Sunday, October 2, 2016

*Spoiler Free Review* Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman.

I am a history nerd, I have been all my life. I adore historical fiction. So when I heard that a published historian was writing YA historical fiction novel, one with some fantasy overtones, I could not contain my excitement. I devoured every new piece of information we got. I pre-ordered it. And then it sat on my shelf for weeks. What can I say, I'm human, my TBR pile is more than 600 books, I can't pick up every single book I'm excited about right away. But I did pick it up. And I truly enjoyed it. 

I'm talking about Legacy of Kings, the first book in the Blood of Gods and Royals, by Eleanor Herman.

(Look at this cover, amazing. I want a poster of it, desperately. I love it.) 

Here's the 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 a newcomer…' 
Katerina must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But she doesn’t account for her first love… 
Jacob will go to unthinkable lengths to win Katerina, even if it means having to compete for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince. 
And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet betrothed, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters. 
Weaving fantasy with the shocking details of real history, New York Times bestselling author of Sex with Kings 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.
 When I first started reading this I was drawn in by the characters of Katerina and Jacob. I loved them immediately. Katerina's narrative pulled me in right away, and I wanted to keep reading from her perspective, she is funny, kind, calm, and interesting. While I liked Jacob as a character, and as a friend to Kat, his narrative wasn't necessary. But there is a romance that takes place between them (hope that's not too spoiler-y), and it is moving and steamy.

Which leads me into the main issue I had with this story, it has just short of a million perspectives. I'm all for multiple POVs, but this book had about two too many. The story just got confusing, and the tones of the characters doesn't vary that much. The female characters especially were difficult to keep separate. They're all strong women with secrets, and they kind of ran together. They also felt disconnected, and would pull you out of the story. When you would switch from one perspective to another I would struggle to remember the things that had happened to that character before, and would often mix events together. Hardly any action felt like it was taking place because as soon as something would start, you would switch to a different.

It was just hard to keep track of so many characters. This really took me out of the story, and was one of the few things I didn't like about the book, but was certainly one of the reasons it took me so long to read.

After Kat and Jacob, Alexander was probably my next favorite character. His life contrasts nicely with most of the other narratives, and his story is the one most based in historical fact--as he was a real person that we've heard of before. He comes across as very capable and goodhearted, which is another thing that sets him apart from most in the world Herman has written. He contrasts well with Katerina, and I think Alexander and Kat would have been sufficient POVs.

I think my biggest problem with this book was the loose ends and lack of answers. I think this was due, in large part, to cramming so many stories and perspectives into the book. There was no way to answer even partial questions for that many people. The story started off slow, picked up, and them ended abruptly. I'm absolutely continuing with this series, and I have Empire of Dust pre-ordered.

The story itself was compelling and rich. It was unlike anything I've ever read before. The majority of the book follows conversations, not so much physical battles, but it's interesting, and you can truly fall in love with some of the characters. 

I ended up giving this 3.75/5 STARS. Don't let that 3 fool you, it was good. Almost four stars, but I couldn't commit because of the few issues that I had. I do recommend this book though, to anyone who likes history, fantasy, and/or magic. Just maybe make a flow chart for the characters?

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