23 Following


Currently reading

Maggie Stiefvater
The Book Thief
Trudy White, Markus Zusak
Battling Boy
Paul Pope
Legacy - Cayla Kluver I didn't know what to expect of this book coming in. I love a good fantasy, and despite the almost romance novel cover I was intrigued by the possibilities. Legacy tells the story of the Hytanican princess, Alera, who is on the cusp of her 18th birthday. This wouldn't be a big deal except for the fact that in her society a princess who turns 18 must choose her suitor, who will succeed her father and rule as king. Alera's father already has someone in mind - Steldor, son of the Captain of the Guard - and somewhat fiesty Alera takes offense to this and acts out in small ways to keep him at bay. And this might sound like a somewhat pleasant story until we introduce Alera's personal bodyguard of sixteen years, London. London and Alera are rather close, and one day while in the gardens they are met by an unknown woman that ends up being a Cokyrian. When she escapes, panic ensues, suspicion sets in and unchains a series of events that unfold the rest of the story.One of my favorite things about this book was the richness of the secondary characters. Alera's sister, Miranna, is fun and playful, yet is a grounding force for her sister when she steps out of line or needs to be told the truth from different eyes. The best characters for me were within the king's Elite Guard and comprised of London, Halias (Miranna's personal guard), and Destari: these guys were not only unwaveringly loyal but also knew when to step back and not take things too seriously and had their own distinct personalities and quirks. I wouldn't want to have any of them angry at me - but I would go to dinner with London.That said, there was more about it that didn't work for me than that did. The biggest thing is the role that women play, or rather, don't play. One of the big differences between Hytanican and Cokyrian societies is that the former is patriarchal and the latter matriarchal. While I don't advocate either gender disparity, as the books are primarily told from the viewpoint of Hytanica what we see is a lot of women relegated to incredibly stereotypical tasks: an education in etiquette, dancing, speech, and event planning. Females do not learn history, politics, or advanced languages. I tried to set this aside again and again but there were passages that brought it up so forcefully that made it difficult, such as this one:"He also feels, like most men, that a father should not trust to a daughter's judgement on a decision as important as the selection of her husband." (quote is from an uncorrected copy and may change in the finished version.)Steldor, the man who the king wants Alera to marry, is not a very likable individual. He boasts, struts, and all other manner of verbs that act but do not inspire. Alera is very much opposed to marrying him but ends up not having much of a choice in the matter which was distressing to read as things progressed. I admit he does get better, but in almost a way that's too forced to believe. The other thing that was distracting were the words themselves. The writing was bogged down in descriptive detail that in between whatever the characters may have been saying we got a run-down of what they were wearing, the room they were in, and where that building was in respect to the rest of their realm. I appreciate world-building, and I love to know detail when it's something that enhances what someone is saying or if it hints at things to come but not repeatedly as it ends up being distracting.While looking into the book, I found that Cayla was 14 when the book was first written. I'm curious to see how her writing has progressed since then and how her editors will treat the second book in the series in comparison to the first as the story is there, it's just the rest that needs polishing. For that reason I'm going to continue the series when the next book, Allegiance, is released.