Robert Beveridge's Reviews > Legacy

Legacy by Cayla Kluver
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's review
Sep 15, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: finished, owned-and-still-own, amazon-vine
Read in September, 2009

Cayla Kluver, Legacy (Amazon Encore, 2008)

For its first release, Amazon Encore has picked up Legacy, the first novel by sixteen-year-old Cayla Kluver. Originally self-published, the book created enough buzz that Amazon picked it up, and here we are. And while it does have a few flaws, I can understand the decision; Legacy is wise beyond its years, well-paced, and impeccably plotted. More to the point, Kluver tackles one of those questions I absolutely adore when dealing with fantasy (or any other kind of) literature: how do you handle creating a sympathetic main character when your main character is on the side of the bad guys?

Alera is the older of the two crown princesses of the Kingdom of Hytanica, which has been at war with the Kingdom of Cokyri for a very long time. They have existed the last seventeen years in an uneasy truce, ever since the mass kidnapping of forty-nine Hytanican infants—and the return of forty-eight bodies. Now, Alera's eighteenth birthday approaches, when her father expects to marry her off to the most eligible man to be the king. After all, women are incapable of holding power in Hytanica; only men can. And her father's pick is Steldor, son of the Captain of the Guard and an insufferable egomaniac. Her life seems destined to play out the way her father and Steldor want it to until a Cokyrian is found on Hytanican lands for the first time in seventeen years. Eventually the obvious occurs to someone. But it is through Hytanican-born, Cokyrian-raised Narian that Alera learns that not all the world is like Hytanica...

It should be entirely obvious that there's an underlying message here, and while message does get in the way of story now and again, the most impressive part of the book is that those times are few and far between. Kluver, in fact, handles this part of the book better than almost every writer who's tried to do something like this I've read in the past few years. Better, while the characters are stereotypical in some ways, they are well-developed and react in realistic ways. Stick all this in a plot that is in no way original (and let's face it, how much of fantasy literature has been original in the past couple of decades), but is solid, and you've got yourself a potential winner. Then make sure that when the book finally does get moving, the pace is swift enough to keep the reader turning pages, and I fail to see how the book won't be a bestseller. If you're a fantasy-lit fan, give Legacy a try. I, for one, will be greatly looking forward to the next two installments in Kluver's trilogy. *** ½

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