Sunday, August 30, 2015

Review: Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman

Title: Legacy of Kings
Author: Eleanor Herman
Series: Blood of Gods and Royals, Book One
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published Date: 1 September 2015
Buy: Amazon | The Book Depository | Dymocks Australia

I received this book through NetGalley from Harlequin Teen for review.

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 fiancĂ©e, 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.
(summary from Goodreads)


Eleanor Herman's Legacy of Kings is definitely deserving of its 'epic' descriptive and is for fans of history and fantasy.

Legacy of Kings is a strong historical fantasy, full of heroes, villains, magic and battles. It's an immersive read, with Herman portraying real skill in creating a vivid world. Macedonia and Persia have truly been brought to life throughout this book, and these worlds, their people's cultures, are fascinating and allow for so many adventures. As is usual of royal courts, deceit, manipulation and betrayal abound, and Legacy of Kings has it in spades. Tension runs high right through this book as we learn who we can and cannot trust. Bonds are formed and broken, dark deeds perpetrated, secrets revealed, magic learned and battles fought. Every moment had an air of high stakes to it, certainly a lot of it was life or death, and Herman tied it all together neatly, keeping us wanting to read. Only to end in a way that has us eager for the next book so as to discover more answers! There isn't quite a cliffhanger here, but Legacy of Kings ends with suspense high and more questions than answers. There's no doubt we're in for a lengthy and tumultuous journey as this series continues.

Legacy of Kings has quite the cast of characters. The chapters bounce between the point of views of seven different characters - Alexander; Hephaestion, Alex's best friend; Katerina, a village girl with a secret mission; Jacob, a village boy out to prove himself; Cynane, Alex's half-sister, full of anger and vengeance; Olympias, the Queen, who has a dark agenda; and Zofia, a Persian Princess betrothed to Alex and desperate to change her destiny. Every single one of these characters are on their own journey, connected in some way, and it makes for an interesting read. With so many point of views, Herman allows readers to experience much more of this world. Certainly it means learning more that any one point of view alone would allow. For this reason I didn't totally mind the excessive number of point of views. In saying that though, at times I felt like there was too much of one when I wanted more of another, but I'm sure it'll come together in later books. The biggest downside for me was that I never connected with any of these characters. I didn't feel that any of them had a truly distinctive voice so that one resonated with me over another. Honestly, I was a little disappointed with Herman's characters as a whole. So many idiotic choices and childish selfishness that had me rolling my eyes or sighing in annoyance! Especially Heph, which saddened me. I so wanted to love him! It was great seeing some growth as the story progressed though, so I have hope. For the most part I did enjoy Alex, Kat and Heph's relationships and Cynane's story. I'm intrigued to see where she goes. For now, the story of Legacy of Kings, its history, action, magic - and awesome mythical creatures! - made this book worth reading.

Herman's world building is great, her story imaginative and atmospheric, and this will have me coming back for more of this series.

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