Published: June 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
e-arc: Courtesy of Netgalley and Harlequin Teen
"I noticed his eyes. They were blue, sharp and intense. Despite the youthful glows of his suntanned face, his eyes were cold and unfriendly, suggesting he had great experience in the world and was now expecting the worst."
In her seventeenth year, Princess Alera of Hytanica faces one duty: to marry the man who will be king. But her father's choice of suitor fills her with despair.
When the palace guard captures and intruder—a boy her age with steel-blue eyes, hailing from her kingdom's greatest enemy—Alera is alarmed…and intrigued. But she could not have guessed that their clandestine meetings would unveil the dark legacy shadowing both their lands.
In this mystical world of court conspiracies and blood magic, loyalties will be tested. Courage won't be enough. And as the battle begins for everything Alera holds dear, love may be the downfall of a kingdom.
Alera, our main protagonist, is 17 when the book starts and the story covers the year up to her 18th birthday. Rather a lot happens in that year and we are given the chance to get to know Alera fairly well. She leads a very sheltered life in a kingdom where women are pretty much arm decoration, and it becomes easy as the book progresses to feel sympathy for her situation.
The two male protagonists, Narian and Steldor were interesting. I was feeling mighty conflicted over these two and couldn't make up my mind which I was rooting for. Steldor is an unsympathetic, conceited, good looking soldier, and Narian is a stranger, good looking and an enigma. Steldor's intentions are clear right from the very beginning, but I disliked his behavior intensely, whereas Narian's behavior is fine, but his intentions are clouded from the start. Very intriquing.
I loved the bodyguards, London, Destari, Halias and Tadark. I'm sure we will see more of them in upcoming books, and I look forward to learning more about them. London in particular - there is a major mystery going on with him that I would just love to get to the bottom of. Alera's younger sister Miranna is very sweet and her budding romance with Temerson is just so cute. So many characters, so much going on, not least of which is a mysterious prophecy that could be about Alera and Narian, but perhaps not. Trouble is coming and the tension becomes palpable as the story goes on.
It seems that Cayla was only 15 when she first wrote Legacy. Way to go Cayla! This was an amazing book anyway, but factor in her age when whe wrote it and it is doubly so. There is quite a lot going on in Legacy, but a lot of it is set-up for a following book. We have lots of time to get to know characters and for scene setting. There is something about young authors and their use of language - Christopher Paolini comes to mind here - they seem to use very flowery language, which sometimes seems a little forced. Almost as if they're trying to use as many words from the dictionary as possible. But honestly, this is probably just me, and I stopped noticing after just a short while and became engrossed in the captivating story.
Legacy's sequels, Allegiance and Sacrifice, will be coming out through HQTEEN respectively in winter 2011 and an as-yet undetermined date. (from Cayla's blog). I for one, can't wait to read Allegiance to find out what is going to happen. Sign me up for the next one!