Title: The Carnelian Legacy
Author: Cheryl Koevoet
Sold by: Abbott Press
Publication date: February 4, 2015
Genres: Science Fiction, Romance, Mystery
*ARC provided through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
Summary from Goodreads:
Marisa MacCallum always believed that the man of her dreams was out there somewhere. The problem is—he’s in another dimension.
After the death of her father, eighteen-year-old Marisa's life is on the verge of imploding. She seeks comfort on her daily ride through the woods of Gold Hill, but when a mysterious lightning storm strikes, she is hurled into the ancient, alternate dimension of Carnelia where she is discovered by the arrogant but attractive nobleman, Ambassador Darian Fiore.
Stranded in a world teeming with monsters, maniacs and medieval knights, Marisa is forced to join Darian on a dangerous mission to negotiate peace with his cousin and archenemy, Savino da Rocha. Along the way, she starts to see Darian's softer side and finds herself falling in love. But once she learns that he is locked into an arranged marriage, her heart shatters.
When Savino falls for her charms and demands her hand in exchange for peace, Marisa is faced with an impossible choice: marry the enemy of the man she loves or betray them both and become the catalyst for a bloody war.
In the midst of grief, Marisa is literally thrown into a parallel universe. Understandably, she’s a little emotional. On one hand, I liked that Cheryl Koevoet addressed Marisa’s grief in the story, but on the other hand it felt like Marisa spent the whole book in confusion and tears. We hear about how she was a leader in her high school, and was always a good student, but the evidence of that is hard to find in the book. It was difficult for me to understand why all the men keep falling in love with her, except that she’s supposed to be beautiful. I liked the male roles better. Darian is a good guy, chivalrous, caring, and trying to do what’s best for his country (though I’m unconvinced he needed to keep some important things to himself for so long). Arrie is a great example of a male friend who doesn’t need to be a love interest. He’s funny, lighthearted, and generally the cheery-relief needed in an otherwise somber atmosphere.
The love triangle with Savino felt a little silly. While Marisa is drawn to his magnetism, it’s obvious he’s not a good person. Marisa’s decision about marrying Savino is more of a political vs personal choice in the end, so it never really felt like a real “love” triangle.
The mix of medieval and syfy is a fun combination. I enjoyed Koevoet’s world building – parallel universes, knights, beasts, and royalty were all fun elements. The story concentrates more on the romance, which is ok, except that the book is 450 pages. The first half was exciting, while the second half was drawn out with romantic misunderstandings, misgivings, and a strange turn with Marisa attempting her life (Because she can’t be with the man she loves? I don’t think Marisa was actually this unbalanced. The suicidal thoughts felt more like a plot vice to include some faith-related revelations). I think some content could be cut to make the book more compelling. While I enjoyed the book, it was difficult for me to like Marisa, the twist at the end was not really a surprise (Koevoet hints heavily to the conclusion), and some elements of the love story suspended belief for me. So, I’m a little torn with this one.
Would I let my teen read this book?
The Carnelian Legacy is really clean with Christian themes. Marisa has a return to faith in the book, and Darian depends on his faith and trust in God to help him rule his kingdom. There are some nice discussion topics about grief, faith, and trust. I might have some complaints, but there are good elements that make it a nice recommendation for teens.
Age recommendation: 13
Language – none
Drugs & Alcohol— Characters drink wine and ale in a medieval-like tradition - it’s not abused
Sex – Several “passionate kisses” – that’s exactly how their described
Violence – Characters fight off big-foot and yeti-type beasts
My Goodreads rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Buy The Carnelian Legacy on Amazon.com
I read a lot. I'm a Mom. I'm officially in my 30s, but strangers often don't believe I'm old enough to drink. I love Young Adult fiction, and thought it was worthwhile to help teens and adults find age-appropriate options.