Previously published on my blog: http://fictionfervor.wordpress.com/2011/06/28/review-legacy-by-cayla-kluver/
After I finished Legacy, the first thing I did was look up more about the author. Check out her bio:
Writing has always been Cayla Kluver’s passion. It wasn’t until her freshman year in high school that she discovered this made her different from her classmates. She was writing in a notebook at the lunch table, when a friend asked her if she was doing homework. When Cayla said no, she was just writing down some ideas, her friend’s stunned response was “You write for fun?” Cayla wrote the first draft of Legacy during her sophomore year in public high school. She then worked very hard to combine her junior and senior years so she could graduate early. She completed the first draft of Allegiance, which continues the story begun in Legacy, the following year. In addition to writing, Cayla enjoys such activities as movies, theatre productions, singing, horseback riding, and hanging out with friends. She is sixteen years old, and lives with her family and her muse (Nina, her cat) in Wisconsin, where only the hardy survive. Legacy is her first novel.
Yes, Cayla Kluver is, I believe, a genius at sixteen years old. Wrote a book at the age of fourteen, which is a difficult enough feat to accomplish by itself — trust me, I completely understand, considering that I am roughly at that age (still too paranoid to say how old I am, though) and that I am an aspiring writer. Then having that book published? And having considerably good reviews of the book? Astonishing. Not to mention that she’s already finished high school at the age of sixteen.
And yet, with all that ingenuity, I don’t believe Cayla Kluver has actually got it right yet.
You want to know authors that get it right? (And by this “it,” I mean that that author has got writing down to perfection.) Richelle Mead. J.K. Rowling. Suzanne Collins. Those authors know how to make the reader interested enough to pick up the book. Those authors know how to make the reader unable to put down that book. And those authors definitely know how to make the reader crave for more. Those are writing geniuses.
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. Yes, my older sister had already read the book before I did, and she had told me as soon as she finished Legacy that, for once, she liked a pretty boy (a pretty boy = a boy that is quite handsome and knows that he is handsome and therefore flirts a lot with girls). My reaction was one of surprise purely because my sister abhors pretty boys. 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. After I declared to my sister that I liked Narian more than Steldor, my sister — who hates clichés more than I do — pointed out that Narian was a generic pretty boy (this pretty boy just means a boy that is . . . pretty). I ignored her. Better than a jerk that bullies people.
But my favorite people in this book? Two of their names start with the letter T and the other with a C. I absolutely adore Temerson and laugh enthusiastically at Tadark’s name, Temerson because I love his shy nature and Tadark because he is incredibly dense (and manages to be laughable to others at the same time). And I highly respect Cannan for his decisions and authority.
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 story that simply is about a girl finding true love and her true self. But to be put more elaborately, Legacy is about a princess who falls in love with a boy she’s forbidden to wed because of her duty. To be put most elaborately, Legacy is about a princess named Alera who falls in love with a boy raised in an enemy country, so therefore she cannot wed him and will instead be married to an arrogant jerk who will become king. But a good king, so everyone approves of the pairing.
Okay, let me try this again.
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.
Source: ARC/galley received from publisher for review
From the cover, I thought this was going to be historical fiction of some sort, maybe like The Luxe. I was wrong, but this was definitely better. Fantasy is pretty much always acceptable. Legacy reminded me of maybe Tamora Pierce (without the women being epic warriors part) with a little bit of Diana Peterfreund, in the way that Kluver's completely willing to make her characters suffer. Everything that happens is not rosy and sunshiney. Be warned.
My only complaint about the book is that, for much of it, Alera mentions how forthright and outspoken she is, but then, whenever faced with her father or Lord Steldor, she proceeds to say a big nothing. Honey, you're not that outspoken, are you? She got into her stride in the middle of the book, a bit, but was still not what I, an outspoken girl, would consider particularly outspoken. To be fair, she does live in a society where women are property.
About that...I hate this country. I don't know that it would be such a bad thing if Cokyri took them over or if they merged. Their country is so patriarchal like whoa. Women have pretty much no rights; their husband can do anything he wants to them. Argh! I imagine this will change in the future books; goodness, I hope so!
Anyway, I just ate this up; it was so good and absorbing. Why do I not have both sequels RIGHT NOW. I want them so much! You cannot just leave me at that ending. Holy cliffhanger, Batman!
A Few of the Characters:
Alera –The princess of Hytanica who has a big decision to make because the man she chooses to marry will rule Hytanica as King
London – Loyal bodyguard to Alera
Steldor - The king's preferred choice of a husband for Alera (and successor to the king), unfortunately, Alera cannot stand him
Narian - As an infant he was kidnapped by Hytanica's mortal enemies the Cokyrian. However, 16 years later he turns up in Hytanica and Alera is drawn to his mysterious nature
What made me keep turning the page?
Reading about the life of a princess
Alera's sense of humor
Trying to figure out if Narian was a "good guy" or a "bad guy"
Wanting to see if politics or love won out in the end
Just the right amount of romance
I didn't really start enjoying the book until about half way through, it was just a bit slow to start.
YA Historical Fiction Fans
Like I said, it took me a while to get into this book, but once I did I couldn't put it down. There was a bit of action, romance, and mystery all rolled nicely together in this story. I am anxious to see how Alera matures into a woman in the next book. I will definitely be reading the rest of this trilogy.