Review: The Legacy of Kilkenny (Legacy series #1) by Devyn Dawson
Abel Casey gets more than he bargained for during his junior year of high school when the mysterious and gorgeous Prudence Phelan, known as Pru, moves to town. Not only does he learn that she is a werewolf, but Pru also reveals that he is the Great Wolf, a supreme Alpha werewolf destined to rule above all other werewolves. Pru, who has prophetic dreams about the future, has been assigned to be Abel’s personal trainer, and she, along with fellow Pack member, Oakley, begin teaching Abel all there is to know about the secret world of werewolves. Abel has to quickly master their lessons before his first shift, for if he is not properly trained, he risks losing his soul. Other threats emerge in the form of a menacing vampire named Arien and a fellow Pack of Irish werewolves, but the biggest threat to Abel’s happiness is the knowledge that he will have to die at Pru’s own hand in order to become the Great Wolf.
- Title: The Legacy of Kilkenny
- Series: The Legacy – book #1
- Author: Devyn Dawson
- Prominent Characters: Abel, Pru, Oakley
- Recommended reader age: 12+
- Sexual content level: light
If nothing else, a stroll through the pages of The Legacy of Kilkenny will make you want to become a werewolf and join a Pack. Devyn Dawson spends a delightful amount of time describing the ins and outs of what we’re told is one of the strongest werewolf Packs in the world, Pru’s own Pack, which is run by her father, General Phelan. As expected, the werewolves in The Legacy of Kilkenny howl as a group, enjoy nothing better than a hunt in the woods with a fellow Pack-mate, and destroy everything they are wearing if they shift from human to wolf while clothed. In a lot of ways, the werewolves in this story are fairly traditional; they cannot disobey a direct order from the Alpha, they are magnificently larger than a regular wolf, and while in their human form, still retain much of a wolf’s superior sense of smell and hearing. One thing that is notably different about Ms. Dawson’s werewolves is that they all originally descend from Ireland. Pru, in particular, has spent time tracing her family’s lineage back to Ireland itself, which is where the Legacy of the Great Wolf comes from.
Of all the characters, Abel was my favorite, and he is clearly the star of this book. Nearly all of the action centers around his journey in becoming the Great Wolf and realizing the Legacy born out of Kilkenny. When the story begins, Abel is nothing but gawky, childish, and insecure clumsiness. However, as he becomes more and more integrated with the Phelan Pack, we see him becoming mature, physically stronger, and capable of leadership. Not only does he put on muscle and become more coordinated with his body throughout the course of his training with Oakley and Pru, Abel also develops some almost superhero-type abilities. For example, Abel is able to leap so high, it is almost as if he is flying, and he can tell who has been in a room only by smelling the scents in the air. It’s wicked cool. Also, Abel’s closeness with his family, despite all the craziness surrounding him, is touching. He and his sister, Allie, in particular, enjoy a relationship that is more tender than a lot of teenage boys could tolerate.
Speaking of relationships, the one to note is the romance that blossoms between Pru and Oakley. Unlike a normal teenager, Pru has to worry about releasing pheremones along with tell-tale blushes whenever she’s around the extremely fit and handsome Oakley. Of course, Oakley just happens to live with Pru while they work on the task of protecting and training Abel. Of course. It’s a bit contrived, but still makes for some fun scenes full of romantic and sexual tension. The one in the pool house where Oakley surprises Pru when she is naked after having just shifted back to human form is definitely fun. Yet due to the fact that The Legacy of Kilkenny is YA, or young adult, there isn’t any explicit sexual content. The most heated descriptions of romance concern some enthusiastic making out, but anything beyond that is merely gently hinted at.
While the plot is fun, and the characters interesting enough to keep you reading until the end, the biggest difficulty I had in reading The Legacy of Kilkenny was its distressingly inconsistent writing style. Throughout the entire book, the verb tense switches back and forth from present tense to past tense, often in the same sentence. An example of this is when Abel is describing Pru’s effortless grace, and he says, “She reminds me of the band conductor the way she moved.” Sentences like this appeared over and over again and, ultimately, frustrated the hell out of me. For the most part, the writing remains in present tense, which complements the plot’s fast-paced nature. The faulty grammar (there are numerous run-on sentences, for example) and verb tense issues weigh the writing down and tripped me up many times. It worries me that so many of these obvious errors were not found and corrected during the book’s editing process.
On a more positive note, I absolutely loved how the story vascilated between Pru’s perspective and Abel’s persepective. Not only did this allow me to see everything that was happening while Abel worked hard to become the Great Wolf, but it also allowed me to become more attached to Pru as a character. Allowing her to speak in first person kept her from becoming a strictly mysterious and distant teacher-figure; Pru’s voice as she narrates can clearly be heard, and often made me laugh. In fact, the dialogue and inner thoughts of either Abel or Pru are probably the book’s strengths, from a writing perspective. Ms. Dawson has a fantastic grasp of teenage sarcasm, and it is peppered throughout the Legacy of Kilkenny.
Oh, to be a teenager with a crush…
Shane and I are walking out to his car when I hear Pru calling out my name. This girl is planning on giving me heart failure before the day is up.
“Hi, you’re Abel right?” She holds out her hand to me and the other one pulling the rubber band out of her hair letting it flow over her shoulders.
“Uh, yeah” I say trying my best not to sound special needs.
Boys like girls with long hair.
“So, I noticed you looked around, did you see the girls all looking at you?” Pru grabs the carnation out of the vase, methodically pulling off the ruffled petals one by one.
“Well, I noticed them pointing and laughing. I don’t think it is me being hot, but I do know my gun show is pretty impressive. Whatcha think Bryon, do you think I’m hot?”
“You’re aight but not really my type.” He laughs. “Maybe if you grow some boobs and let your hair grow out I’ll reassess my feelings.”
If you liked The Legacy of Kilenny…
The Legacy of Kilkenny, in several ways, is reminiscent of the Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer. Both The Legend of Kilkenny and the Twilight series are YA, which means there is no explicit sex or gross amounts of violence. In Twilight, a teenage girl meets a mysterious and gorgeous boy who turns out to be a vampire, and she quickly become enmeshed in his supernatural world. And like in Twilight, there is a romantic triangle that develops in The Legacy of Kilkenny.
Although the plot line is very fun and the world of werewolves well-described, the badly edited writing style of The Legacy of Kilkenny was a major buzzkill. Also, the ending falls a little flat; all the black and white intensity of Abel’s fate (Can he hold onto his soul? Will Pru kill him? Does he take over the werewolf world?) waters down to a bland shade of gray. It’s as if all the high stakes energy at the beginning of the story take a nap about two thirds of the way in and only wake up in time before the ending to sleepily resolve everything. At the same time, I did enjoy the romance between Oakley and Pru, and it was developed excellently without distracting from the main story of Abel’s transformation. If I picked up The Legacy of Kilkenny and casually flipped through it at a bookstore, I would be intrigued, but would ultimately decide, “Meh, whatever.” and put it back on the shelf.
Rating: 3.0 HeartsThe Legend of Kilkenny
http://www.devyndawson.com (Author Devyn Dawson’s website)
http://www.stepheniemeyer.com/twilightseries.html (The Twilight series website by Stephanie Meyer)