Series: Blood of Gods and Royals #1
Author: Eleanor Herman
Published: August 18, 2015 by Harlequin Teen
(Amazon / Goodreads)
Synopsis: Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.
Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to newcomer Katerina, who must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But Kat’s first love, Jacob, will go to unthinkable lengths to win her, even if it means competing for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet fiancée, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.
Weaving fantasy with the salacious and fascinating details of real history, New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known: Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.
**** I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion. ****
I really wanted to love this book. It seems like a total "me book." I'm a sucker for Greek mythology and ancient history plus YA fantasy is my kryponite so this had all that together. With the historical setting of the Hellenistic period and lots of fantasy elements and magic, this should have been the perfect book for me. And while it did have some really great elements, in the end it was just okay for me.
I also really loved the fantasy elements of this book. You could actually argue that a lot of this was also based on the actual history. This is a culture whose every day life incorporated spiritual, and arguably, magical elements. It seemed perfectly natural to read about talk of oracles, the Gods interfering in daily life, and sacrifices. A few of my favorite characters were the ones who had a direct tie to the more magical elements of the story. And we've only scratched the surface of the magical system, the history, and the prophecies at play here. This book really lay the groundwork for that part of the world and I know that will be a bigger part of the series as it develops.
Five Stages of Bookish Grief. I figured it out pretty early on, which in and of itself isn't a bad thing but the reveal didn't happen until much later and it started to feel frustrating. The character was doing a good job of searching for clues, which I always like, it's not like the narrative was telling us to pay no attention to the mystery. But instead every time I thought she was going to find out the truth something outrageous would prevent her from getting verification and it got to be frustrating and like it was taking away from the general plot develop. But that plot development too was a bit muddled.
You see there are a lot of moving parts here. The book is told from seven different perspectives. Fantasy novels love doing this, don't they. They like showing us all different sides of the story and letting us connect with all different characters, That's exactly what happens here. There's no clear antagonist or protagonist because each character is one or the other at different times. I usually love that. You get to know them on a deeper level and it gives them a really odious nature. That did in fact happen and for some characters it was a really good thing and made them complex and interesting but it also got in the way of connecting with them, especially hen it came to the exposition part of the story. Many of the perspectives overlap but it isn't until the very end until they all come together and until then, the constant change in perspectives was a bit overwhelming.
But in terms of the characters there were definitely some really great ones. Arguably the two main characters are Alex (a young Alexander the Great) and Katerina or Kat. They both had really interesting storylines that incorporated most if not all of the other POV characters in some way. Kat's desire for knowledge, and let's face it revenge, was compelling and she had some good character development. Alex too had some great development but to a lesser degree. I think the book would have been perfectly engaging if it was just those two who took center stage. But then we wouldn't have had my favorite perspective, which is Cyn. Her storyline was fascinating and I wish she got a bit more of the limelight. Then there were other characters whose perspectives don't seem to fit in yet. I liked Zofia's storyline, it was definitely interesting but it doesn't make sense to the larger story yet and I think would have been better suited as a novella at this point and then added to the larger story when it fit with the full narrative. Same thing with Jacob, although he did fit into the central plot. In general the characters were interesting and complex.
On the whole Legacy of Kings was an entertaining read. It suffered a bit from First Book Syndrome but I am interested to see where things go with the series. Many elements didn't work for me like the mystery and the constantly changing perspectives but it also had a lot to like including a great historical setting. an interesting fantasy world, and complex characters.
Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. But if you are not a fan of books with lots of point of views you may want to pass on this one. Fans of historical fiction. especially if you like historical fantasy or fantasy should check this book out. It had a lot of really great elements especially in terms of the setting and world-building.
Have you read Legacy of Kings? What did you think? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. It was great talking with some of you about it on Twitter when I finished reading so feel free to chat with me there about this and other things. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!