This is Philippa and Angelya’s joint audio review for Eleanor Herman’s new YA historical book, Legacy of Kings. The review is an extract from episode 33 of Tea in the Treetops Podcast, originally recorded on September 25, 2015.
You might also like to read the prequel to Legacy of Kings, a novella titled Voice of Gods. It’s currently available on Amazon for free.
Legacy of Kings has been optioned by Warner Bros Studios to be produced by Simon Helberg.
Mentioned Lion of Macedon by David Gemmell
Quotes from the review:
A: A bit Game-of-Thrones-y…
P: Also a bit Hunger-Games-esque. It’s worth getting through the first bits (that are similar to Hunger Games).
A: There are a lot of different points of view, and not all of them meet each other.
P: I didn’t really care what happened to the characters.
A: But I loved the Queen. She was the perfect villain!
P: I feel like I’ve given this a bad rap but I really did enjoy reading it.
Speechless, where to start - how to write anything that doesn't possibly spoil things for other readers???!!! This was such a phenomenal book well worSpeechless, where to start - how to write anything that doesn't possibly spoil things for other readers???!!! This was such a phenomenal book well worth the year long wait. I didn't want to put it down, I felt all the feels with this one and the ending wow I can't wait to find out where things go next as I have no idea!
A proper carefully crafted review will be out shortly - though its going to be a hard one to write! Totally need to vent about this book with other fans now!
I was so excited to find a copy of this book in the mail! I loved the Percy Jackson series and the idea of another Rick Riordan series featuring NorseI was so excited to find a copy of this book in the mail! I loved the Percy Jackson series and the idea of another Rick Riordan series featuring Norse mythology? Yes Please! Though this book was a hefty 550 odd pages it was a fast paced enjoyable page turner and I enjoyed every minute of it.
The story starts on the eve of his 16th birthday with troubled teenager Magnus Chase living on the streets surviving day by day since his mother’s death two years earlier. When another homeless friend warns him that two people are handing out flyers looking for him, Magnus soon finds himself caught up in the middle of part family legend and part drama as his rich and suspicious uncle tells him a story about Boston but not as we know it.
In a few short hours Magnus discovers his father isn’t what he thought he was and he finds himself facing down an evil fire lord who is determined to destroy Earth and the other 8 worlds of Norse lore. In an act of bravery and perhaps stupidity Magnus sacrifices himself in order to save the other people trapped on the bridge during the show down and he finds himself dead.
This is just the beginning of an epic story where Magnus is brought to be a warrior of Valhalla, a hotel for the dead heroes waiting for Ragnarok (the final battle in Norse mythology). Soon he finds himself alongside his recently outcast Valkyrie, Samirah as well as his dwarf and elf protectors on a quest to delay the final battle and find the legendary Sword of Summer.
Like previous Rick Riordan books this novel is a great combination of mythology, adventure and quirky humour. I love his spin on hotel Valhalla and the personalities of each of the gods was sheer comical genius. Thor and his TV show obsession, Freya and her love of shiny things – these were just a couple of examples, it was pure entertainment to read.
The four main characters were all enjoyable and complemented each other well. There is no romance in this story and it was refreshing to be completely honest – it certainly didn’t detract at all from the story and instead let you focus on the journey this odd group was on.
In some ways this story was too similar or perhaps familiar is a better word, to the Percy Jackson series. It’s been a long time since I’ve read them but I felt a strong sense of deja vu with parallels on the short time frame to stop the end of the world, the sudden discovery that they lost days of time and now have even less time to complete their quest as just a couple of examples on how the plotting was remarkably alike.
That being said it was still a unique protagonist and it brought with it new mythology and this definitely was enough to feel it worth a read even if you have read his previous works. The other good thing is that while there are some insider jokes and cameos from his Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series this is a completely new book and it can be read on its own.
If you’re wanting to get into a Rick Riordan book and see what the fuss is about this is a great way to start. ...more
I’ve been struggling a little bit with middle grade reads of late and this one was no exception. While it took me quite awhile to get into the story aI’ve been struggling a little bit with middle grade reads of late and this one was no exception. While it took me quite awhile to get into the story after getting through a hefty chunk of the book I was quite intrigued to see how this one went and finished it off quite quickly.
After a quick prologue in Orkney to set the scene of what is to come, you are introduced to our main character Sam;- a typical 12 year old boy battling some anger issues, or so he thinks. The first quarter of the book introduces the reader to Sam’s current life and friends and then very quickly turns things upside down as he soon realises that things aren’t quite what they seem. Sam along with his two best friends are soon embroiled in the battles of another realm – Orkney where Sam holds the key to breaking a age old curse and saving not only Orkney, but Earth and the other Norse realms as well.
If you are a fan of fantasy this book is a bit like a comfy and familiar pair of pyjamas. While the story and world is new many of the ideas and the novel outline is quite comparable to other well known middle grade favourites such as Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. While I wouldn’t put this book quite in the same league – it definitely felt a bit clunky and it didn’t grab me in quite the same way, I think it will still be a hit with the tween and teen readers looking for a good fantasy/adventure series.
The journey Sam takes is an interesting one and while he doesn’t really change or grow in the novel he does learn some important things about himself and is put into some interesting predicaments. Torn between his two bloodlines – his mother was a witch while is father is a son of Odin, you expect him to make some pretty life changing choices. These sadly seem to be glossed over or not quite so anguish driven as they possibly could be which is this books biggest let down. I also felt that the story was very black and white with the witches being “bad” and the people of Orkney and Odin being “good” however I really feel in these children’s and young adult novels that its the shades of grey and the realisation that life isn’t quite so simple that makes things interesting.
I was incredibly frustrated with how little people trusted Sam in the novels. They had vast expectations of him dropping everything about his life and fixing the curse however I didn’t feel that he was treated well in the slightest. It made it very hard to cheer him on in his journey because part of me simply couldn’t care if everyone on the planet dropped dead the rudeness and lack of understanding was inexcusable. His band of friends were great and I also would have liked to see them developed as individual characters in a bit more detail, you go a couple of chapters from their perspectives but not enough to really bring them to life.
The ending of the novel was incredibly well done and the battle scene was very descriptive but not overstated making it enjoyable. I also liked the way the story played out with how to break the curse and the inclusion of the Norse Gods in assisting at the final battle. A fun read and I think a real winner for the fantasy fans here! ...more
This is my first book by Patrick Ness and it was seriously so good I have to prioritise reading some of his other works now! Its a hard book to classiThis is my first book by Patrick Ness and it was seriously so good I have to prioritise reading some of his other works now! Its a hard book to classify as its really a contemporary novel but has a definite vein of paranormal running through it with much talk of “the chosen one” and other paranormal scenarios.
The book centres around a group of totally normal teenagers who are hanging out for graduation. The protagonist Mikey worries a lot, and is from a family with a lot of societal issues including a sister who previously suffered from anorexia and his dad is still suffering from a large problem with alcoholism. While Mike has his own battle with OCD and anxiety to contend with, things aren’t looking too badly for him as he has a solid best friend, is in love with the figurative girl next door, Henna who he’s never had enough guts to ask out and also has two totally awesome sisters whom is he very close to.
While this group of kids are trying to get through the final remaining weeks of school and graduation, there is a second story that is fleshed out at the beginning of each chapter and alluded to within the main story. This is the story of the “indie” kids. Its the story that would normally be the story arc of your YA book while characters like Mikey get a bare mention or are edited out entirely as irrelevant to the plot. This story is about immortals taking over their little USA town and contains death, betrayal, great love, and major paranormal battles. In this novel however its confined to probably a few pages at most and only really gets a mention when it affects our main characters who constantly wonder if they are going to get to graduate before the school is blown up again, or which indie kid is going to go missing next.
In all honesty not much actually happens in this book, but I don’t really see that as a bad thing, its heavy in all the right ways on the dialogue meaning you get great character insight to this coming of age story. The main thing the book does focus on are family and friendship.
There is a lot of family drama for Mikey to sort out and his family are all central characters to the book. Mel is his older sister who nearly died from an eating disorder a couple of years prior meaning she now is finishing school in the same year as Mikey. These two are incredibly close and there is an undercurrent of worry and sadness that they are both off to colleges on other sides of the country after they graduate. His younger sister Meredith is upheld by the family as the only one not to be a total screw up and is a bit of a child prodigy. All 3 siblings are very close with both Mel and Mikey being very protective over her and taking her out for dinner and to her millions of additional afterschool activities. Their parents are definitely considered disappointments to them. Their mother is running for senate and is seen as very tough and uninterested in anything that isn’t in her best interests and their father is an alcoholic who can barely keep it together for important events and photo ops.
Friendships are also important and a large element of this novel. Mikey’s best friend Jared could have been an indie kid but is so desperate to be normal he does everything he can to keep away from it all. Jared is so grounding to Mikey and is a large help with his anxiety and OCD. This friendship has been through a lot and always held together though Mikey has constant anxiety over how much he needs Jared while not feeling like Jared gets anything from him in this relationship. Continuing on the great levels of diversity in this novel, Jared is also gay and this is central to the story though these two are not in a relationship. Mikey is also totally in love with his friend Henna and spends large portions of the book trying to get up the courage to take things to the next level. Its complicated and messy and this romance is really real and sweet.
It was such an easy read and even though not a lot happened to these totally average everyday kids I wanted to know more about them and was really sad when the story ended. I also loved how they did flow through and alter the course of the indie kid/immortal drama weaving the two stories together at the end. I simply loved this story, it was unique, diverse and beautifully written. Considering how dialogue focused it was I have high hopes its picked up and turned into a film – I would love to see it on screen.
A big two thumbs up and 5 stars from me – I’m off to find a copy of More Than This now!
Also last sidenote, make sure you read the acknowledgements I loved finding out about how some of the characters got named, and his friend’s business cards gave me a giggle! ...more
I will admit about 20% through this book I nearly put it down as a DNF, even though it had a beautiful cover and the synopsis had me intrigued I was fI will admit about 20% through this book I nearly put it down as a DNF, even though it had a beautiful cover and the synopsis had me intrigued I was finding it very difficult to get into. Thankfully I kept going because I then finished the remaining 80% in one sitting and this ended up being a very nifty gothic middle grade novel that I’m sure I would have lapped up in my primary school years.
Set in the past on the mysterious and technologically advanced Biltmore Estate you are introduced to protagonist, Serafina – a half wild child who is up most of the night catching rats, living undetected in the boiler room of the great house with her father, a servant of the family.
One night while hunting down some pesky rats, Serafina gets more than she bargains for when she witnesses a most chilling scene involving a gentrified man complete with top hat and gloves stealing the very soul and life force of one the young girls visiting the estate with her parents. After nearly being caught herself, Serafina is soon mixed up in the mystery and hunt to find the mysterious man and his cloak before anyone else is harmed.
This is a pretty dark book and I am incredibly glad that I didn’t read this one to my four year old – it had me pretty spooked in parts and I don’t think I was quite ready to introduce my young child to the horror genre just yet! I think the reason I found this a little difficult to get into at first is the horrible conditions and background of young Serafina. While it does fit with the era and the story, it is still somewhat hard to read about a young child living in virtual poverty and being kept from all human contact except for her father. There is back story given as to why the father does it – Serafina isn’t quite all human (not a spoiler I promise!) and while through the protagonists eyes you understand she can’t quite see what’s different about her , she knows, and so you the reader knows that you can tell by simply looking at her that something is just not quite right about her.
The story picked up for me as she tentatively befriends the young master of the house, Braeden, nephew to the Lord and Lady of Biltmore Estate. Braeden like Serafina isn’t quite like most people and their blossoming friendship in amongst the action and thrills is a sweet and innocent chord of the story, and for me perhaps the shining light of this tale. The story is also very much a coming of age book with Serafina leaving the confines of the estate basement and trying to uncover her past and her heritage. Like all great coming of age novels there is a lot of emphasis on the understanding of good and evil and that what you see on the outside in no way determines the real moral fibre of a person:
She was beginning to see how difficult it was to determine who was good and who was bad, who she could trust and who she had to watch out for. Every person was a hero in his own mind, fighting for what he thought was right, or just fighting to survive another day, but no one thought they were evil.
The actual plot has 2 mysteries for the reader to uncover – one of which I found was fairly easy to guess and the other took me much by surprise. The main mystery of who the man with the black cloak is and how to stop him is quite a terrifying read and it very cleverly intertwines with the other more subtle mystery of who Serafina’s parents are and how she is different. Both stories weave together quite cleverly at the end and the reader is left most satisfied with a neat tie up and lots of good warm fuzzy feelings.
If your looking for a great novel for your primary age children with good levels of terror and thrills I think this one is a sure winner – I’m definitely glad I stuck with it! ...more