Legacy by Cayla Kluver
Release Date: April 15, 2011
Recommended for: teens and young adults who enjoy slower paced, longer novels and political intrigue
Summary: As Crown Princess of Hytanica, Alera is expected to marry someone who is suitable to become King by her 18th birthday. This is arguably her greatest duty as the Crown Princess, and one she struggles with greatly to fulfill. Years earlier, a devastating war had taken place between Hytanica and Cokyri during which 49 infant Hytanican sons were taken. The mystery is why, and why were only 48 bodies returned while one remained missing?
This sets the stage for Princess Alera’s life and her duties as the future queen. She is expected to marry a certain young man, but despises him for his character. Mysteriously, a Cokyrian boy is found in Hytanica and the unsettled peace between Cokyri and Hytanica begins to unravel, along with Alera’s life.
I was not expecting to like (no, LOVE) this book as much as I did. Cayla Kluver writes extremely well for a very young author, unexpectedly so. Her writing is rich in descriptions and details providing a clear window for the writer into Alera’s world of privilege. Except... maybe it isn’t so privileged as one would expect.
Alera is a very strong heroine, but not the type one would normally expect to classify in that sense. About half of the plot is her internal struggle to follow her heart or her sense of duty to her kingdom. The second half deals with the volatile political situation. Her concerns and internal conflict are so realistic, that it’s difficult not to relate to her during her struggle which gives the reader a sense of claustrophobia at her lack of appealing options. It’s no surprise that she feels so stifled all the time.
I don’t want to give away anything, but I adored the love plot as well. I thought it was so beautiful to see the contrast between how she is treated by her love, as opposed to other men she interacts with in life. It was refreshing to see this kind of respect and devotion being given to her (at this point in the series) in a romantic relationship.
This is what really struck me as extraordinary about this novel were the underlying themes Kluver successfully wove in to her story. It’s an enjoyable story on its own; filled with romance, betrayal, and danger. But Kluver raises the issues of the role of women in society and how they are treated, as well as how to fufill one’s duty.
This brought to mind the Greek story of Antigone and how she struggled with her roles in both the public and private sphere (if you aren’t familiar with the story, look it up) in the same way that Alera tries to discern what choices to make in her life. For these reasons, I felt the book deserved 5 stars. Kluver also writes with wit and clever lines, which had me chuckling at various points while I was reading.
I noticed a couple times that some of the words and phrases were either improperly used or so poetic that they were confusing. I also felt that many of the chapter breaks were awkward and ended at, what seemed to me to be, fairly random places. There were a couple holes in the plot that didn’t appear to have been well planned, but nothing significant to the storyline (and they are perhaps things that may be fleshed out in the next two books). But these are minor complaints in comparison to the book as a whole.
I was provided a Kindle copy of this book through Net Galley.