4 / 5 Stars
Exciting and imaginative, but slightly over-kill at times.
I'd enjoyed Caraval (with a few minor reservations) so was pleased to receive a copy of Legendary for review. Above all else, the first book had finished on such a whopping big cliffhanger that I wanted to know what the heck was going to happen next!
The second in the series focuses on Tella (the younger sister) rather than Scarlett. She's the more feckless and impetuous of the two, and she's on a hunt to find her lost mother, who went mysteriously missing when she was a young girl.
A strange 'friend' helping her in her quest actually turns out to be someone very different indeed; as does Dante, the handsome man who seems intent on following her around the world of Caraval. The big question is - will she rescue her mother or will she choose another route instead?
Let's start with all the positives. I loved the fact that the main character was Tella rather than Scarlett. For me, Scarlett was one of the weaker aspects of the first book, and Tella's feisty, no-nonsense behaviour was refreshing.
As with the first, there's lots of creative concepts too. I can only guess that the author has a big thing for fashion, because many of the most imaginative parts involved the costumes that people wore. I liked the addition of the Fates, with their different identities - though must confess, initially it felt a little bit 'winched in' because they'd never been mentioned in the first book. And as with Caraval, it was very fast-paced and interesting; I certainly wanted to keep turning the pages.
There is a but though, I'm afraid. I found the romantic relationships problematic in the first book, and just as problematic in the second, sadly. There's more than a hint of the predatory about several of them; and there are a lot of stereotypes in play here - the typical 'bad boy turned good', the 'heartless guy who would never fall in love with anyone but happens to fall in love with the main character' and so forth. I'd have loved to see these well-trodden tropes completely smashed apart - however, I appreciate that this is a YA book and that sort of thing probably goes down well with a younger audience.
Also - the final reveal of who Legend was? I apologise, but it actually made me cringe a bit. It was so obvious that I'd presumed it couldn't possibly be... but lo and behold! Ah well, it doesn't matter too much, it was just a shame and spoiled it a bit for me.
But overall? If you enjoy fantastical books with a sprinkling of magic and creativity, this series is well up your street - it's fun, fast-paced and highly inventive.