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Monday, February 27, 2012

Allegiance by Cayla Kluver

Release: February 28, 2012

Others in the Series: Legacy (book #1)

Source: HarlequinTeen Panel
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....

Allegiance was a rollercoaster ride, full of ups and downs, plot twists, and character development. When I turned the last page, I was shocked to discover how much had transpired over the course of the novel.

Traditionally, the second book in a trilogy (or even a series) falls just short of the first book. The initial enjoyment of that first book is hard to rival. Allegiance, however, is an exception to this supposed rule. It was, in my opinion, far superior to Legacy. The characters, the story, and the setting were all far more vivid and lively. I easily found myself lost in Hytanica, Alera’s home and kingdom, often finding the story reminiscent of some of my favorite high fantasy novels like Goose Girl and Brightly Woven.

A reoccurring concern of mine was Kluver’s tendency to tell rather than show. Though she often devoted a great deal of time to describing a particular event, others seemed hurried, more summary than development. In some cases, such as the escalating war with Cokyri, this was rather frustrating. Such a momentous event, in my opinion, deserved far more time and attention. Yet, the majority of it was surmised in a few lengthy paragraphs. I would have happily traded some of the length of the post-war story for a more detailed account of the actual war.

Though I found myself far less enthused near the end, either due to exhaustion from staying up late reading the night before or from the length of the novel, I still greatly enjoyed Allegiance. The final pages made up for the tiring trudge that led up them and already have me looking forward to the next (and final) novel, Sacrifice.

4 stars

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