“You and I have many enemies between us,” he says at last. “I guess we’d better not die anytime soon. It would be a great waste of a legacy.”
Title: Legacy of Kings
Author: Eleanor Herman
Series: Blood of Gods and Royals # 1
Publication: August 25th 2015 Harlequin Teen
Source: Author signing at ALA
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
When I read the summary of Legacy of Kings I knew that I was going to have to have it. Thankfully, when I was planning for ALA Annual this year I saw that Eleanor Herman was going to be doing a signing at the Harlequin booth, damn strait I put it in my agenda with a crap ton of highlighting. I was able to grab a copy, meet Eleanor and chat for a little bit, it was awesome!
I am going to try and keep this a spoiler free review even though I want to break it down, I don’t want to ruin this book for anyone who wishes to read it after seeing this review. Truthfully, though, due to the length and the sheer number of characters, you can bet that I won’t cover everything in this review, anyway.
I don’t know how else to say this but there is a lot of stuff that happens in this book. It was too much too fast, I had a hard time processing it all as a whole and trying to make sense of it. I had to break stuff down, read through each part of the novel as if it were a separate entity, and then move on so I could get a handle on what was actually happening. This book could have been separated into an entire series on it’s own. Why did everything have to happen so fast? Not only that, though, there were a crap ton of different point of views. We have Katerina, Hephaestion, Alexander, Jacob, The Queen, Zofia, and Cynane. Now, that is seven different voices all trying to tell different parts of the same story – do you see how confusing that could get? Thankfully, and I have to give Herman some props for this, all of the character details stayed straight and nothing was overlapping to the point of confusion. She might have had a lot of different voices to keep straight, but she did an outstanding job of it. Don’t get me wrong, some are better and seemed more thought out than the others, but characters didn’t suddenly change physical descriptions, mannerisms, or goals – and I find that to be a wonderful talent.
I am only going to talk about two characters, the two that I actually enjoyed and cared about. The first of which being Katerina. She is the first character we are introduced to in the book, the first chapter starts off with her chasing a stag through the woods in this sort of race that only they know they are in. As a bit of background, she grew up in a small village under the care of her best friend, Jacob’s, family after her mother’s murder. Kat, as she liked to be called (which makes absolutely no sense in the historical setting of this book) is starting to realize that she has a magical connection with animals. I found that to be really interesting, and I think it was part of the reason I liked her so much – besides her wit, logical reasoning, and just her personality in general.
Next, Alexander. If you know your history or anything at all about the Macedonian Empire, you know that Alexander was the young heir to the throne. Now, I have no idea if this is historically accurate or not, but Alex has a damaged leg from birth which causes people to treat him differently or lesser than they should due to his high status. This treatment because of his leg only makes him strive more and work twice has hard as everyone else to be better than them at what they do, and he is actually quite good at it. He can hold his own in a fight, even with his limp. I didn’t mention his disfigurement just to make this review longer, how he feels about his leg is actually a huge part of his character arc. When the book starts off, we learn that he is planning to go off on a quest to find the fountain of youth because he believes it will heal his leg.
As I have said before, things move far too quickly. It only takes a chapter for Kat and Alex to really end up at the same place, which is far too fast for my taste. I would have liked more development on both sides before they were thrust together. Kat ends up in the capital because of a tournament Jacob enters, and Alex is there because he has to be and because his best friend is also entered into the contest for the money. Now, in my opinion, I think the lead up to the contest and the contest itself could have been its own book instead of part one of this large novel. It would have given us more development in the characters, a chance to get to know them better even. Instead, when I read about Jacob fighting for his life, I could care less because I had no relationship with him yet. There are a lot of moving parts at work here. This entire book is like one giant mess of clockwork and tangled wires. Some parts work better than others, some parts are superfluous and confusing, and some parts are a complete waste of time and space. This is where I really had to start breaking things down to understand what was going on. Each chapter had so much in it pertaining to one character, and before I could process what was going on, we were in another character’s head dealing with an entirely different situation that wasn’t always relevant to the previous events. Don’t get me wrong, I still liked the book, I just didn’t like the fact that I had to focus so hard on everything in order to keep stuff straight. I just wanted to jump into the story and let it take me away, instead I found myself drowning in it.
Overall, though, Legacy of Kings is an enjoyable book. I can tell you this, I think the rest of the series will be different – a better kind of different. This is the first book in a series, which means a lot of what went on in this novel was just set up for the rest of the stuff to come – and that makes a lot of sense when putting it into context with what I just read. Eleanor Herman does a wonderful job of setting up the stage for what is to come while simultaneously leaving enough open ends to make you crave the sequel, no matter how convoluted it might get.