Friday, August 21, 2015

Legacy of Kings - Eleanor Herman


Title: Legacy of Kings
Author: Eleanor Herman
Series: Blood of Gods and Royals #1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: August 18, 2015
Source: Printed ARC

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman is a young adult historical fiction novel centered around Alexander the Great.  It combines history with magic.  It brings a wonderful cast of characters to life.  It makes you feel as though you are living in the time period and going through everything with them.  In short, this book is fantastic.

Legacy of Kings is actually told from multiple view points: Alex, Katerina, Cynane, Zofia, Olympias, Jacob, and Hephaestion.  Now, you may think that having so many different narrators will be difficult to follow along with, or that they may all end up sounding as though they are the same person, but you shouldn't worry.  The story is written in such a wonderful fashion that you will have absolutely no problem knowing who you are following along at any given point in time and each character does have their own voice.

Alexander (Alex) is the prince and heir to the throne.  He is brave and he is a fierce warrior.  He also has a some what strange ability.  It is almost as though he can see down into a persons soul and can tell what kind of person they truly are.  He doesn't let others know about it.  I am not even really sure if he realizes what he is doing or how he is doing it most of the time.  He has a scar on his leg that causes him to want to go on a quest with Heph to find a fountain that is said to be able to heal any imperfections

I liked Alex.  He was my second favorite character of the story.  He had a lot of growth during the course of Legacy of Kings.  I enjoyed watching him change and I look forward to seeing a lot more growth happen in the future.

Katerina (Kat) is an orphaned girl who was taken in by another family.  Her mother was killed when she was only 6, something she has never forgotten...or forgiven.  She has a special way with animals.  They seem to trust and understand her and she them.  She has a special quest for herself that she must complete before she will allow herself to give herself completely to anyone.

So far Kat is easily my favorite character.  I find her strong and full of spark.  I enjoy learning about her as she learns about herself.  I think next to Cyn, she is probably one of the more mysterious characters in the story.  She does go through a lot of development and growth in this story.  It was fun watching her discover herself.  She still has a long way to go, but I think she is heading in the right direction.

Cynane (Cyn) is a sister to Alex.  She is determined to find a way to power in a world where men dictate everything and women are just there to breed and cook dinner.  She is manipulate and very sneaky.  She will do whatever it takes to get what she wants.  Nothing will stop her.  She desires to turn Heph against Alex in order to achieve her ultimate goal.

Cyn is easily my least favorite aside from the Queen.  I find her stuck up.  I feel she has a sense of entitlement and that things are owed to her because of what happened to her mother.  There is a lot that I hope she learns and quickly.

Zofia (Zo) is the promised betrothed of Alex, but she doesn't want to be.  She is in love with another.  A soldier.  She will do anything to be with the one she loves and to avoid the fate that seems to be laid out in front of her.  This includes running away at night despite the dangers that lurk in the dark.

Zo, to me, seems like the most clueless one of the bunch.  Heading out to be with her "true love" at all costs.  This only gets her into more and more trouble.  She is also the character we see the least of during the course of this story, so we don't really get to see her grow much at all.  I am looking forward to when her part in the story comes into more focus.

Olympias is the Queen.  The mother of Alex.  She has a strong desire for power.  She is also (in my opinion) a very scary individual that you do not want to cross.  Not if you want to live...

The Queen is just scary.  She is not a person I would want to run into ever.  She has it out for anyone and everyone that is in her way.  I think her scenes are written really well.  The fear and/or hate that others have for her just radiates off of the page.

Jacob is Katerina's unofficial brother.  He is a member of the family that took her in.  He is in love with her and is willing to do anything and everything to earn the right to be with her.  He goes off to fight in the Kings tournament to try to prove his worth. 

I thought Jacob was rather whiny through most of the story.  He wants Kat to love him, but doesn't understand why she can't quite yet.  He thinks it is because he is unworthy and needs to earn status to earn her love.  I think this is ridiculous.  He is supposed to have known Kat for many many years.  They are best friends.  He should know it is not all about him.  He is more or less like this for the entire story.  I hope to see him grow a lot more in the next installment.

Hephaestion (Heph) is the best friend of Alex.  Alex took Heph into the palace and gave him a home.  While in the palace he has trained to become one of the best warriors and is Alex's closest confidant.  He fights in the Kings tournament in hopes of winning the prize money so that he and Alex can go off on a quest to find the fountain.

Oh, Heph.  I thought he was a bit stuck on himself.  That he thought he was the best of the best.  Yet, he is extremely insecure.  He is very easily swayed and quick to act.  There is a lot of promise of growth for his character, but you only get to see a little bit of it in Legacy of Kings.  He was easily my second least favorite character.

The Legacy of Kings is how the different worlds of all these characters get intertwined.  It is actually quite complex, but brilliantly done.  It cannot be an easy task creating 6 different characters with 6 different stories to tell, but Eleanor Herman does it brilliantly.  Each character is tied to at least one other character in some way or another.  We don't get to see Zo interacting with the other characters quite yet, but I am looking forward to how her story line gets tied into the rest of them.

My biggest complaint about Legacy of Kings, and it is just me being particular, is that I thought it read kind of slow for a young adult novel usually does.  I am used to being able to read them faster.  Legacy of Kings forces you to take your time.  It is worth it though.  There is a lot of detail to take in and a lot of characters to get to know.  So, while the pace could have gone a little faster, if it had gone too fast, a lot would have been missed.

There were also some points in the story where it seemed to drag a little, especially in the beginning of the book.  Thankfully, some where around the middle, the story really started to pick up and get interesting. 

While this story is meant for those who enjoy young adult novels, I would have to say that it is meant more for the older/more mature side.  There is quite a bit of violence.  Herman does a fantastic job making you feel creeped out when it is necessary.  A very particular scene, involving a lot of snakes, comes to mind (also, if you have an intense fear of snakes this book may not be for you!)

I think if you are a fan of Game of Thrones you will really enjoy Legacy of Kings.  Things are a bit muted in Legacy of Kings, but that is probably due to the intended audience being young adults.  Do not let that keep you away though.  It is all there, it just doesn't have the same amount of detail!

The story told within The Legacy of Kings will stick with you long after you have finished.  I am still thinking about it and all of the characters.  I still find myself thinking about things that happened in this story.  About how the relationships between characters evolved, how the characters grew, and about all the trouble they are no doubt going to face in the future.

I really don't want to have to wait for the next book, but of course I have to.  And I will.  It will be a long wait, but I need to know what is going to happen next.  They have become my friends and I all ready miss them.  I cannot wait to visit them again.

There is treachery, love, friendship, magic, war, and more in this story.  It is one you do not want to miss.

My Rating
4.5 out of 5 stars




This review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.

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