly engrossed, just as I remember being every time I read a book in this series.
What I love about these books, what makes me look past their faults and hold them up as personal favorites, is the fact they Cayla Kluver always manages to convince me that I know what's going to happen and then pull the rug right out from under me. Seriously, this happened in every book, usually more than once. It's so rare for me to be so unsure what will happen to the characters, and I love that feeling, especially since Kluver does so without stooping to impossible twists. I just find that so refreshing, and it's also why I'm always on tenterhooks as I read, because anything could happen.
Both Legacy and Allegiance were written entirely in Alera's perspective, but in Sacrifice Kluver adds a second narrator, Shaselle. At first I was hugely skeptical, but I ended up really liking Shaselle's point of view. She's snarky and very different from Alera. Her romance plot line was cute, and I really loved her refusal to be put into a box of people's expectations. I was just sitting here about to make the assertion that her perspective doesn't really add anything to the story from a narrative point of view, but, on further reflection, I think her story serves as a foil to Alera's, showing how things might have been a bit different had Alera chosen another path. Maybe I'm crazy, but I like this new theory of mine.
Now, the romance did get me down a little bit. Here's the thing. I liked Narian at first in Legacy, but I very much switched allegiance (see what I did there?) in the next book. Steldor, while obnoxious at first, just seems so much more passionate and interesting than Narian. I kept holding out hope for him to win in the end, but, honestly, I knew as soon as I saw the second narrator that Alera wouldn't have any love triangle drama in this one. I'm glad Alera's happy, but my heart breaks for Steldor. Perhaps a spinoff about Steldor is in order?
The writing was a bit clunky in places, but I hope those issues will be fixed in the final version. I usually don't mention such things when reviewing ARCs, but I have to comment on one particular oddity. At one point, Shaselle referres to a horse as 'loco.' Since when do they know Spanish in Hytanica? The use of that totally threw me out of the text for a bit, and I hope it's caught by the editor before final printing.
The ending was a little bit too happy for my tastes, but good enough. All in all, I declare this an immensely satisfying conclusion to the trilogy, though I still want that spinoff. I hope Cayla Kluver continues to write books than can completely catch me off guard!