Book Review: Cattra’s Legacy by Anna Mackenzie

21 Oct

Cattra's LegacyWhen Risha’s father dies and her holding is taken from her by the village leader, she decides to travel with the traders and find one of her father’s old friends. She doesn’t realize that the journey will bring her much more than she bargained for and turn her life on its head in ways she couldn’t imagine.

This was an excellent find at the library and I plan on purchasing my own copy soon. It had everything I like in a book: fiery female lead, politics galore, a hint of magic, an array of supporting characters, and a page-turning plot. It was well-written, too, with words and sentences that seemed to flow effortlessly, painting a beautiful picture of this world and the people who live in it.

That said, I knocked a star off my Goodreads review because it was a bit too much plot in too small a space. I felt like the information and events we were presented in this book could easily have been expanded to suit a trilogy rather than just one book. It was just 350 pages long, and covered over a year of important events that helped to develop the main character. I just think that some things could have been slowed down and explained more thoroughly if the author had been given more space to do so. I was often confused by the names of places and the people leading them and their place in this world. The politics were complex, which is excellent, but not enough time was given to explain them, and I was often confused by that as well.

There were also too many characters which I call “characters of convenience”–those that pop up to serve a purpose but are then discarded. Honestly, the “characters of convenience” in this book were realistic. If Risha were to experience what she experienced in the “real world” she probably wouldn’t see half the people she met along the way again… but as a reader, those characters take up space in my mind, not to mention space on the page, that would be better used by explanations of the things I named above. When the author has but so many words and pages to work with, it doesn’t make sense to waste them on characters that we will never see again. I’m talking Sulba’s family, Fenn, Clik… I just think the book could have been reworked to avoid these characters.

I was also confused by some of Risha’s actions and lack of action. For instance, when she decides to go along with a bunch of strange men and they’re just riding along and it’s ages until she asks who they are and where they’re going and what they intend to do with her. And when she realizes she’s safe, she doesn’t ask any questions at all–which just isn’t what I’d expect from her character at the time. Yes, she was a bit meek at the start, but she grows into herself pretty quickly and I’d expect her to expect more answers. She gets a lot of them in the end, it’s true, but they took forever to be revealed.

Lastly, the voice in her head. We never get a clear explanation of who this voice is, and though we’re given a pretty big hint, we aren’t told why this happens to her or what is causing it or how it works. Then suddenly she was able to talk to her cousin through her mind? And they don’t hash it out until ages after? I assume we’ll get these answers in the sequel, but I really would have liked to have them in this book. Perhaps I was missing something? I don’t know. But this is a prime example of what I mean when I said there wasn’t enough space for all of the elements of this story.

I know I’ve been pretty critical here, but like I said, I only knocked one star off for all this–this book was really, really excellent and engaging and page-turning, and you can bet I’ll be reading the sequel as soon as I can! I highly recommend this book despite these few issues that I had with it. And you should know I’m only super critical of books that I loved. Can’t wait for the next one!

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One Response to “Book Review: Cattra’s Legacy by Anna Mackenzie”

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  1. 2014: A Year of Reading in Review | More Than One Page - December 31, 2014

    […] Cattra’s Legacy by Anna Mackenzie **** […]

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