Since getting an ereader for Christmas I've vowed to try e-books and Netgalley. The first book I was approved to read and have read is Allegiance by Cayla Kluver, the sequel to Legacy, which I absolutely adored.
Cayla's series is my guilty pleasure. Once I start a book I can't stop reading it. The magic, the world, the danger... It's all so enticing for me. I'm not a huge fantasy fan but Alera's world is one of my favorites to visit.
At almost 500 pages the book feels very complete. There is a certain story being told and it ends at the end of the book. You can tell however, that the overall storyline is not over. I never found that the story dragged. While every page wasn't filled with main events, I loved reading about every aspect of Hytanica and Alera's bickers with Steldor or her struggles with learning how to be Queen. Little by little the plot picked up until the satisfying end.
I like Cayla's writing style a lot. I felt like it's detailed without being boring and the writing is fun for me to read since it reflects Alera's upbringing. The words aren't always those of casual and everyday use so I found that fun. It's great voice.
The story itself has a bit of everything and it works. There's romance for the romance fans, war for the action fans, mystery for the mystery fans, and etc. There are definite themes I get from the writing (sexism is one of them) and I'm curious to see how Cayla will wrap it up.
Now on to my favorite part of the story: the characters. One of my English teachers once said that to love a book, you must love the characters. This has been true for every series I've ever adored.
This series has some of the most well developed characters I've ever read. Every character has a different side to them and they all felt so real. I need that in a story to get credibility, but this was something else. It feels like Cayla has this brilliant ability to see characters as people and so she writes all the layers of them.
Alera, for example, is our protagonist. She's different from the other girls in Hytanica. She's a bit more independent, a bit more stubborn. But she's NOT a warrior queen. She's not as independent or as resourceful as she could be. She lets people protect her. Though her character desires true equality of genders, she never really does much about it. This would be infuriating except for the fact that it's more real for Alera to desire something like that but not know what it means in a society where men are dominant, than to be some crazy warrior queen. She's taking steps and maturing. She makes rash decisions, but there are also moments where she shows true strength. I'm not sure if I've explained this well but the complexity is one of my favorite things about this book. Every character has it.
All the good stuff being considered, there is one thing I don't like and that is entirely up to my personal preferences. There is a love triangle and I don't think it feels clichéd here since it's needed for the plot. My issue is that I'm supporting the guy that's going to lose. Well, I assume by reading Allegiance he will lose. There's still hope, right? Anyway, that makes me sad because I really like this character, and his growth. He's definitely not perfect but I can see him being a good match for Alera if he got the chance. This isn't really a complaint against the book, it's more something I wish would happen. At the same time it does factor into how much I enjoyed Allegiance. I'm not going to hate the series now or never read the sequel, it's just my one little nitpicky complaint.
All in all, I like this series a lot. Allegiance caters to all my tastes and it's a real page turner. I liked it even better than Legacy and I'm going to be sad to read the end of this series. It's very hard to review Allegiance since there's so much in it, but I'll end off with just encouraging readers to give the series a try. 4.5 stars,
**** & 1/2 *