Release date: Paperback June 2011
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Target audience: 12+
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Legacy is a richly woven historical fantasy novel – it’s fantastical in the sense that the story is set in a kingdom from the author’s imagination not a by-gone era. It feels medieval. But Legacy it isn’t a “magic” story. The sense of mysticism which pervades the story is a legend which foretells the downfall of the kingdom of Hytanica.
Princess Alera is turning seventeen and on her eighteenth birthday she will be wed and a new King will take her father’s place on the throne. King Adrik does not wish to lead his armies through another war and so is immovable in his deadline for a successor. Sadly for Alera the list of potential suitors is a list of one. Steldor is twenty years old, the son of the Captain of the Guard, a respected military field commander, charmer, handsome man and the most egotistical person Alera has ever had the misfortune to meet. She sees beyond his flirtatious charm and ability to manipulate people. She sees the conceited, arrogant and fiercely tempered man beneath and she cannot bare the prospect of marrying him.
The plot of the story is in part Alera’s journey towards the impending marriage and her attempts to find an alternative suitor or a way to release herself from her duty. The more fantastical plot elements lie in the hostile relationship between the kingdom of Hytanica and its enemy Cokyri. Alera was born just before the end of the war. As a woman, she has no place pursuing knowledge and so does not really understand how the war began. What she does know is the war came to an end when forty-nine infant boys were taken from Hytanica. Forty-eight were corpses were returned. But one infant remained missing and was assumed dead. But when he returns to his homeland, he is a mystery that no one can solve.
The story is sumptuously detailed with the author describing the fine clothes, the rooms and the castle environment. Sometimes it felt excessive and did not help me visualise the scene. I needed smaller, more evocative details. Rather than list the smells in the market place for instance, I would rather had one particular detail explored so that it felt palpable. But despite this, I very much enjoyed the book. I was desperate to turn the pages and found myself thinking about Alera’s plight when I wasn’t reading. Now I’ve finished Legacy, I can’t wait to start Allegiance. The ending of this book was certainly not what I was anticipating and I found that an especially rewarding reading experience. A great book for those who love rich historical fantasy.
Recommended for fans of:
- The Thief-Taker’s Apprentice by Stephen Deas
Source: Bought when I was on holiday in the USA.