Release Date: June 21, 2011 (first published 2008)
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Received: ARC from publisher, via NetGalley
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
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.
Wait, didn't I DNF this?
Yup, I did (and I wrote a DNF review, too). So what happened? I kept thinking about the book is what happened. My rule for DNF-ing is that if I don't care at all about what happens next and I'm just not enjoying the book then I'm dropping it. And that's what I thought I felt about Legacy...until I kept thinking about it, and thinking about it. Maybe I did care after all.
Do I still stand by what I said in my DNF review?
Yes, yes I do. The descriptions are too much and make the writing seem amateurish. I love it when an author can really paint a picture for me, but I don't need a picture of every single tiny detail for things that just aren't relevant. General descriptions about a room are good. Minute details about the distance of each piece of furniture in relation to one another is overkill. Descriptions of what the main characters look like are good. Detailed descriptions of characters who walk into a room, draw the bath, and then are never seen again are unnecessary. See what I'm saying?
Those descriptions kept ripping me out of the story and kept me from becoming fully immersed in what was going on. But...there weren't pages and pages of description that bogged down the story. It was more like I'd cut a paragraph here, five words there, rearrange a sentence to be five words instead of twenty. That sort of thing. So while the descriptions were clunky, they didn't make the story feel boring.
And the people?
I also mentioned how much I loathed Alera, and that hasn't changed either. She just came across to me as a petulant child who was largely incapable of making a good decision. She was selfish, bratty, and repeatedly put her kingdom in danger by doing the most unimaginably stupid things. She also goes around acting bratty and mean to people who, I think, didn't really deserve her ire. I can sympathize with her position (it really does suck for her), but because I disliked her personally so very much I had a hard time mustering up sympathy for her.
And that love interest Narian? HATE him. With the passion of 1,000 fiery suns. Possibly more than I hate Alera. In fact, I think part of the reason I hate Alera is because she likes Narian.
Ok, look, I actually prefer cocky, arrogant love interests, but Narian takes all the charm out of the cocky, arrogant guy and is just a straight up jerk. He's unnecessarily rude to everyone around him, and they've been nothing but nice to him. He steals, lies, and acts like everyone is beneath him (including Alera, who he doesn't seem to respect all that much. Not that I blame him, but, you know, it shouldn't be like that). Plus, I don't trust him. AT ALL.
But...ok, I'll grudgingly admit...
I'm hooked. I want to read the sequel. I'm actually counting down the days until the sequel releases. I know, doesn't make sense, right? The thing is, even though I obviously harbor strong negative feelings for the two love birds, there's actually a lot here I do like.
Like London. Oh. My. Gosh. London is one of the best characters I've ever read. Now HE does sarcastic and arrogant right. And he's so manly. Can I get a fainting couch and a hand fan in here, please? Strong, intelligent, and a badass fighter, he's totally independent but also unwaveringly loyal. As long as he's in this series, I'm so reading it.
There was this one scene where Alera was being an idiot again and said something petulant along the lines of, "I'm old enough to make my own judgments!" *foot stomp* And London just calmly replied, "Your own judgments, yes. Wise judgments, hardly." And I practically spit out my drink. That right there says everything about those two characters.
Then there's Steldor, the other love interest and the guy Alera hates but her father wants her to marry. Honestly I'm not sure what to think of him yet. On one hand, he's totally jerky. One scene that sticks out in my mind is when Alera sees him and his friends ganging up on a younger kid and teasing him. That's just so not cool. And yet, Cayla keeps giving us flashes of a softer side. Like his outward jerkiness is just for show and really he's a respectable man. Maybe it's just because I hate Narian so much or maybe it's because I'm a sucker for a good hate-turned-love romance, but I'm rooting for Steldor in this love triangle. He has much better chemistry with Alera, too.
And there's major war looming on the horizon and the promise of even more political intrigue, spies, and battle. I can't say no to that!
Some debuts don't feel like debuts, but this one really does. It also has potential pouring off of every page and I like what I see there. A lot. Cayla is particularly good at writing dialog that flows effortlessly. Plus I can't deny how attached I am to finding out what happens next.
There was a lull where I DNF-ed at around page 250-300 where Alera and Narian spend some time together and I fought back dry heaves. If you like their relationship then you probably won't be bored by this part like I was. London also exits soon after the 100 page mark (I think) and doesn't return until a bit after the 300 page mark.
Just a heads up, when I hear "fantasy" I usually think of quests and stuff, but that isn't this book at all. This is much more the courtly intrigue type of book, so think balls and carriage rides not swords and elves.
Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key
Do you have any questions about Legacy that I haven't addressed?
Feel free to ask in the comments!
Feel free to ask in the comments!