Author: Cayla Kluver
Hardback: 496 pages
Reading Level: YA
Published: June 28, 2011
My copy: Net Galley
My rating: 4 out of 5 wicked hearts
Blurb (from Amazon.com):
The first boy disappeared on the day of his birth, on a night when the pale yellow moon that ruled the sky turned red and bathed the heavens in the ghastly color of blood, the same night the Kingdom of Cokyri abruptly ceased its merciless attack.
Across the land of Hytanica, in the villages, infant boys continued to vanish. The King turned a blind eye somewhat foolishly, seeking no explanation, needing to refortify his Kingdom’s defenses for fear that Cokyri would resume its brutal onslaught. He was finally forced to take notice when children inside the city’s walls began to disappear. A count was made of the number missing, but before the King could determine what action should be taken, the disappearances stopped as suddenly as they had begun. The last Hytanican child to vanish was the newborn son of a wealthy baron and baroness.
Within the week, as the bleeding moon waned, the decomposing bodies of the infants were found outside the gates of the city, a final word from the greatest enemy Hytanica had ever known. Grieving parents collected the rotting bodies of their sons, but there was one mystery that would for many years remain unsolved. Forty-nine babies were taken, but only forty-eight bodies were returned.
No one knew why the Cokyrians had withdrawn from the land or why they had not been able to destroy Hytanica and her people. The Cokyrians were superior to the Hytanicans as fighters and strategists, and did not adhere to any code of honor in war, but still Hytanica had not fallen. Some thought the Cokyrians had abandoned the effort out of frustration, for they had many times been poised to win; others thought the Cokyrian rulers had finally come to believe the ancient story of Hytanica’s conception.
According to lore, the first King of Hytanica, seeking to protect his foundling home, had been advised by his priests that a sacrifice of blood both royal and innocent would hallow the ground and make his Kingdom invincible. After much soul-searching, the King had taken the life of his own infant son, and placed drops of the boy’s blood at each corner of the land to forever shield the people he loved.
My quick wicked thoughts...This book was a refreshing break from paranormal with historical fiction...romance...and cliffhangers!
Why I was tempted to read this...I am a lover of historical romance so I have been wanting to read this for awhile.
Cover thoughts...Love the cover, the scrolls and the elegant historical feel to it
Romance meter...The attraction is there, but romance was hard to come by because Alera and Narian were not allowed much time together.
Characters and plot...Alera is the daughter of the king and as such, must marry the person that is approved by her father to be a successor to the throne. Her father pretty much has her decision mapped out for her with his choice, Steldor. Steldor is arrogant, mean and cocky and Alera has never been able to stand him. In an interesting twist to the story, Steldor as a person, evolves in the book, and towards the end, I wasn't sure what to think of him. Alera is a strong character and her personality was not at all desirable back in the era that the book takes place, I liked that she stood up for what she wanted and tried to be involved in things the men in her life did not want her to be involved in. This book is pretty lengthy at almost 500 pages and it covers a year of time in the life of Alera, so there are lots of details and situations thrown at you. I found this book hard to put down because I had to know what happened because there were so many ways it could go...and the way it went...was shocking.
The ending...A shock...and a cliffhanger. I will leave it at that and I can't wait to read the next in the series, Allegiance.