My Rating: 4 out of 5
THANK YOU TO NET GALLEY AND HARLEQUIN TEEN FOR ALLOWING ME TO REVIEW THIS BOOK AND GIVE MY HONEST OPINION
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...
My Review:This review is really a 4.5 stars. I enjoyed this story as much as Legacy, the writing was still exemplary, rich and absorbing while a darker tone took over the book towards the end as war engulfed Hytanica.
The only problems are with the story itself. Parts were slightly annoying and others had me cheering.
But firstly, lets talk about Alera. I still love her. I think she's completely inept at acting like a Queen, although when she is forced to head functions she does it well in a queenly manner. This surprised me as frequently her mother, the previous Queen comments on how much training she was given yet Alera doesn't appear to have received much. Outside of Palace functions, Alera falls apart. Her marriage to Steldor is a sham, more of a marriage of convenience. No matter how many times he tries to show affection she shies away, unready and unsure of herself and her feelings. Once or twice I thought she would cave in. Her narration constantly tells us that she's allured by his eyes and his scent however she's still holding on to her feelings for Narian and they haunt her.Steldor changes a great deal in this book. No longer arrogant and completely chauvanistic, he begins to show a great deal more compassion towards Alera. Now that they're married he believes that eventually she will drop her guard and allow him into her life as her husband. He forgives her actions and her rudeness with selflessness, and this alone lead me to believe that Alera would forget Narian and actively become the queen that Steldor dearly wants by his side.Narian is not in this book a great deal, but he is constantly in Alera's thoughts. When they do meet there are only a few sparks of their love. I felt a little let down here as I wanted a little more secret romancing between them but it was mainly just a few words here and there. Nothing greatly concrete to make you understand if his feelings towards Alera had changed or remained as they were.A few problems I had with the story was repetiveness. Towards the end, in the cave scene, the constant toing and froing between talks with the enemy was wearisome. London went to meet the Overlord and came back, then he went again and came back, then someone else went and came back. Plus Steldor being sickened from his gruesome wound dragged the scenario out for too long. Yes, I understood that this was vital for Alera to grow up and become a stronger woman but did it have to take so long?Also, when Miranna went missing Alera showed grief in short, sporadic moments but then her thoughts flittered to Steldor or Narian and I wondered how she could be thinking these things when her most beloved sister was being held, possibly tortured, by the enemy.In the beginning we see Alera as a spoilt brat. She sits in her room for days, crying and reclusively shying from her public duty but by the end she's definitely a different person with responsibilities so great that the future of Hytanica now rests on her shoulders.I can hardly wait for Sacrifice to come out to find if Alera is up to the challenge!
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