Author: Cayla Kluver
Series: Legacy #2
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publishing Date: February 28, 2012
Format: e-galley via NetGalley
Genre: Fantasy (YA)
Source: Provided by Publisher
Synopsis: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....
From the very first chapter, this book holds you tight and doesn't want to let go. I admit that I wasn't raving about book one, but somewhere between ending book one and starting book two, I found myself thinking... what happened to Alera and Steldor's marriage?...where exactly the plot was leading in that confusing final chapter?...and mostly what happened to Narian?!?! It turned out that I was hopelessly caught up in the politics and intrigue of Hytanica and didn't even realize it. So when I was given the opportunity to participate in the tour for the second book I was thrilled!
The writing style is fabulous, it makes me so envious of Cayla! She's like...19 or something and she can write like that! Wow. Just wow. She can build a carefully and strategically interwoven story that springs off the pages and captivates you with the abilities of a MUCH older author. In fact, Cayla writes a lot better than many authors twice her age. If this is the beginning of her career, I can't wait to see what comes our way as she gets older! Allegiance defies genres as did Legacy, due to the mostly historical romance plot mixed with just a sprinkling of fantasy.It's mainly a historical fiction...though both the history and the plot are fictional...it's just that the writing style reminds me of things like The Other Boleyn Girl and things like that.
Steldor becomes so much more of a person in this book! At first I wanted to sigh because he was his same old arrogant self in the first few chapters. (And I was absolutely shocked because he hadn't forced his wife into doing her "wifely obligations"...from what we have been lead to believe about him...he should have no problem with that kind of thing...) Still, as the book continues, you get to see more and more of his redeeming qualities and a surprising gentleness and tenderness that he shows Alera when she is nothing but hostile towards him. I actually found myself turning away from Narian and becoming Team Steldor!
There is a LOT that happens plot-wise in Allegiance. Kidnappings, plots, the discovery of true alliances, and battles...lots and lots of battles. Some of the senseless violence almost proved too much for me, as some of the characters I've grown to...if not love, care for...were killed brutally and without remorse by the truly evil Overlord. It was so gut-wrenchingly awful that it almost turned me against the book. I'm not usually one with a queasy stomach..but the way that the Overlord was just so unflinchingly maniacal...it was the worst! You want to curl up into a ball and just cry for Alera and the kingdom's losses. Seriously...traumatic! Luckily I was able to cope with all the devastation because Alera seemed to really grow into herself because of all the terror and trauma she faces. She becomes a true ruler of her lands and people and it was really something great to see.