The Legacy Trilogy, by Cayla Kluver, is a fascinating fantasy story about two countries on the verge of war. Oddly enough, I read the third book in the series prior to the first (or second). It is a testament to how fascinating I found the storyline that I went back to read them in (semi) order.
The story focuses on two countries—Hytanica, a country run men where women are brought up to be subdued, proper, and silent; and Cokyri, a country where women are the authority and are brought up to be brutal warriors—that have never been on good terms. The war that they’d been waging against one another stopped as abruptly as it began, and Hytanica was never sure why the Cokyrians ceased their violence. All the Hytanicans knew was that 49 male infants had been stolen from their homes in the dead of night and, on the eve of the cease fire, 48 bodies had been returned.
Only 48. Out of confusion and fear, the Hytanicans never pursued where the last child went or why the Cokyrians had taken the children to begin with. But now, when a young boy is caught in Hytanica and confesses that he was brought up in Cokyri but then is discovered to have been born to a Hytanican family, everyone begins to question what happened and why. Even more importantly, they sense that the cease fire they had experienced many years ago may dwindle back into war.
Princess Alera, the daughter of the king and queen of Hytanica, is preparing to take over the throne on her next birthday. With her turning of 18, her father expects Alera to marry a man befitting the crown. Since she is “only a woman” she cannot run the country and, therefore, must marry someone who will make a righteous king. But there is a major problem: the man her father wants her to marry, Steldor, is insufferable and arrogant, and Alera cannot stand to be in the same room with him.
She attempts to evade her father’s requests for her to marry Steldor, but Alera knows that if she can’t find another man he finds acceptable she will be forced into this marriage. Just as Alera is beginning to feel trapped, she meets the mysterious boy who was stolen from his cradle as an infant and taken to Cokyri. Lord Narian is the complete opposite of Steldor. Quiet and contemplative, Narian respects Alera and listens to her with interest—something that growing up a woman in Hytanica she is unused to. But how can she trust him enough to give him her heart? This boy, who fights like their enemy, and at the age of 6 began his military training? Could this be some sort of ruse? And why can’t Alera stop thinking about him in the dead of night?
The three titles in this trilogy are Legacy (#1), Allegiance (#2), and Sacrifice (#3). While at times the descriptions can become unnecessarily lengthy, the plot and characters keep you reading and wanting more. It is the type of story that leaves you thinking about all the different ways it could have played out (which for me is the best kind!). If you enjoy intricate fantasy stories, with a twist of romance, this is the series for you.