Alexander and Alestria
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Alexander and Alestria

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3.08 of 5 stars 3.08  ·  rating details  ·  196 ratings  ·  28 reviews
Re-creating the lives of two of the most intriguing rulers in history, Shan Sa brings us a novel filled with the sound of hooves, the whistle of arrows, blood, passion, and betrayal. The familiar figure of Alexander the Great comes to new life in this richly imagined tale, which entwines his historical legacy with a fantastic love affair set in a wartime between Western an...more
Hardcover, 245 pages
Published July 22nd 2008 by Harper (first published 2006)
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Melissa Jackson
This book has some really beautiful lines and a poetic quality surrounds the entire story. The parts about Alestria and her powerful Amazonian tribe were fascinating to read. But the story as a whole was ill-conceived and almost carelessly developed. It started and stopped and was overly emotional at times. However, I still strongly recommend reading it. The parts that are great are truly remarkable in their writing style. The tediouss in-betweens are worth it to reach Shan Sa's stunning descrip...more
Janet
This was a frustrating book. The author tells the story of two vivid people -- Alexander the Great and Alestria, Queen of the Amazons -- who come together and are consumed by their passion for each other, a passion based entirely on fate rather than any sense of kindred nature or mutual regard. Their worlds are described in sensual terms. The details are all of sight, feeling, taste. The tale unfolds in a mythic world where emotion is the only truth.

I wanted a story that was a bit more grounded...more
Nikii
I just finished this book tonight & from the very beginning this book has not been what I expected. The book tells the story of not just Alexander the Great but also of Alestria, Queen of the Amazons. You see the life of Alexander the Great & what he went through depicted by the author, telling of a life led by the son of vicious king & a queen who hid from her husband, but the author leaves the speculation that this soon to be great of all Alexander’s, was never the son of a king. T...more
Jana
While I really liked historical point of this book, I didn’t really enjoy the poetic one. You can tell that Shan Sa is a poet, and I’m so so with poetry. But Alexander the Great was a magnificent person. Sex part of this book was fascinating as well. He mostly had it with everything that flies, walks and swims, no matter the gender or transgender, no matter the age, family tie and position. His official biography is spectacular. The ground wept from fear when he walked on it. So many times durin...more
Thảo
Đây dĩ nhiên là cuốn sách dành cho những ai : mê chuyện tình yêu lãng mạn, ham thích các nhân vật làm nên huyền thoại và say sưa đọc Thần thoại Hy Lạp cùng các áng sử thi xưa cũ. Có lẽ phần nhiều người yêu thích tác phẩm này thuộc nữ giới, trên hết, ấy là bởi lối viết đậm tính nữ của Sơn Táp thu hút họ.

Bìa của bản dịch tiếng Việt không đẹp, với sự bắt chước vụng về bìa bản tiếng Anh và một dòng tên tác giả xẻ đôi bìa sách, quả tình xấu đến ngỡ ngàng. Tóm lại, bìa của cuốn “Hoàng đế và giai nhân”...more
Donna
A fictional love story between Alexander the Great and Alestria, Queen of the Amazons. I enjoyed reading this book at bedtime so I could listen to the voices of Alexander, Alestria, and Ania her servant without distraction. Alexander rises from the abuse of his father King Philip of Macedonia and his clinging mother Olympias and leads his army to conquer Greece, Egypt and Persia. His life had been one of pleasing others and being used because of his beauty/handsomeness. The lovers in his life ne...more
Marina
I bought this book because it was a story for Alexander the Great. I love historical novels. But this one really disappointed me. There are historical facts mentioned in the book that are true. But there were moments when I said: Oh, my God, this cannot be true. Reading that Alexander was raped by his own father, that he raped a young boy, for me it was just too much.

If you survive Alexander's childhood in the book, reading after that is not that bad.

There is another character, Alestria, the Ama...more
Jori Richardson
This book attempts to show the reader what Alexander the Great's life was like as a child, teenager, and young man, and the road that led him to "greatness." It also draws attention to Queen Alestria, the woman he married, and the complex, unusual relationship that they shared.

I was very excited about checking this book out from my library, but only a few chapters in, my anticipation was no more.
This is a book that is not worth your time.

It is clumsily written, as if the author threw together a...more
Toni
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah Beth
I don't have much to say about this book other than I did not enjoy it. It's supposedly about Alexander the Great and Alestria, Queen of the Amazons, but the narrative is too disjointed to really get much out of the story. I think the author is trying to be poetic or lyrical, but to me it just came across as if someone drugged out tried to write historical fiction. There was a lot of homoerotic/incestuous elements to the story. I was also really irritated by the abrupt shifts in narrative withou...more
Melissa
A fictional story about Alexander's life, death, and love. Sa creates personalities for her characters that are entertaining and intriguing, with good pacing for the first 2/3 of the book. However, once Alestria and Alexander are together, it becomes an airless love story, albeit with a very important point about how love can indeed be "conquering." Although arguably Alexander was the main character for most of the book, Alestria (his future wife) and her scribe/servant Ania were much more excit...more
Samantha
Nov 11, 2008 Samantha rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: NO ONE
Recommended to Samantha by: Harper Collins
I received this book free from HarperCollins after becoming a friend of their MySpace page. It is awful. It took me days to get through it because I was dreading it so bad. I hate how Ms. Sa writes. It is like she is trying to write lyrically or poetically, but also stay in the story format. The chapters jump back and forth between Alexander The Great and Alestria the Amazon queen. Obviously this is a fiction book since this event never happened. I wish this book hadn't happened. It is actually...more
Lisa Lemus
I made it about a third of the way through this book. The author doesn't do much to humanize Alexander. It's more like reading a history book filled with facts and bits of dialogue every few pages.
Pratishtha garg
This book is a beautifully written and fantastically drawn story of a royal and forbidden love. it has a flowing, poetic quality to it, that is lulling and soothing at times; and haunting at others.
to put it simply, it is a simple story of a great love shared between two great souls, against a backdrop of warfare, lust, treachery and gore.
It does get a bit of drag towards the middle, but its worth the effort to get to the end. I am no historian and hence, am not sure of the historical accuracy...more
Corry
This historical roman gives an idea of how Alexander the Great came to be so great and complex. being a pretty boy in those days was not easy. Homophobia was the norm..The author needs all her romantic -styletalent to soften the horrible upbringing of Alexander and explain why he waged war all the time. The meeting with the "Amazon Queen", who leads an all-girl anti-man war-waging tribe , but has a "poetic life " on the side, is a bit too romantic and unbelievable. She and Alexander fall in lov...more
Lara
Aug 23, 2008 Lara rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of historical fiction and fantasy novels
I tried to like this one, I really did - but...ugh. In all fairness to the book, it isn't a genre I usually gravitate towards. I think it's entirely possible that the author's use of flowery, overdone prose is an accurate reflection of the way these characters would have spoken in that time period, but it was nauseating almost to the point of intolerability to me. On top of that, I found the plot to be sincerely lacking. I had a hard time staying awake when reading this, even after a good previo...more
Alison
I picked this up as I always enjoy historical novels. However, I found this book difficult to get into. The style of writing was in places beautiful, but I found the characters lacked depth, detail and insight.

Overall I felt that an amazing story was not told as fully and as well as it could have been. It was pretty writing, but not enough to hold my attention to read another of this author's works.
Eileen Granfors
This book has lyrical prose that would turn nicely into an epic poem. It is not what I expected or like. I prefer action and story and characters with compelling personalities. Steven Pressfield is far better at presenting the ancient world in an interesting way
Dania
this book was very different from what i thought it might be. It's poetic beat flowed like a lyrical ballad... but i found it to drag on at times and repeat itself a lot. Though there were times i really enjoyed this book there were also moments i did not.
Mark
who is to say what is the real story now that time has passed? if you think that this book is more like reading Homer you will love it more than I did, but you will not be disappointed with the way this woman writes. she is a genius
Shannon
1.) Whether or not the lyrical prose was intended to hinder any ability to empathize with the characters, that is the effect it had.

2.) Alexander's childhood was full of nastiness.
Tara Turner


This book has some beautiful moments but overall it leaves a very strange impression. The ending, while dramatic, was bizarre to me and held no historicity of the characters.
Juan
Nice fantasy with very honest portrayal of what Greek culture was probably like with regards to homosexuality and the role of women in society/culture.
Beth
I love historical fiction. I was mesmerized about the life and death of the great Alexander.
Elizabeth
at some point along the way I lost interest
Elizabeth
A quick read, engrossing and vivid.
Marie
Not what I really expected ;(
Marta
Marta marked it as to-read
Aug 21, 2014
Gretchen
Gretchen marked it as to-read
Aug 16, 2014
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Shan Sa is a French author born in Beijing in 1972. The Girl Who Played Go was the first of her novels to be published outside of France. It won the Goncourt des Lycéens Prize in 2001 and earned critical acclaim worldwide. Her second novel to appear in English translation is "The Empress" (2006).

Shan Sa was born on October 26, 1972 in Beijing to a scholarly family . Her real name is Yan Ni Ni, the...more
More about Shan Sa...
Empress The Girl Who Played Go Les Quatre vies du saule Conspirateurs (Les) Porte De La Paix Céleste

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