Monday, July 4, 2011

Book Review: Legacy by Cayla Kluver

Legacy by Cayla Kluver
Release Date: June 21, 2011 (first published 2008)
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Pages: 496
Received: ARC from publisher, via NetGalley
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Goodreads Page


From Goodreads:

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!

Bottom line

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!


  1. haha! Great review! I have this in my TBR pile and was a little hesitant but am glad it has some redeeming graces!!

  2. You pretty much nailed everything I felt in regards to this book. I liked the Steldor/Alera pairing but didn't understand the Narian one. It was frustrating to see some of the things Alera had to resort to doing because she was a woman... and because she acts selfish and childish and doesn't realize the consequences of what she's doing. And the writing was too much at points.

    But London? Steldor/Alera? Capturing my interest & painting a clear picture of the fantasy world? Yes, yes, yes.

    Also, on a random note, I like that you write DNF reviews.

  3. Fab review. Isn't it interesting how books can get under your skin - or at least stick in your mind?

    I forget - have you read The Mortal Instrument books? They are really heavy on descriptions. Did you ever find that to be a bit much? It was so prevalent that I noticed it more than I would with most books, but I thought it added depth to the series.

  4. LOL! Love this review Small. Good on your for finishing. I have a couple of books like this that I have a love-hate relationship. As in they driving me crazy but I can't stop reading them.

  5. Good on you for finishing! :) This one doesn't sound like my kind of thing - I just don't really like fantasy, but I'm glad you gave the book another go and said the author has potential.

    When I first saw this cover it screamed Anna Godbersen to me, and I was thinking that the book would be along the lines of The Luxe, but no, doesn't sound like that at all! The cover drew me in, but the storyline doesn't.

  6. OMG, now I really don't know if I want to read this book. I mean I like boys that are bad, cocky and just arrogant, but RUDE is so not good! Also that girl sounds horrible. Thank G there's London! He sounds good! ;)

  7. Right when I saw your review I thought, wait, didn't she DNF this one? Haha, then you explained and I though, ohhhhhh, okay that makes sense.

    I am so torn on this one! It really bothers me whenever authors go overboard with the descriptive details, but it sounds like other aspects of this book were great too! Hmmm, maybe I'll try this one out... There definitely seems to be many different relationships going on in this one. London sounds like my kind of guy :) Thanks for your honest review, and I'm glad you ended up finishing it!

  8. I was all "Wasn't this a DNF?" lol
    I'm glad you're patient enough to go back to books you had tried out before, I really am not. LOL Mostly if I gave up on a book I give up, it's rare I go back, but I do reckon it has it's benefits.

    And I'm so glad you liked this one on the second go :D

  9. LMAO! You hate him with 1,000 firey suns. That's definitely not good. We aren't supposed to hate love interests! It's interesting for all of Legacy's probs that you are counting down the days till the sequel. LOL! I'm so reading this book.

  10. "Dry heaves"! LOL - and you managed to finish and want to read the sequel? That's crazy talk!

  11. I actually like Narian but I think that's more because I feel like I don't know enough about him. I agree with you though and don't trust him right now.

    I loved London too and hope there's more of him in the sequel. I thought he'd be Alera's love interest initially and was pretty excited until I found out he is her father's age :( I would have totally supported a London-Alera romance.

  12. I think I have the original book, published by AmazonEncore with a completely different cover, on my shelf and I'm really interested to read it; I expect I'll find lots that I want edited out so I'll have to find a copy of this version to see the differences.

  13. Hmm, you know I think I'll give this one a chance at least. I know I am a bit more tolerant at slow pacing and lots of description than you so maybe I could handle Legend a bit better. Narian, on the other hand, I'm pretty sure I can't handle from the way you describe him. He sounds as charm-less as Keenan (ugh).

  14. Scarlett, Thanks! I can’t deny that it does have some redeeming parts. Hope you like it :)

    Christina, Oh good! Another Steldor fan! I thought I’d be all alone :) Thank you for the feedback about DNF reviews!

    Alison, It is interesting. Legacy really did stick with me. I read the first book in the Mortal Instruments series and about half of the second book (or maybe all of the second book? I don’t remember). I don’t remember enough about it to comment on the descriptions. I don’t remember them as a bad thing though, so maybe I didn’t mind them?

    Nic, Nail on the head! Legacy totally drives me crazy, but I can’t stop reading it! And thinking about it, and wanting to read the sequel :P

    Leanna, If you’re not into fantasy, then I definitely don’t think this is the book for you. I agree, the cover look exactly like an Anna Godbersen cover. The cover model looks like how I picture Alera though, so that’s good.

    Nina, Well…you might like Narian. I’m totally in the minority it seems when it comes to him. London makes up for all of them though. It’s worth reading just for him :)

    T.B., Haha, I was wondering if anyone would remember I had DNF-ed it. The descriptions are annoying, but they don’t take away TOO much. It’s not like you have pages and pages of nothing but description. I hope you like it if you do give it a shot!

    Alex, You remembered! :) Some books I’ll never go back to, but others I’ll definitely go back to again. I’m a mood reader, and sometimes I’m just in the wrong mood for a book and I’ll pick it up when I’m in a better mood for it. Legacy, well, it wouldn’t let ME go. :P

    Julie, I know! I think I’m wrong here. I like the guy we’re supposed to dislike and I loathe the guy we’re supposed to like. :P Can’t wait to hear what you think of it!

    Alyssa, Totally crazy! :P

    A Canadian Girl, I think most people will like Narian. I’m definitely in the minority. London’s age does exclude him as a love interest for Alera…but he’s not *too* old for me :P

    Bookworm1858, Hm, I’m not sure what the difference is. The Harlequin Teen version actually has about 30 pages MORE than the Amazon Encore edition. That could be the difference between paperback (Harlequin) and hardcover (Amazon), so I wonder if HarlequinTeen even did any editing. There’s lots that I want edited out, and I read the HarlequinTeen edition.

    Aylee, Haha, oh I do hope you like Narian more than I did, but if not then I can’t wait to see how you describe him in your review :P

  15. I'm almost to the halfway point and I can see what you mean about the descriptions. I tend to gloss over those in any book I read, though, so they don't bother me.

    I was a bit *headslap* when Alera dishes on London - WTF? Then my favorite character has to leave the narrative? NOOOOO!

    Mostly I agree with all of this.

  16. Logan, Totally! What was up with her ratting him out??? I wanted to smack her for that.

  17. Yes, and then she acts all surprised that there are negative consequences for that choice. Seriously? Blech.

    I finished it, and like you, was thinking and thinking about it, so gave it 3 stars. And then I wrote my review this weekend, and talked myself down a star. I realized that everything I'd written about it was something that annoyed me. I'll rely on you to tell me what happens in the sequel.

    That ending?! I HATES IT.

  18. Logan, Ugh, I know, right? What did she THINK would happen??? I seriously cannot wait for your review. I’ve been stalking your sidebar calendar waiting for you to post it (and YES I saw that date switch!!) I liked the ending! No more Narian haahahahahahaha! I’m guessing we fall on opposite sides with Narian/Steldor? I was also super happy Alera buckled down and did what responsibility told her to do. I feel like such a boring adult.

  19. So I'm actually currently reading this but I just had to go ahead and comment. I CAN'T BELIEVE SHE DID THAT TO LONDON!?!?!?!?!!? WHAT THE CRAP DID SHE THINK WOULD HAPPEN! Ugh....she didn't really annoy me up until then. I kind of like her curiosity and whatnot but that was the most idiotic decision ever. When he tells her that she could've asked him I was like "DUH!!!!" *face plant* Ugh...just had to get that off my chest because now my favorite character is leaving :( *cries* I hope I continue to like it without him

    1. I know, right?!?! AAAaHhhhah That was the first moment where I really started to hate her. He doesn't come back for a really long time, but he does come back. He's also in the sequel A LOT!

    2. WOOT!!! Okay, so I totally just finished and OMG! SO MANY SEXY MEN ♥♥♥ To be honest though, I didn't really hate Alera in this book. And...I'm kinda torn between the guys. I thought Naren was actually nice and treated her like she was worth something, but there is no denying Steldors sexiness. Honestly, I'd have a hard time not being weak in the knees. However, what really irked me about Alera in this book is the fact that she absolutely hates Steldor, but I don't know why? I feel as if we are told how egotistical he is, but not really shown. Is he cocky and arrogant? Sure. But not over the top. Besides, she could totally reel him in. So at the moment I'm kind of torn.

      BUT, I just started the second book (yeah, i went and bought it immediately) and OMG, I'M TEAM STELDOR! Holy crap! he's trying sooooo hard and she won't even give that boy the time of day!!! And its been six months since they were married and they still haven't done anything. Like holy crap that guys got patience! And every single stupid thing that happens is because of her. Someone gets stabbed? Her fault. What does she do? "Oh, poor little ol' me!"....I wanted to smack her so hard. I often wonder why I'm so addicted and then I remember the hordes of hot men. Seriously, half the ones I have a crush on are like twice my age, yet so insanely sexy. Again, I'm such a sucker for a man in uniform but goodness does she know how to write about em ♥

      Okay, totally sorry for the rant :P but I had to let it all out :P

    3. Oh my gosh, NO Need to apologize! What am I good for if not gushing about books with sexy men? :P Alera bugged me a lot in the first book but I completely HATED her by the second book for exactly the reasons you said. Steldor was DIVINE. He was so patient and sweet. He was really trying to be a man she would love and she totally ignored him. Her behavior with the cat drove me nuts. It was like she was rubbing his face in it and all he did was be a total sweetheart.

      And then, argh, yes, you're spot on about everything being her fault! She never sees it either. She's always blaming someone else or making excuses for herself. It's a good thing there are so many gorgeous men! I think you are going to love the sequel! Make sure you read the prologue of book three (at the end of Allegiance). :)


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