I will be the first to admit that being a blogger comes with some pretty awesome perks. I won’t got into detail, because sounding like a superficial blow-hard is no fun for anyone, but let’s just say that among other things…my wallet is very happy. BUT…being a blogger also comes with a significant amount of stress. For example: making sure you post enough content to keep your readers happy, or agreeing to review a book by a certain date, and then realizing (3 days before the review is due) that the book you agreed to read is the 3rd in a series. I’ll let you guess which category this falls under.
Assuming you picked the second (because you are basically a genius…right?) let me explain how exactly I ended up reading three 500 page books in a matter of 3 days (and very obviously did not sleep.)
Some of you might have figured out by now that I am a participant in the Amazon Vine program. This is a program created (by Amazon) to solicit reviews of products for their huge list of retailers. The products range anywhere from chips, to toothbrushes to…(you guessed it) books. Obviously, I usually pick the last. Anyways, about a month ago I agreed to review one of the books you see here, Sacrifice by Cayla Kluver. Normally…I am really good about checking a book out and making sure it’s not a 2,3, or 4 in a series I have never even cracked a book on. This time? I was hypnotized by its cover. (Yes, I know…shame on me.) I DID read the synopsis, but to be honest…nothing really said “Hey, you daft girl…I’m part of a larger story!” so I jumped on the bandwagon. Sign me up! It wasn’t until weeks later, when I grabbed the book from my TBR pile that I took a closer look.
“Oh shabby monkey nuts!” I very eloquently yelled from the foyer of my house. “I think I recognize this cover art!” (Yes…the same freaking art I was so captivated by before I even agreed to read the novel now released it’s voodoo hold and a lightbulb went off.) So I took the book, stomped over to the desk, and began to research.
It took 5 seconds, a 1 click to realize my mistake.
But I’m no quitter! So I purchased books 1 and 2, said goodbye to civilization and got to work. The end result? This collaborate review. (Because why exactly would I introduce you to the last book in a series I’ve never even mentioned before?)
In the interest of saving everyone a little time (and because I smell like sweat and dust from cleaning all day and a shower would be grand right now) I’ve decided to start this review in the most direct way I know how:
These books irritated the living crap out of me.
They weren’t bad (and thank the Lord I had them all to read at once or I may have committed suicide) but in the 4 years I’ve been reviewing, I have never wanted to punch a character in the face (with my foot) as much as I did the lead character of this series.
Do you know that girl? The one that is incredibly strong, despite her situation. Refuses to let custom dictate her future, but makes every horrible choice possible? That is Alera of the Legacy Trilogy. I love strong women. I am personally encouraged by those that make a stand, defend their beliefs. But as a person who thrives on the joys of common sense, I found myself cringing in disbelief at the decisions made inside these novels. Yes..there is a love triangle. Yes, there is a war. Yes, people are dropping like flies around you, and your family is in a state of constant fear. I understand fully the trials and tribulations of your current predicament. What I don’t understand, is your need to challenge EVERYTHING. Choosing your battles does not make you weak. It makes you smart.
Alera’s constant need to thwart everything in her path becomes cumbersome very quickly, and despite myself (and because of this trait) I found myself agreeing with her (totally egotistical, douchy, but ultimately loving) betrothed on more than one occasion. Speaking of her betrothed (and I use that word to keep from spoiling anything) I liked him. Putting aside the fact that he is a total asshat from the very first book, he has more growth that any other character in the series. Growth that his father (my favorite player in the entire story who I would later go on to blabber over like a 2 year old lost in Walmart) hinted at very early on.
Ok, let’s back up.
In Legacy, Alera has a very difficult time with one of her suitors. She insist that he is pig-headed. Doesn’t know a thing about love, and has some very screwed up priorities. This suitor’s father (realizing that the match is going horribly awry) addresses Alera stating simply that: he will change, all he needs is perspective. One crazy war (that includes some pretty rad magic) and a near death experience later…he becomes a fairly decent guy. A guy that Alera is still a total B towards. (*ding ding* bad choice.)
Book 1 also boasts her betrothed’s nemesis. A nemesis that Alera instantly falls head over heals for. (Go figure.) A nemesis that I, even after 3 books, don’t really trust…or like for that matter. I blame this entirely on character building. Whether it was a lack of focus or a lack of total growth, the fact of the matter is…I didn’t believe their love story. His fighting technique, his tortured past, and his crazy ability to climb into her room every night by scaling the roof? Sure. His undying devotion to her? No.
This led to a huge disconnect for me. It also made book #2 (Allegiance) the best book in the entire series. (FYI – If I was to base the entire review on the second book, it would get 4 stars.)
Because this is where everything comes to a head. The fighting, the secrets, the look at a desolate future. Book two captured everything that book one should have. Which brings me to book 3. The most…abstract of them all.
Unlike in Legacy and Allegiance, Sacrifice (the book I agreed to review in the first place) was not just about Alera anymore. Instead it was about Alera and Shaselle. A character that was barely mentioned up until this point. So imagine my bafflement when she suddenly (and inexplicably) has her own line of narration. Narration that actually dominates the majority of the book. For the first half of the novel, the companion narration makes zero sense. Sure…she has a sweet little (totally rebellious) story, but the reason for Kluver’s branching out is unknown. Instead it just feels like a lame attempt to add more depth to the plot. It isn’t until the last few chapters (when Alera leaves the kingdom and we still need to know what is going on) that following Shaselle makes any sense, but I ask you this…was there not a better way to handle this? Carrier pigeons? Smoke signals? Some weird African clicking language? It just seemed (to me) to be a little too much. As interesting as her climbing out windows, drinking herself into a gutter, and trying to steal horses tirade was, I think trying to add her as a lead (when she was otherwise ignored) came across as a little desperate.
Now…all that said (which appears to be a whole lot of negativity) I do have to give Kluver credit where credit it due, and that is her plot. Notwithstanding my utter irritability with the characters (minus all of the elite guards who I freaking LOVED!) the story behind them was exceptionally entertaining. Two kingdoms, hellbent on destroying each other because they have a difference of opinion when it comes to who deserves respect? (Men vs Women.) Who wouldn’t like that? Add in a little magic, some jealousy and one big batch of “I told you so” and what you get is three 500 pages novels that go by in the blink of an eye. Not once did I feel stalemated, or like I was on the treadmill of backward motion. Instead the story had a fairly quick gallop in the forward direction at all times. (Even when they were stuck in a cave eating nothing but gruel and babying a recent kidnap victim.)
All in all…it could use some improvements, but I didn’t want to gouge out my eyes with an a salad fork, so I call that a win. (For me…I kinda like my eyes.)
This one is a toss-up. If you like historical fiction with a flair…chances are you will enjoy it. Everyone else, spend your money elsewhere.
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: People sometimes act big because they feel small.
The only book trailer that I could find was for book #2 so watch if you dare.