I should note that, as with Dark Hollow, I obtained a copy of this book for free through Goodreads’ First Reads feature.
I don’t have much to say in terms of introduction so let’s jump straight to the review.
Dark Legacy picks up right where Dark Hollow left off, with Tabitha going to meet her father, a prominent politician in Caska. Although she is initially pampered and treated with the utmost respect, as is the way of so many other stories of this type, all is not as it seems, and for Tabitha, betrayal hits close to home.
On some level, I don’t mind cliche plots as long as they’re well executed. The problem with Dark Legacy is that it’s not well executed at all. Although the writing has improved since the last book, it’s still awkward and dull. One particular scene of note is the scene in which Tabitha encounters Katie, a pregnant teenager being cared for by her father’s underlings. I was under the impression that Katie’s dialogue is supposed to indicate that she, like many teenagers, talks a mile a minute, but the way her dialogue is presented is just plain confusing on the level of “I don’t know what the heck is going on here” I had to read the passage at least three times to make sense of it. Occasionally the prose does become a bit purple, in a notable case, Antoine’s description of Tabitha’s mother when she was young, with long white hair and golden brown eyes (a description that could have come out of an anime or the sort of fanfics you probably wrote as a teenager) made me laugh, it just sounded so ridiculous. The book also suffers from the same problem that plagued the last book, namely that characters don’t act like you would expect someone in their age group in their circumstances would act.
As with the first book, Dark Legacy suffers from a major case of telling instead of showing. We’re told, for instance, that the townspeople speak highly of Tabitha’s father, but also that they are afraid of him, because of course. The way to make a “Town/Political Entity/Pet Rat with a Dark Secret” plot interesting is subtlety, a sort of “wrongness” that lurks in the back of the protagonist’s mind until it’s too late, and they’re caught in it. Unfortunately Dark Legacy doesn’t even attempt to do that, it’s blatantly obvious where the plot is going.
As if the uninspired writing and the cliched plot weren’t bad enough, the book also has some glaring formatting issues. For instance, I noticed Berton was accidentally rendered as “BertOn” (with an accent on the O) as if the author replaced the character in MS Word with the wrong symbol. Once wouldn’t have been much of an issue, but this typo showed up about six times in one chapter, which is something an editor really should have caught. Some of the chapter titles are written with numbers rather than words (Chapter 18 instead of Eighteen) which is again something an editor should have caught. I also noticed that the “About the Author” section is identical to the one on the back cover of the first book. This wouldn’t be an issue normally except for the fact that it kept the line about this being her first book. Again, they aren’t huge issues but they are definitely jarring.
While I have definitely read worse, Dark Legacy certainly isn’t on my top ten list or even my “so bad its good” list. Between the awkward and dull prose, cliche plot, and general habit of telling instead of showing, I’m not feeling compelled in the least to pick up the next installment in the series.