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Published by Entangled: Teen on June 1, 2020
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Format: ARC, eBook
Princess Kalista has known her role from birth. She's spent her entire life preparing to be the socialite wife of a prince from a peaceful kingdom. But on her big day, she is shocked when she is instead forced to marry the warrior prince of a cursed land, who is as cold as the wintry kingdom he'll one day rule.
Carson has a throne no princess wants to share with him. An immortal beast ravages their land, and he’ll do anything to stop it, even marry a complete stranger on the day she was supposed to wed her betrothed. Let her hate him for it, but Kalista is his only hope for peace.
Kalista knows she’s just a pawn on the chessboard of politics, but now she’s expected to kill an unstoppable creature because of some legend about her bloodline that Carson believes as truth. He trains her how to fight, and when lessons in swordplay lead to lessons in love, her destiny puts more than just her life at risk.
How far is she willing to go to save the prince she never wanted…but can’t imagine living without?
The author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review.
Trigger Warnings: blood and violence (from a monster), trauma (after being attacked), cruel parent
Live Like Legends sounded like something right up my alley and was interesting, but it wasn’t enough for me to finish the book. I DNFed Cornell’s debut at 66%.
I like how this focuses on the language barriers between Kalista and Carson, and how they have to work on communicating around that barrier. It’s not something I find in fantasy all that often and much of the novel is describing the body language used while communicating, which was vital to the book’s execution. Cornell utilizes this very well; there isn’t a moment that I’m confused about what Kalista and Carson were trying to communicate with each other.
While Cornell describes body language well, some of the word choice used in Live Like Legends is awkward. Some of it, I feel are intentional to the story as Kalista is shown to be ignorant early on as she is frustrated with the language barrier; she slowly changes as she begins learning how to navigate the various customs in Estral. Other times, like the quotes below, felt awkward and irritating.
“Snarl growl bark!” Carson spit out words so angrily and quickly, even if I knew some of them, I couldn’t catch them.
Carson isn’t specifically saying the words “snarl growl bark;” it’s what he sounds like to Kalista, who is barely at elementary proficiency and can only catch a few words when spoken at normal or slow speed. While I understand the intention of doing this, it could have been better as a description than dialogue.
Carson isn’t the one training her as the synopsis says. Emmett is. I don’t know if this is an accident or if this happens near the end, but up to where I stopped, Emmett is the one training Kalista on how to fight. And to add on to this, the pacing is slow, as Kalista was still in training when I stopped reading Live Like Legends. I’m not sure how long this will continue, but it feels like the ending is going to rush up and wrap up quickly.
Speaking of Emmett, I loved him! Kalista is quick with her words sometimes and funny, but Emmett is super blunt about his thoughts and he’s funny. He’s probably one of the only reasons why I read as far as I did.
The world-building is kind of, sort of there. Instead of the prince she was being prepared to marry, she gets forced to marry a prince that no wants because she is their savior from the beast that roams their lands according to a prophecy. Readers aren’t aware of what this prophecy says exactly. There’s also not much backstory of Reeves, where Kalista is from and who she was. We get snippets, but barely. We find out Reeves is a culture that seems to be a polar opposite from Estral, and that Kalista isn’t well-liked at home.