August 20, 2015

Review: Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods and Royals, #1) by Eleanor Herman

Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods and Royals, #1) by Eleanor Herman
Publication date: Aug 25, 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Category: Young Adult - Fantasy
Source: Received ARC via BEA15 (Thanks Alexa!)
Summary: 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. (greads.com)

The good
I can immediately tell you what the author, Eleanor Herman, got right — intertwining real history with fantasy to create something uniquely her own and five very intriguing characters. At the forefront are Alexander and Katerina followed by their respective best friends Hephaestion and Jacob and a Persian princess named Zofia. Alexander is the heir to Macedonia and wants to do great things for his kingdom but knows that can only happen if he takes his life into his own hands. The only person willing to help is Hephaestion, a fierce fighter with a mix of darkness and loyalty in him. He fights in a competition that forces him to cross paths with Jacob, who is not only Kat’s best friend but first love. Except he doesn’t know she feels that way just yet. He also doesn’t know that Kat came along with him to this competition so she could find a way into the palace in order to.. kill the queen. (Dun dun dun.) It’s here that she gets to know Alex and we learn all her secrets. Then Zofia’s story is probably the most separate as she is across the sea but she too plays an important role as she is Alexander’s fiance although they haven’t met yet.

So, intriguing right? Each person is harboring secrets and suppressed emotions and their actions are influencing the others in ways they don’t expect. Between all the mystery, the fantastical elements and bits of history, there’s a lot going on.

(Major) reservations
As much as I enjoyed the overall concept and the idea behind each of these characters, ultimately I had major reservations about the execution. I found the writing to be very, very dry which prompted me to remember that this author typically writes historical non-fiction and this is her debut YA novel (it showed). I just didn’t feel any emotional connection to anything. And while I knew the characters’ motives on a surface level (become a good king, win the girl, kill the queen, etc.), I didn’t feel as if I got to know the characters at all. The characters just seemed to be going through the motions. The same way I was just reading to read and finish the book. But feeling something is so important to my reading experience and all I felt was disconnect.

Do I recommend?
Bloggers I know and trust have reviewed this book well so if you’re interested, I do encourage you try it out and decide for yourself. That said, I personally wouldn’t recommend it to friends of mine and my main reason for finishing was because I wanted to know if the hunch I made at the beginning of the book was correct (it was!).

Collaborative feature with Alexa! 

Who's your favorite Greek god?
I've always had a soft spot for Artemis, goddess of the hunt, wild animals, childbirth, and protector of young girls and women. But she's also the goddess of one more thing -- the moon. Why is this important? Two reasons. First, I read a lot of Greek mythology books when I was younger and I was fascinated with the moon for some reason (moonstone does happen to be one of my birthstones) so that drew me to Artemis right away. The second reason? Because I loved (and still love) Sailor Moon and Sailor Venus' cat was named Artemis. I loved that connection! 

4 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review. I have seen lukewarm reviews for this one at best. I think a lot of the time with authors crossing over to YA from other genres it really does involve a bit of a learning curve. I'm excited that ancient history is becoming a bit of a YA micro-trend but I'm also find knowing that I can comfortably skip this book now!

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  2. Great review. I am glad you voiced your hesitation to recommend this to friends because of your disconnection with the characters. One of my favorite things about reading is connecting with the characters & seeing things through their eyes, I will probably hold off on this one for a bit.

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  3. Your reasons for choosing Artemis are the absolute best! And, when it comes to this book, you already know that I felt very much the same way. While I did like how she incorporated history and lore, I really just found the writing dry and the book a bit difficult to get through.

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  4. I agree about the characters seeming to go through the motions. That was a problem for me, too. Good review!

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