Title: Live Like Legends
Author: Kate Cornell
Genre: Fantasy Romance
Audience: Young Adult
Length: 400 pages
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: June 1, 2020
Recommended for Fans of: Serpent & Dove
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?
This fantasy romance employs the arranged marriage trope with Kalista unexpectedly marrying Carson, a man with whom she does not share a language or customs. As a reader, we are dropped right into the wedding, with no build up or backstory.
Kalista was an easy to read narrator. I really enjoyed her banter with Emmet, the priest who served as her tutor and translator. Their friendship was a highlight of this book.
I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in the romance. There were some really sweet moments that made me swoon, and I especially appreciated the efforts Carson made to court Kalista even though they were already married.
I would have liked more character development. Kalista tended to be very negative and a bit of a pushover. She is not the strong-willed heroine I’m accustomed to in YA fantasy, despite her assassin training. Carson’s character development was a bit flat because of the language barrier, and the broken communication grew annoying as the book progressed. I wish we had an opportunity to get inside his head, but I understand why this reflect’s Kalista’s point of view.
I also thought the fantasy elements and the mystery surrounding the monster were underdeveloped and confusing. Kalista spends the entire book trying to learn about the monster and its magic by reading her ancestor Ronaldo’s journals, but she doesn’t find many answers. The villains’ plotting was revealed too late in the book, and while it was a good twist, I never fully grasped the motivations behind it, and the delivery was confusing.
I overall enjoyed this easy and quick read with a cute romance, even though the world building and storytelling were rather simplistic. I think this will appeal more to romance readers than fantasy readers.