Review: Allegiance

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: AllegianceAllegiance by Cayla Kluver
Series: Legacy #2
Published by Harlequin Teen on February 28, 2012
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 494
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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four-stars

Only I saw Narian for who he truly was: a young man with courage and an independent mind, and made to pay for what was outside his control. He couldn't help his past any more than he could help the way those intense, deep-blue eyes pierced me and held me captive.

An eighteen-year-old queen in love with the enemy as their countries pass the point of no return...

Bound to a man she cannot love, Queen Alera of Hytanica must forget Narian, the young man who holds her heart. For Narian is destined to conquer Hytanica at the behest of his master, the powerful magic-user known as the Overlord. Alera doesn't truly believe Narian will fight against Hytanica-until Cokyrian troops attack with Narian commanding the charge.

Faced with the greatest betrayal a heart can know, Alera must set aside personal feelings and lead her kingdom through its darkest time. And when all hope, will and courage seem lost, she must find strength and remember that even the blackest night must have a dawn....

Okay, so before I can talk too much about Allegiance, I need to talk some about Legacy, since I can now do so without spoilers. When I prepared to read this book, I realized my memory was fuzzy, because, well, it’s my memory. Anyway, I tried reading my review, but that was less than helpful, because I didn’t want to spoil anything and concrete facts were what I needed.

Last night before bed, I reread the last couple chapters of Legacy to brush up. Anyway, that reminded me both of the things that I loved, and the things I didn’t. Basically, the main character needs to stand up for herself more and the society needs to be more open-minded. What I loved so much about Legacy, though, was that Kluver did something I did not expect. She married the heroine off to the guy you didn’t want her to marry, the guy she didn’t want to marry.

Obviously, this made me sad, but I also loved it. Why? Because usually in fiction, the princess manages to get out of her arranged marriage and marry the guy of her dreams. Examples include Aurelia and Entwined. No such luck here. This seems a lot more realistic. I could not wait to see how Kluver was going to handle this, since it’s not like she can just divorce her husband, the king. Pretty much the only way out of this will be to fall in love with him (which sounds tricky what with him being such a playboy) or for him to die. Either way, I knew some serious drama was in store.

Okay, so now that I’ve read Allegiance, I find myself entirely satisfied, except that I don’t have the final book, Sacrifice, in my hands right now. How will I wait?!?

Alera is much the same as she was in the first book; she still frustrates me no end sometimes. From her narration, it’s obvious that she is an intelligent, powerful woman, but she doesn’t see that in herself. She spends a lot of the book crying and throwing the grown up equivalent of temper tantrums. While normally this would lead me to dislike a book, here it just shows what the Hytanican society can do to even the best of women. Simply disgusting the way their women are treated and undervalued. However, by the end, Alera is finally starting to realize that she’s a force to be reckoned with, so yay for that.

The romance aspect of the book felt like Kluver was playing tug of war with my heart. Just when I had switched to supporting one guy, I would then be tempted to switch to another. Ahhh! Mostly, this was seriously frustrating, but in as good a way as possible.

Mostly, though, what I think I love so much about this series is the fact that I cannot predict what will happen much of the time. The fact that I can’t see things coming makes the whole thing such an emotional thrill ride. Kluver’s definitely defying some of the standard YA plot lines and putting the characters through hell. Love it!

Fans of YA fantasy will likely adore The Legacy Trilogy as much as I have, especially people who have enjoyed Tamora Pierce novels.

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