Mara's Reviews > Legacy

Legacy by Cayla Kluver
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Dec 08, 11

bookshelves: fantasy, romance
Read from December 03 to 08, 2011, read count: 1

In writing this review, I will try to keep the Author's youthfulness in mind, but I confess that even with that continuous fact, Legacy isn't a book I would recommend. Four hundred and sixty-two pages long, the book shouldn't have taken as long as it did to finish, and the reason for my proverbial dragging feet is the plain fact that the book drug its own feet - and continued to do so even when I picked mine up. The prologue promised an interesting enough storyline, and I realize that this is only the first book in a series, and because it is, Legacy ought to have offered a whole lot more than it did. I was so bored by events that I am seriously questioning whether or not I am going to read the rest.

It wasn't just the lack of storyline, though; there were the characters. Alera is a heroine difficult to sympathize with. She causes most of her problems by not effectively communicating her objections. Alera does usually have legitimate complaints, but rather than discussing situations with a cool head, she dissolves into crying and flinging angry accusations. In short, she doesn't help herself. And then her character just becomes flaky as more and more young men are introduced into her life. She hates Steldor, but then she starts to not mind his company too much - and even gives in to his kisses, while still insisting that she hates him. And she has every reason to hate Steldor. He's a genuine toss-pot, completely enamored with himself, flirtatious to a degree that very well borders on sexual harassment and assault, and has a violent temper that makes him a prime candidate for a wife beater. So why doesn't Alera suspect that he's just being manipulative when he starts being a little nicer to her? Good question! And that's why I brand her as being flaky.

The other characters are, at best, dull. Steldor is fun to hate, true enough, but in making his despicable, the Author goes overboard with his egotistical ways, and then has to do a clumsy back-pedal when she wants the Readers to feel a little sorry for Steldor as the book goes on. If she is trying to convince the Reader that Steldor really does love Alera, it isn't convincing, because from the very beginning of Chapter One, the Author sets him up to be a completely despicable character, with not an inch of him to like. I did not mind Narian too much, because I admit that as a Reader - and author - mysterious characters who keep to themselves attract my interest, but then when romance blooms between Alera and Narian, he becomes just as dull as everyone else. Romance just doesn't suit quiet, mysterious characters with tragic backgrounds - not unless the writer handles it very delicately, and in this case, it wasn't handled thus. For one thing, Narian seemed far to sensible to fall for a girl as careless and young as Alera, if he were to fall for anybody. Also, there was the king, who the Reader, I think, was supposed to view as an overall kind father who cared about his daughters, and yet his actions when it comes to Alera's objections over Steldor don't show this. True, Alera doesn't do a very good job explaining to her dad that Steldor is creepy and clearly just wants to bed her, but a kind and caring father wouldn't just say, "Whatever your objections are, they aren't legitimate. You'll marry the creep because I like him or else." If the Author wanted such behavior to suit the king, then he ought to have been a hard-nosed father; not one who professed to care for his daughter's happiness. A wise and good king would see Steldor for what he really was. About the only character I truly liked consistently was London, Alera's bodyguard, whose disregard for chain-of-command isn't out of arrogance, but practicality. If a situation is urgent, London goes to the immediate source, and if his superior isn't taking the correct course of action, he isn't afraid to say so.

Then there is just the overall unbelievability of certain situations. I realize that in worlds entirely made up by the Author, one can design one's kingdoms, societies, and things like that to one's fancy. But, if it is to be believable, even fiction writers must obey certain rules, and one of the main ones when concerning monarchy is the very real fact that a Crown Princess would not be allowed - and certainly not encouraged - to marry the Captain of the Guard's son. Marriages among nobility/royalty were mainly for political gain - lands, money, needed allegiances and troops that would accompany said allegiances, and to keep the royal bloodline purely of the nobility and not peasantry. Just because Steldor shows battle prowess would not outweigh the fact that he was the Captain of the Guard's son, and hardly a title of which to speak. Princesses were betrothed to dukes, earls, princes, and others of equal standing. Even in a fictional world, one cannot ignore the natural laws and desires of royalty, and their desires were political. There's also the free manner in which the bodyguards act with members of the royal family, saying whatever they please to their monarchs and their monarch's children, and even talking back to their superior officers. Sorry, it just wouldn't happen.

And then there is the writing. I dearly wish that Cayla Kluver had waited several years before publishing Legacy. She ought to have stashed it away for a while and then looked it over when she had gained that experience and maturity which comes with growing up, because I really do think Legacy had a lot of potential, but because she didn't wait her youthfulness shows in her writing in all of its aspects - characters, plot development, and descriptions. Here is a book which is bursting with copious descriptions of dresses, hair styles, shoes, jewelry, jerkins, trousers, shirts, cloaks, undergarments, and hats. If a character has changed their shirt since their previous appearance in the book, don't worry - you'll get a full picture of its color, cut, and even how many wrinkles there are. There is a time and place for wardrobe details, and clearly the Author thought it was necessary to do it every time. That's a sign of youthful writing; I know that when I was younger I loved describing what everyone was wearing, and it's a good way to practice writing! But don't include it in your actual published work. The fact that Alera seemed older than her seventeen years at times, and then much, much younger at others, also displayed a lack of maturity in the writing, as did the sudden appearance of big words to replace more common ones. And it wasn't in dialogue, when a character whose idiosyncrasy might be to use unusually large words.

All in all, I wasn't satisfied with Legacy. Given a few more years, it could have been good, and maybe as she matures, the Author's writing will mature with her; I see potential in her writing career if she gives herself time to develop in that area. But Legacy, I am afraid, falls flat of being interesting.
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12/03/2011 page 52
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Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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message 1: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West I read an excerpt of this book a long time ago when I came out and I had forgotten about it. It sounded pretty good though. Tell me if you like it or not.


Mara I will. It seems like one of those books that will either be very entertaining or very horrid.


message 3: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West That's what I thought too :) I'm just tired of reading books about girls right now. I ordered His Majesty's Dragon from the library last night so hopefully, I will be getting it soon. I need a good guy/war novel right now. :)


Mara There's a female character that makes an appearance later in His Majesty's Dragon, but she is completely awesome.


message 5: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West I don;t mind female characters as long as they are cool :) I mean, I have my own in my books as well, but I never put in the dumb ones :P I'm usually good, unless it's all about a girl character. It just depends on the mood I'm in at the moment.


message 6: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West Yep, that's pretty much what I thought this book would be like ;) It sounds like you had the same kind of experience with it as I had reading the Twilight books. I wonder if she had put it away for a couple years if she would cringe over it like we did our older things?


Mara Yeah, it was pretty wretched. It's too bad, because as I said in my review, it had a lot of potential if only she had waited. The characters could have been very good if she had allowed them to mature before presenting them to the public. I may give the second book a try in the future, because she was older when she wrote it, and maybe the story and characters improve. But right now, I can't handle Alera again - she's too flaky.


message 8: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West Yah, I know what it's like to hate a character so much you just can't stand them anymore (Bella) ;) But her next book might not be bad, and then if it is, well... I guess that's just the way she writes.


Mara I haven't even read Twilight and I can't stand Bella. ;D I'll let you know when I brave "Legacy"'s companion.


message 10: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West Haha, then I hope I don't have to tell you NOT to read Twilight unless you want to throw up. I hate to say that because I have friends who like it, but yet, I have to say it, because it's true. I can't believe I actually got to the third book. I think I was like "well, can it really get worse, really???" and it did. I think that is why I can't stand to read a book with a girl protagonist anymore unless it's a book I have already read and enjoyed. I hate to say Bella ruined me like that but she really did. I had to read a bunch of war novels and westerns before I was even sane again. Seriously. Hopefully someday I will be able to read books with female protags again, though only if they are cool, strong girls.


message 11: by Mara (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mara *laughs quite hard* Oh, don't worry - I won't EVER read Twilight. The only vampire book I have ever read - and ever intend to read - is "Dracula," for I'm afraid the Twilight franchise has entirely put me off vampires AND werewolves. It's understandable that a female protagonist such as Bella put you off other female protagonists quite violently. That's part of why I will never read them, no matter what my friends say.


message 12: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West Haha, yah, well, I decided that if I was going to knock them, I had better know what I was talking about. And I must say, reading them has definitely helped me in my arguments. ;)


message 13: by Mara (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mara I can't fault you for that; I did the same thing with the Inheritance Cycle. You can always make your point far better when you know more than fans - or at least just as much.


message 14: by Hazel (new)

Hazel West Well, It's always been said to know your enemies ;)


message 15: by Mara (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mara Oh, indeed! Quite true; whoever first came up with that saying was a genius.


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