Format: E-Galley | 384 pages
Release Date: August 18, 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Genre: Young Adult | Historical | Fantasy
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.
LEGACY OF KINGS is the first installment in what the author claims will be four books in the Blood of Gods and Kings series. I want to give this story all the stars. I really do. I loved the historical aspects, the world building, the characters, and the villains. I loved that Herman uses one of my favorite historical characters of all time, Alexandra the Great. Alexander permanently opened up trade between the East and the West and changed the face of warfare tactics forever. I loved that you really can tell that this story is set in 340 BC, and not a modern take on history, or a fictional one drawn up for entertainment purposes.
I loved that four out of the seven main characters (Alexander, Cynane, Olympias, and Hephaestion) actually lived during the time of Alexander. I loved that Herman has an affinity for researching history, and goes to great lengths to ensure that she is getting things right and not just arbitrarily making up shit as she goes along. I loved that Herman is or was an actual Historian who uses women judicially and doesn't just hold them in the background as pretty props to be smiled and and ignored. Fun fact that she provided was that 25 percent of women in Greece were warriors who stood alongside men and died bravely in battles.
There's not a whole lot to say about Alexander that hasn't been already researched and written about. I really, really hated Olympias. She truly was a witch with powerful desires that left Alexander swinging in the wind. I loved the friendship between Heph and Alexander. I forgave him for some rather silly moves due to the fact he was being played like a harp by Cyn. Yes, Cyn is a badass as well. She really was portrayed like history has written about her. She's not unlike an Amazonian warrior in that regards. She does make a whole lot of bad choices. But, I can definitely relate because she's not a person that is going to walk away without a brutal fight on her hands.
Katerina, Zofia, and Jacob are the fictional characters of this story. But, Katerina stands out by far because of her mission of revenge for the killing of her mother, her connection to both Jacob and Alexander, and hopefully, a bit of romance with yet another character. No, there is no love triangle which I was hooting like crazy over. I loved that she has a connection with animals, and apparently there is a prophecy which the author hasn't addressed fully yet. I loved that her appearance helps turn the tide of battle for Alexander, his first victory at Sixteen years of age. I also loved her determination, and strength when things don't go exactly as planned.
Jacob is a character that starts out as Kat's potential love interest. He eagerly wants to travel to and win the Blood Tournament where he hopes to then marry Kat. Jacob is a case study in a character that is left out in the cold, and then makes some strange choices, and decisions. One of those decisions caused me to hate him to the bone. Zofia is a Persian Princess who is "fated" to marry Alexander. Zofia, however, has other plans. Zofia doesn't get a whole lot of story arc. Not when there are 6 others who are just as important to the overall sequence of events. I kind of felt sorry for Zofia after everything she goes through. I am definitely hoping her story picks up in the sequels.
My favorite characters, by far, were Alexander, Katerina, and Zofia. I am happy that LEGACY OF KINGS worked out for me. I love high fantasy novels, but when you put historical aspects into the middle of it, I am like a child eating ice cream for the first time. I need more, damn you! I do hope readers have patience with the story because the last part of this book really gets your attention with page turning action that doesn't let up. I definitely, definitely recommend this book to High Fantasy lovers everywhere.
Please note: There is a novella apparently being released in this series as well. It is called Voice of Gods, and I have provided a link below. The next installment releases a year from now, September 2016, and is called Empire of Dust.
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