Review: Legacy by Cayla Kluver

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Title: Legacy
Author: Cayla Kluver
Genre: fantasy, young-adult
Series: Legacy #1
Pages: 492 (Nook version; NetGalley uncorrected arc)
Published: June 2011
Source: publishers via NetGalley
Rating: 2/5

I had high expectations before going into this novel by young Ms. Kluver. When you hear of a teenage "phenom" publishing a popular 500 page fantasy tome, it's hard not to imagine the feast of imagination awaiting your pleasure. And while Cayla Kluver has some talent, and definitely shows room for improvement with practice and experience, a fourteen year old girl simply lacks the empathy, the experiences and depth to create an authentic and real feel to a novel. Particularly concerning the romance of the lead character Alera, aspects of the novel never appeared genuine or believable. A feel of just "something missing" is present in the novel: it simply lacks the polish and finesse an older author can instill in a story.

Age gripes covered and aside, Legacy starts off quite slowly. The first hundred or so pages  dragged along with little within the book to distinguish it, taking sheer determination for me to muscle though to the interesting parts. Far too much time, detail and description is laid out for clothes, feasts, the appearance of the palace, what Alera is wearing, etc. The plot, the pacing and the characters are completely mired in extraneous, superfluous details for much of the novel. Adding to those woes, at times the story itself seems trope-ish and stereotypical of a fantasy novel, with forced arranged marriage with an insufferable military man, the mysterious, dangerous youth/foreigner with hidden powers, ridiculously impressive/resourceful bodyguards, a stalwart sidekick, etc. These characters (Steldor, Narian, London, Miranna, respectively) create a large varied secondary cast, but one that ultimately fails to develop individually. None of the aforementioned characters really grow or even change throughout the dire events depicted in their country. Such static development really drives me crazy, especially when the option to create flawed, real characters is available. Particularly with London and his checkered, mysterious past, I felt that the opportunities for his character were ignored or shunted aside for a less compelling side-story.

The wording and phrasing of the narrative as well, needs to be mentioned, The writing itself can be stiff and embarrassingly awkward. At times, both Alera and her omnipresent sister Mira speak to each other in such an unlikely, manufactured manner during an extended dialogue that I had to laugh. At times it feels as if Kluver grabbed a thesaurus and decided to randomly jam adjectives into any sentence shorter than ten words. The benefit of the excess of words is that the problem of "tell not show" is nowhere in sight. Kluver excels at descriptive writing, when she can reign in her wilder impulses.

Some things I did really enjoy about the novel were the unique and differing customs created for both Hytanica and Corkyria. Opposing a strict, almost feudal patriarchal society against a religiously matriarchal society creates an interesting debate within the book: do you cheer for the sexually repressive country of Hytanica against the bloodthirsty but sexually-liberal Corkyria? The grey areas of the novel -- Narian's allegiance, London's past -- are by far the most compelling and compulsively readable. I also enjoyed the relative dearth of magic throughout the novel. Instead of being a major plot point, using the prophecy as a support reinforces the focus upon Alera and the very tangible troubles of her country.

The ending, let us talk about the ending. I was astonished at the -- let's be kind and call it a cliffhanger-- at the end of the book. There is no great traumatic event or some such, in fact, it feels ABRUPT and rushed in a way the rest of the book did not. Cutting off almost randomly, but barely laying the pretext for the next novel in the series, the closing part of Legacy was one of my least favorite endings EVER. I most likely will not be continuing this series as it is published (I believe book two Allegiance is due out later in 2011) as too many of my personal reading pet peeves were present. So I will just wish Ms. Kluver continued literary success without my own personal financial support.


  1. Sorry the book didn't turn out to be what you'd hoped for, but thanks for the honest review.

    I have to say that I'm a bit over-full of fantasy even though it is an enjoyable genre. I'd like to see more realistic YA being reviewed, but I'm biased because that's what I write mostly and what I find interesting to read a lot.

    Hope to see you at the WriteGame sometime in the future. Happy 4th.

  2. Wow this is on my TBR pile, the reviews for this novel are not looking good, thats too bad it sounded so good.

  3. clee: I've just learned that teen authors never ever live up to the hype. Happily, this one does have talent and I have hopes for improvement! And what have you written? I go through phases with genres. I just finished a YA dystopian trend and am looking for a new wave to ride.

    Nattie: yeah, sadly, it just doesn't seem to be able to deliver what it promises. Oh well! :)

  4. The premise and plot sound interesting. I wonder why you would choose to publish so young? But then again, if I had finished a book at that age, I think I might have done so as well.

  5. I think they were trying to use her age as a selling point, a la Christopher Paolini. It is a bummer because aspects of her novel were good and interesting, but overall lacked depth. I'm just curious why Harlequin decided this one was good enough to publish. -shrug-

  6. How gorgeous is that front cover! :)

    Thank you for your honesty :)

    Blethering About Books


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Copyright © 2015 Ageless Pages Reviews. All Rights Reserved.

Amelia Theme by The Lovely Design CO and These Paper Hearts.