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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 a newcomer…

Katerina must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But she doesn’t account for her first love…

Jacob will go to unthinkable lengths to win Katerina, even if it means having to compete for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince.

And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet betrothed, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the shocking details of real history, New York Times bestselling author of Sex with Kings 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.

428 pages, Hardcover

First published August 18, 2015

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About the author

Eleanor Herman

22 books953 followers
New York Times best-seller Eleanor Herman's new non-fiction book, The Royal Art of Poison: Filthy Palaces, Fatal Cosmetics, Deadly Medicine, and Murder Most Foul, is set to come out in June 2018. Think royal palaces were beautiful places to live? Think again!

Herman offers a rare combination of skills for a historian – her research is intensely scholarly, yet she writes the story in a colorful, witty manner. “History is so fascinating that it never has to be presented in a boring way,” she explains. “These were flesh and blood people, just like you and me, facing war and plague, falling in love, living among splendid art and gut-wrenching poverty. Sometimes people ask me if I plan to write novels. And I say, with all the things that really happened, who needs to make stuff up?”

Reviewers agree. The New York Times Book Review wrote that Eleanor writes “enlightening social history that is great fun to read.”

The Boston Globe wrote, “Herman’s writing sparkles off the pages.”

The Washington Post called Eleanor Herman “A lot more fun than Danielle Steel or Dan Brown.”

Eleanor, a New York Times bestseller, has also written Sex with Kings (a history of royal mistresses), Sex with the Queen (a look at queens' love affairs), Mistress of the Vatican (a biography of an influential papal mistress), and a four-part YA fantasy series on Alexander the Great, called The Blood of Gods and Royals.

Eleanor is a frequent commentator in the media about royal scandals, and has hosted episodes for The History Channel, the National Geographic Channel, and America: Fact vs. Fiction. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Eleanor graduated with a degree in journalism from Towson University, studied languages in Europe, and for thirteen years worked for NATO’S Nations & Partners for Peace magazine. She is married and lives in McLean, VA with four very demanding cats
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,087 reviews
Profile Image for Jesse (JesseTheReader).
468 reviews176k followers
September 30, 2015
(3.5)

This was a solid start to an epic fantasy series & I can't wait to see what the rest of the series has to hold. The world building was probably my favorite part of this book. It was done SO WELL.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,993 reviews298k followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
August 19, 2015
DNF

I realize that this may be a bit premature but I've read so many unoriginal fantasy novels that I don't want to waste anymore time on them. I could easily be persuaded to come back to this if the reviews are positive, but here's my review of the first chapter:

A girl called Katniss is hunting in the woods when she is suddenly distracted by her longtime best friend turned sexgod, Gale Jacob.
“A pair of strong, tanned legs stands before her, leading up to the broad, commanding form of her oldest friend. The boy Kat has known longer and better, it sometimes seems, than she has known herself. A boy who, until recently, was equal parts playmate and pest. Now, he has grown taller and handsomer and somehow resists falling into either category the way he used to.”

Jacob announces that he is competing in the Blood Tournament - a series of games set in an arena - against other competitors who have been training for this their whole lives.
“You can’t go,” she says quickly. “They’ll kill you. You’re only seventeen. Some of the contestants are Olympic athletes, professional wrestlers, and soldiers.”

When it becomes obvious she can't stop him, she gives him a brooch for luck.
“...she removes the long iron pin from her shoulder... She holds it between them. “Take it. To protect you in the games.”

Please note: I only read the first chapter. Who knows? Maybe it is nothing like it initially appears to be. Let me know if I was wrong to DNF so soon.
Profile Image for Jessica ❁ ➳ Silverbow ➳ ❁ .
1,261 reviews8,753 followers
October 24, 2015
Reviewed by: Rabid Reads

There's a certain rivalry between English and History majors . . .

The university I attended required its students to attend a weekly convocation. Several times a year, rather than all of the students meeting formally, we would have interdepartmental gatherings, and once a semester the English and History majors would stuff themselves into the largest classroom in our main building for a *coughs* friendly game of College Bowl.

The outcome of this game determined who got to look down their long noses at the others for the rest of the semester.

Yes, I know. I'm a huge nerd. #cantstopwontstop

The point is there's quite a bit of crossover between the two majors that gives both sides a deeper understanding of their counterparts, and in the same way Herodotus in his HISTORIES ridicules Homer's accounts of "historical" events, I'm inclined to think LEGACY OF KINGS is what happens when a historian writes fantastical fiction.

BUT.

I think Herman did a far better job at bridging the gap from history to fiction, than Herodotus thought of Homer's attempt at the opposite. Although . . . I'm not sure how concerned Homer was about preserving historical accuracy, and Herodotus definitely got a few things wrong himself. Whatever. Admittedly, there are problems with this analogy, first and foremost that my opinion ranks with Herodotus' and Herman ranks with Homer, but, hopefully, you get what I'm saying.

(ALL of) That being said, Herman's background is clearly evident in LEGACY OF KINGS . . . mostly in good ways . . . but not always.

Time for a list.

I'm going with the cons first, b/c I liked this book and I don't want to end my review focusing on the handful of things that kept it from being perfect. Capisce?

CONS:

1. Sometimes the facts are crammed into the fiction, like Herman just couldn't help herself, rather than being smoothly interwoven:

The most obvious example is the references to Aristotle, who tutored Alexander-the-boy. Each of the five sections begin with an Aristotle quote, but there are numerous other mentions, some of them feeling almost like Alexander is name-dropping:

“Aristotle taught us to always look for the common denominator in any problem,” he says. “Mathematical. Scientific. Political. Social. And it would seem that here the common denominator is…”


In the same vein, some of the cultural elements feel a little bit over the top. Like Phillip II of Macedon carrying around the skull of the man who shot out his eye as a drinking goblet. YEP. The skull of his enemy . . . covered in silver with amethysts for eyes . . . Then again, maybe there's some primary document that supports the claim and my internet search couldn't find it . . .

2. Third person, present tense.

I don't like it. It's distracting. The only POV I like less is first person, present tense.

However . . . after a while, I acclimated. That may not sound like a big deal, but it is. I rarely make it through a book told from this POV, but not only did I finish LEGACY OF KINGS, I enjoyed it.

3. ALL the boys love Katerina.

In fairness, one of the boys simply feels an instant connection to her that is explained by the end of the book, and Kat's desirability isn't a major plot point. But the fact remains . . . all the boys love Katerina.

4. A six-year-old girl is killed in a completely manufactured situation.

This is a personal peeve, but it's one I'm sure many of you share--if you're going to kill a child, there had better be a darn good reason, and it had better be believably unavoidable.



PROS:

1. If you love both ancient civilizations and fantasy, you are almost guaranteed to love this book.

Herman's integration of history and fiction is downright remarkable. She embellishes what is known so that it (almost always) meshes seamlessly with her story. When Katerina landed in Halicarnassus and first saw the mausoleum, I googled it, not remembering what it looked like:

description

I then got side-tracked by the history (for like an hour), b/c it had indeed been built by Queen Artemisia for her husband King Mausolus, who had indeed been her brother (ICK), which made me curious about exactly how much of this thing was based on fact. The short answer is: a LOT.

2. Herman not only captured the history, she captured the culture.

YES. There is a difference. If you disagree, I dare you to say so to an anthropologist. *stands back and watches* *is gleeful*

It's the difference between the aforementioned mausoleum and having a religious man explain a torch inexplicably exploding and incinerating its bearer by saying:

“I believe Father Zeus sent a bolt of lightning. It happens from time to time when he is displeased.”


3. Herman also has a flare for subtly capturing strong emotions.

As much as I loathe the version of PRIDE & PREJUDICE that features Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Bennet, there's this one scene where Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen) helps Lizzie into a carriage. When he turns and walks away, the camera zooms in on his gloved hand that is trying to shake off the effects of touching Elizabeth for the first time. It's brilliant. I'm swooning a little bit just remembering it.

Herman uses equally small gestures, thoughts, feelings, etc. to communicate the burgeoning love between Kat and Jacob, the transition from childhood friends to something infinitely more dear:

“If you don’t tell me right now what it is, I’ll—” she raises a playful, faux-threatening hand. He grabs her wrist.
“You’ll what?” he whispers.


*smiles dreamily*

SO. Despite a few issues, LEGACY OF KINGS is a fantastic first installment of Eleanor Herman's BLOOD OF GODS AND ROYALS series, and I can't wait to see what happens next. Will wretched Olympias be stoned by the surviving families of those she made suffer like her historical counterpart? What did Helen's vision really mean? Will Zo succeed in escaping her fate? I'll be (im)patiently waiting for the next installment. Highly recommended.

Jessica Signature

Pre-review:

More like 3.75 stars, but I rounded up.

This was probably the best fantastical fiction I've read that was written by a historian . . . Of course, I think it's also the only fantastical fiction I've ever read that was written by a historian . . .

BUT. That doesn't negate that this was a solid read. Especially if you love ancient Greek history (which I do). I mean, really . . . what isn't fascinating about Alexander the Great?

Full RTC.
Profile Image for KL (Cat).
177 reviews134 followers
October 17, 2015
Honestly, fuck this book and fuck its historical inaccuracies.

Warning: This is basically me being all annoyed and comparing how the book made shit up to actual historical truths.

1. Historical Alexander was hella gay so often; it was ridiculous to the point that sometimes I need to set down whatever material I was reading on him and just gape.

I mean, a) he kissed a boy and he liked it, to misquote Katy Perry.
So there was a dance that Bagoas performed that was apparently so damn fine he agreed to kiss him in front of everyone (his soldiers weren't that much of a help, they were all like 'pls go get a piece of dat ass')

b) Him and Hephaestion ¬_¬

- Aside from how he compared themselves as Achilles and Patroclus respectively (which fyi people at that time were already debating if the latter two were bangin' in the Iliad or not), they decided it was cool to go visit their graves and run naked (after rubbing oil all over each other) on a beach.
- Then there is the infamous "He too is Alexander" quote after a queen accidentally mistook Hephaestion for Alexander.
- Oh yeah, also the philosopher Diogenes (this man is the ultimate sass master btw) sent a letter that was basically "dude man up stop yielding to Hephaestion's thighs" could you even believe
- "Without me, you would be nothing"
- OR PERSEPOLIS THIS FUCKER GAVE HEPHAESTION A 1.5 BILLION POUND FUNERAL I SHIT YOU NOT

Yeah this is way too long just to make a point but you get?

So when the novel erases this side of him and makes A straighter than a ruler it just makes me so pissed. Because?? He is no longer Alexander?? And I don't care that it's fiction or fantasy because what is the point of saying that he is Alexander the Great when you change him to fit into a typical heterosexual YA male protagonist?

2. Also let me be clear that this sympathetic Alexander bullshit in the novel is -10000/10 true.
He is, for a lack of better word, a dickhead to everybody aside from Hephaestion (and others currently in favour but v. rare). Like he was really shit on how he treated his men (he sent his army on a death march though Gedrosia where supposedly three quarters died in the desert, on purpose, for Christ's sake).

He gave exactly zero fucks on planning or governing or economics or even common sense. Guess what he did to get rid of Macedonia's debt and to finance his army?? Oh just casually starting a war with the possibly most powerful empire that existed on earth bc why not?? And the thing was that it actually worked?????

Like. Yeah. Who the hell is so obsessed with his own success that he can actually pull of this sort of thing?
So this Alexander (who does not deserve 'the Great' in this novel) is absolutely foreign to me. He named a city after himself when he was 16 for fuck's sake.

3. The first chapter, which the lovely Emily May clearly compares it to The Hunger Games so I'll just skip that.

However, just some stuff to add: The Blood Tournament happening in an arena.
The Blood Tournament is a single free-for-all held in a large arena with a simulated landscape made to increase difficulty, featuring added natural challenges like quicksand or cliffs. It is hot, bloody, and chaotic, with fighting taking place all over the stadium until the crowd—and the king—approve a single victor.

Correct me if I am wrong, but I am 95% sure arenas didn't exist in Greece. Hell, the idea of the gladiator games, where people fought with weapons with one another didn't exist until several hundred years later where the Romans popularised it and brought it over (and even then it didn't really catch on— the Greeks decided that they were too cultured to consider bloodshed as entertainment).

I don't even want to talk about how the everloving fuck was the quicksand transported into the arena.

Anyway, the very existence of the Tournament is to me rather unbelievable. If you were King, how would you choose your elite unit of warriors?

Soldiers that had already served in your army for years for you to observe their quality, skill and obedience or people like seventeen year old boys, "Olympic athletes, professional wrestlers, and soldiers” that are just going to battle it out and be chosen if they win? Historically, Phillip agrees with me that the Hypaspists should be a position awarded based on merit, but for plot's sake why not suspend common sense.

4. I don't know much about names, but Lucy makes an interesting point that a character (Jacob?) has a Hebrew name. It's the small things that nags me so much, because even though I may have not recognised the flaw I had placed my trust in the author, expecting that they took time to do their research.

SHIT I FORGOT

Okay

So in Chapter 1 Jacob was all "Kat bby I love you wait for me to come home so I can marry you" AND THEY ARE ONE YEAR APART WHICH IS IMPOSSIBLE

BECAUSE MEN MARRIED WHEN THEY WERE 30 AND THE WOMEN USUALLY HALF OF THAT

SO LIKE 14

I AM SO PISSED AT MYSELF FOR NOT REMEMBERING THIS SOONER

BUT SERIOUSLY

DID THE AUTHOR DO NO RESEARCH

UGH

I'M NOT EVEN GOING TO TALK ABOUT PEDERASTY AND SHIT BECAUSE OKAY YOU MAY ARGUE THAT ONLY POSH CITY PEOPLE DID IT BUT I'M PRETTY SURE EVEN IN VILLAGES MARRIAGE CUSTOMS ARE THE SAME

ZERO FUCKING STARS

- (written before I read the damn book) -

The author is also a historian, so I'm not (too) afraid she'll spectacularly ruin the portrayal of one of the most famous (and one of my favourite!!) person in history.

Note: I've never heard of Zofia btw?

Damn, the history nerd in me is so happy.
Profile Image for Geek Furioso.
99 reviews3,195 followers
August 31, 2016
"Sherlock Holmes de la historia" mis santos cojones.

Este es uno de los peores libros que he leído en mi vida. Es aburrido, costoso de leer, sus personajes son idiotas perdidos y está plagado de inexactitudes históricas cuando está escrito por una supuesta "historiadora". Pienso hacer una video reseña más extensa de este libro, pero ya de momento permitidme decir dos cosas:

1) Herman no sabe cerrar la puta boca. Está tan obsesionada con que su público es idiota y tiene la cabeza tan metida dentro de su culo con lo de ser "la Sherlock Holmes de la historia", que no puede resistirse a explicar cada puta mierda del mundo grecorromano. Todas. Ahí hay un hachón. ¿Apuesto a que no sabes que es un hachón, verdad? ¡Pues tranquilo, que te lo explico! Mira, Olimpia es descendiente de Aquiles. ¡Espera, estoy segura de que no sabes quién es Aquiles, pues te lo comento!

2) Herman se ha cargado la personalidad de personajes históricos para poder acomodar clichés adolescentes. Aquí Alejandro no es el príncipe arrogante y sediento de gloria que fue, sino "un pobre príncipe rodeado de problemas familiares, humilde, caritativo, humanitario y que se preocupa tanto de sus soldados que se ha molestado en aprenderse el nombre de todos ellos". Apuesto a que también se los sabía cuando les hizo marchar por el desierto por una rabieta. O Cinane, su hermanastra, que en vez de ser la aguerrida amazona que ganó victorias para Alejandro, aquí es una SJW de cuidado que va restregándose con zorrerío por todas partes, una diosa de la muerte con toda arma inventada por el hombre y la peor manipuladora que he visto en mi puta vida. Pero lo peor es el padre de Alejandro, Filipo. Ése me le guardo.

Esta reseña va a ser calentita. Pues me he convertido en Furia, destructor de historiadoras de mierda.
Profile Image for Maria V. Snyder.
Author 76 books16.9k followers
May 26, 2015
I was given an advance reading copy of this book with the hope that I'd like it enough to give it a cover blurb. This one is an epic fantasy with lots of characters, political intrigue, action, and history. The story is mostly about a young Alexander the Great and since Herman is a historian and has written non fiction history books, she really knows the historical setting. It was pretty neat that the setting details were accurate, yet the magic and mystery was all fiction.

I enjoyed it - I did have some trouble keeping track of everyone. Each chapter has a different character and sometimes it's five or six chapters before you return to a character and it took awhile for me to remember what was going on before with the character.

My cover blurb for this book is: "Real history mixed with magic, mystery and intrigue, a fascinating combination!"
Profile Image for Jillian .
441 reviews1,814 followers
July 5, 2015
Daaaaaaaaaaaamn this was really good. Full review to come
Profile Image for Cinda.
Author 33 books11.2k followers
May 26, 2015
Legacy of Kings is fantasy just the way I like it: a mingling of history, intrigue, romance, murder, and magic. It prompted me to spend time researching an era I know little about--the age of Alexander the Great.
Profile Image for Luce.
516 reviews35 followers
August 30, 2015
I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Get ready for the honesty.

This was one of my most anticipated releases of this year. As soon as I heard about it, I wanted it.

Unfortunately, I'm not even going to finish this. I love Alexander the Great. I find him endlessly fascinating. So when I get bored with a book about him after only 17%, there's a problem.

The thing is, this book ISN'T about Alexander the Great. He is just one of five main protagonists, and two were invented just for this novel. And I'm sorry, but I just don't care. When a book is marketed to me as YA Alexander the Great, I expect to get Alexander the Great, not a little Alexander and a whole lot of not-Alexander.

Also, when a book is marketed to me as written by a HISTORIAN, I don't expect to find glaring inaccuracies within the first 20%. A Macedonian with a Hebrew name in the 4th Century BC? Really?? I'm a total amateur when it comes to Alexander the Great and the period in which he lived so I should not be noticing mistakes made by someone who supposedly knows their shit.

And I know it's not a confirmed historical fact, but there are pretty significant theories that Alexander and Hephaestion were lovers - significant enough for it to be heavily implied in a major Hollywood production (Oliver Stone's 2004 film Alexander). At any rate, we know that Alexander himself was not straight - his eunuch lover, Bagoas, is almost as famous as Alexander himself. I hoped that this novel would at least acknowledge that.

Nope. Nothing.

Thank you Chiara for being a better woman than I am and actually finishing this book. I was considering eventually reading the rest until she told me about the disgusting hetero-washing. Finishing this book is about as appealing as doing my calculus homework was back in high school.

As in, I'd rather walk from Sydney to Perth in a raging duststorm than even entertain the prospect.

I wasn't expecting this book to be a celebration of Alexander and Hephaestion's relationship, but if A HOLLYWOOD FILM can suggest that they were lovers, surely a YA book can at least pay it lip service. But no, their queerness is swept under the rug the way queerness has ALWAYS been, and I'm so done with it.

I wanted so much to like this book but it turned out to everything I feared it would be.

Thank you for approving me for this, HarlequinTeen. I really appreciate it, and I wish I could give it a better review.

Netgalley tells me I'm supposed to include a link to the product page, so here: http://www.harlequinbooks.com.au/prod... but please know that I do not recommend this book. At all. Not if you like Alexander the Great. Not if you like the queerness of historical figures to be acknowledged. Not if you like historical accuracy.

Look, just watch Oliver Stone's film. It's not totally accurate either and Alex and Heph may not even kiss on screen, but at least neither of them are forcibly made heterosexual.

DNF'd at 17%.
Profile Image for Lisa Mandina.
1,907 reviews441 followers
July 18, 2015
First, thanks to Harlequin Teen for sending an advanced readers copy of this title out to the bookstores, where I was able to grab it at the Barnes and Noble where I work to read. I'd been seeing it around on other blogs on Waiting on Wednesday posts, and it sounded really good. A historical fiction about Alexander the Great as a teenager? Yeah, right? Sounds awesome! And it was! At first it took a bit to get the flow, as there are many characters we are following. But a little ways in I could remember who was who, and was starting to see how some characters were going to tie in with the others, while still others I'm still waiting to see a bit more about.

Read my full review at Lisa Loves Literature.
Profile Image for Giselle.
1,057 reviews907 followers
October 17, 2016
An Electronic Advance Reader Copy was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for review. Quotes have been pulled from an ARC and may be subject to change.

This is a retelling of Alexander the Great. Now I don't know much about him or his historic achievements, so I literally went in this with a clear head. No comparing to actual historic texts or even movies. So imagine my surprise that I pretty much fell for it.

There were so many sub-plots woven in that I couldn't really distinguish which one was my favourite. There are also a ton of characters, but they appear so frequently that you don't get lost because you remember their lives and their personalities. Eleanor Herman is a master at character development and I couldn't help but love how each one had a backstory. The writing is vividly detailed and rich. Felt like I was right there in the same time period feeling all of their despair and heartache. The only thing that bothered me about this read was the instantaneous love at first sight. I kid you not, most of these characters would just fall in love with every person they met. It was a bit too much. But I chose to ignore that and kept on trading anyway because I was swept up in the world and the characters.
Legacy of Kings was one thrilling read! Enjoyed it immensely. Especially how detailed the scenes were and how complex each character was. Can't wait for the rest of the series that I already requested to borrow the ebook from OverDrive and it's waiting for me to read right this instant. I also kind of wished I bought this when it came out, but then again the covers changed so now I can wait until the last book is out so they can all match.

For anyone looking for a great fantasy read, please pick this one up. I hope you won't be disappointed!


RATING 4/5

QUOTES

“A son with a weak mind is a misfortune. But even the strongest, most intelligent daughter is simply worthless.”

“Because sometimes it doesn’t help to chase after the thing you want. No. Sometimes you have to wait, however long it takes, until what you want most comes to you.”

“Kat hates men like that, men who are too attractive for their own good—and know it.”

“All women are witches. Sometimes a man can’t even be sure if his own children are his.”

“The world is frightening and cruel, especially to women.”

“A wise king must suspect everyone, particularly those who claim to be his friends.”

“We are all caged and wounded in our own way.”

“He wonders if she would taste of starlight if he kissed her.”
Profile Image for Mikee (ReadWithMikee).
203 reviews1,312 followers
February 9, 2017
HOLY CRAP. IT WAS A CHORE FORCING MYSELF TO FINISH THIS BOOK.

I was looking forward to reading Legacy of Kings, but my hopes and dreams literally feel like they've been crushed from how disappointed I am with this book. It could've been so much better. I feel like the way everything was carried out didn't reach its full potential. The concept itself was different compared to anything else I've read before, but I just think that Eleanor Herman didn't handle this one too well. The opportunity was there, but she just didn't grasp it.

Too much was going on but at the same time, it felt like not enough happened.

Before I started reading the book, I knew that there were multiple perspectives. Everyone kept complaining about them and I didn't think that it could've been THAT bad. But honestly, IT WAS BAD. There was a total of 7 different POVs (Katerina, Jacob, Alexander, Hephastion, Cynane, Olympias, Zofia). Each chapter focuses on one character's storyline. At first, it didn't seem so bad. Seven perspectives would be the most POVs I've read in a book, but I was so sure that I'd be able to keep up.

WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

I've never been this overwhelmed over a book before! The first act, okay. Five chapters, five different POVs. No biggie. However, it went by super duper slow and to be completely honest, it didn't really capture my interest. Of the seven characters that were introduced, I only liked four of them: Hephastion, Cynane, Zofia, and Jacob. That should've been a warning sign for me to DNF because I instantly didn't click with the center figure of the story, Alexander the Great, or even Katerina, who I can say is the main female protagonist. In fact, I already had a growing irritation beneath the surface for Katerina.

The idea of different POVs didn't bug me because I love a variety of characters. But because there were TOO many POVs, it took awhile for the story to progress because we would always have to pause in between storylines. If you wanted to hear more about Alexander, you would have to wait about five or so chapters to continue where you left off. Even though Alexander is supposedly the most important person in this story, he's BARELY in it. The book focuses more on Katerina, if anything. She's the only one who seems to have a motive to do anything. Everyone else is simply irrelevant. They didn't need a whole storyline dedicated to them and would've been better as supporting characters within the main POVs (Alexander and Kat).

However, it did start to pick up in the last 100 pages or so and made the last couple chapters bearable. And the story finally decided to shift over to show more of Alexander.

I appreciate Eleanor Herman's attempt to give the readers a variety of different characters to love but she just tried to do too much at once and it became overwhelming. Even though I almost DNF this book, I might give the sequel a chance and try to finish this series. Hopefully, the author tries a different approach in the next book.
Profile Image for Sophie.
1,235 reviews445 followers
December 31, 2015
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

As soon as I heard about this book, I knew I needed it. If you don't know, I'm currently studying History and Ancient History at university, and recently completed a module on Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic World. To be able to read about a young Alexander, during his regency of Macedon in his father, Philip's, absence, was like a dream come true. Thank you so much, Harlequin Teen, for the opportunity.

That being said, I was, to some extent, disappointed with this book. I knew going into it, from reading other reviews, that the writing style would take some getting used too. I think I counted seven different points of view, each of which that weren't all that distinctive. Perhaps if these PoVs had been in first person, it may have been more enjoyable. However, even though this seemed excessive, each and every PoV was needed in order to give the reader a full understanding of the story.

The seven PoVs were as follows:
- Alexander, Prince Regent and Heir Apparent of Macedon
- Hephaestion, Alex's best friend
- Queen Olympias of Macedon, mother to Alexander and wife of Philip II
- Cynane, Princess of Macedon, half-sister of Alex
- Katerina, an orphaned, peasant girl with a mission in Pella to kill the Queen
- Jacob, Kat's adopted-brother, and contestant in the Blood Tournament
- Zofia, Princess of Persia, who is to be engaged to Alex

Of these PoVs, I liked Kat's, Alex's, and Cyn's, and didn't enjoy Zo's. I felt, at least in book 1, that Zo was pretty much obsolete, and could only really see her connection to Alexander in a historical sense by her little sister, Roxana, who I'm guessing is the same Roxana who married Alexander in 327 BC. and bore him his only child, Alexander IV. Kat and Alex were my favourite characters overall, and I had sort of guessed their connection before it was revealed, but not to it's full extent. Their relationship was very sweet, and I'm glad it wasn't romantic, but rather a platonic love between them. Prince Arri (Philip Arrhidaeus, the disabled son of Philip II) was also a wonderful secondary character, who just needs caring for, and protecting.

Being an ancient history student, perhaps I'm looking too much into the historical accuracy of this book, rather than reading it from a layman's view. Nevertheless, the fantasy aspects of Legacy of Kings was as enjoyable as the historical accuracy. The book was slow to start, but once it picked up, the action was there. I especially enjoyed the battle scene towards the end of the book, which I'm guessing is based on the battle against the Thracian Maedi during Alexander's regency.

Though I was a tad disappointed in this book as a whole, I'm extremely excited to read book 2, Empire of Dust. I'm mainly can't wait to see how the revelations at the end of the book are dealt with, and I kind of want to see Philip return, and see that his son isn't weak, and will, one day, be the 'Great' king we know him to be. I think I just had too high an expectation about this book, and that is what let it down. For people who just want to read more about Greek, particularly Macedonian, history, this book would be perfect. It has the right balance of fact and fiction, and was a truly enjoyable read, once I got over my expectations.
Profile Image for Alyssa.
1,069 reviews843 followers
August 18, 2015
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog***

Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman
Book One of the Blood of Gods an Royals series
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publication Date: August 18, 2015
Rating: 3 stars
Source: eARC from NetGalley

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

What I Liked:

Don't pay too much attention to my rating. I hate three-star ratings, because there are positive three-star ratings, and there are negative three-star ratings. This one is more on the positive side. There was one seriously large thing I didn't like about this book, and then a few small ones, but for the most part, I enjoyed it. It took a while for me to regain my interest, but I finished the book quickly after my interest was rekindled.

Prince Alexander is named regent in his father's absence. The tournament has just begun, yet danger is all around Macedonia. Hephaestion is Pella's champion in the tournament, and Alexander's best friend. Cynane is Alexander's half-sister, who tries to turn Hephaestion against Alexander. Katerina is an orphan in Erissa, a friend of Jacob. Jacob is a contestant in the tournament, who is in love with Kat and wants to make a better future for her, should she agree to marry him. Zofia is a princess who is in love with a soldier, but will be given to Alexander to marry, if she does not find the Spirit Eaters and change her future. This is a complex story with so many intertwining lives and so much at stake.

I LOVE ancient history. Anything medieval, ancient, etc. History is one of my favorite subjects, and so it's no surprise that historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome has always fascinated (one of the first stories I ever wrote as a child was set in Ancient Greece!), and ancient times in Macedonia is a time of particular. I LOVE the story of Alexander the Great! So I was excited to see what Herman came up with, in Legacy of Kings.

While I am giving this book three stars, it is not in disappointment! I liked this book and will certainly be reading the sequel come next year. The setting is very high fantasy esque - with kings, queens, betrayals, scheming (SO MUCH SCHEMING), swords, fantastical creatures... it's easy to mistake this for more of a high fantasy novel than anything else. This seems to historical fantasy! Herman mixes magic with history, and it is quite alluring!

There are a lot of characters in this book (see my note on this in the next section). Kat is introduced first, so I think of her as the primary protagonist of the story (though she probably isn't - the bajillion protagonists in this book are likely of equal importance). I liked Kat the most anyway - she is calm and calculating, kind and selfless. She isn't in love with Jacob, her childhood best friend. But she accompanies him to the tournament, and she is noticed by the prince. Alexander takes her into the palace, all on a whim.

A lot of things in this book are based on whims. Kat came with Jacob because it felt like something she needed to do. Alexander saved Kat and brought her to the palace because something about her mystified him. The queen didn't investigate a disturbance outside of her window because she didn't feel like she had to. The characters of this world rely on prophecies and intuition and the gods, so they often do things based on feelings and intuition.

I liked Alexander a lot. He is scarred in the leg, and this is apparently not good luck. Everyone does not want him on the throne because of this deformity, which is so unfair. He is more than capable, more than competent. He is an able-bodied fighter, and a smart prince. Alexander has a clever mind and a good, kind heart.

The other characters in this book are important as well. Hephaestion, Alexander's best friend. Cynane, Alexander scheming, wild half-sister. Zofia, Alexander's future fiancee, in love with another man. Jacob, champion at the tournament, in love with Kat. The queen, Alexander's mother, creepy and power-hungry.

The story starts off rather slow (see below), but it picks up around the one-fifth mark, and I finished pretty quickly after my interest was piqued. I didn't want this book to disappoint me, and I knew I would finish it regardless. Nevertheless, I had no problems finishing the book.

Romance - there is little romance in this novel. Jacob is in love with Kat from the start, but Kat is not in love with him. Nor does she really fall for anyone. Zofia has her own love story, but that looks like it's not going anywhere. Also, she is supposed to be getting engaged to Alexander at some point, so we'll see if that happens or not. I do have a main ship, but I will not mention the names in the review.

I LOVE how this book finishes. All the deceit comes to light, especially in terms of Hephaestion and Cynane. Alexander finds out something very important, as does Kat. Cynane might actually get what she deserves. Zofia might not. So much happens at the end, it was hard to keep up! Not in a bad way though. I cannot wait to read Empire of Dust - if only to find out more about the title! But seriously, I anxiously await the sequel!

What I Did Not Like:

Several things made the rating of this book drop. The most significant - the sheer amount of perspectives this book had. What hurt the book most was the amount of points-of-view the author employed. All third-person, which was probably good, given the amount of perspectives. Kat, Alexander, Hephaestion, Cynane, Zofia, Jacob... I think those were all? Six. Six different POVs. That was waaaay too many. The story felt disjointed and disconnected at first. The pieces didn't fit together, the perspectives didn't make sense against one another.

As the story went on, things started to make more sense. But at first, the book was very slow, and it did not help. I was not getting into the story, especially with so many switches in perspectives. There were way too many perspectives, and the beginning was way too slow.

We need more answers! I'm sure the author will answer a hundred of my question in Empire of Dust, but one of the most frustrating things about reading this book (WHILE reading it) was the feeling of not knowing everything. And yet, some things were very obvious (like the green eyes).

My biggest problem was definitely the number of perspectives though. That was crippling.

Would I Recommend It:

Still, despite the dislikes, I recommend this book. It is excellent historical fiction, with a generous side of fantasy. Did I mention magic? Kat, Alexander, and the queen have interesting abilities, as does Kat's mother, and some minor characters in the book. Oracles, Pegasus, hellions, and other supernatural beings abound in this book. Very cool stuff! An intriguing novel, worth the read, though you definitely have to muscle through the beginning.

Rating:

3.5 stars -> rounded down to 3 stars. Again, kind of ignore the rating? 3.5 stars is more accurate than 3 stars. I liked this book, and will definitely be looking forward to reading Empire of Dust!
Profile Image for Briar.
835 reviews
August 20, 2022
“Questions are answered not when you want an answer but when the time for answers is right.”

That quote is right … because no question was ever answered in this book.

Legacy of Kings was not a bad book per se, but I found it a confusing, frequently boring one. Perhaps I had high expectations for this novel – hello, it’s about Alexander the Great – and those expectations were just not met. Or maybe this book just wasn’t worth the hype.

Legacy of Kings is a magical fantasy novel full of myth and history. I picked this book up because it’s about Alexander the Great in his formative years, which should seem like a fun adventure story, right? Wrong.

My first issue with the novel was the ridiculous amount of POV characters: seven. My friend, that is too many POV characters, this isn’t Game of Thrones where that many characters makes sense. This is only a 400-page novel. I constantly confused the characters and couldn’t remember whose chapter I was reading, because some of them did just not need to have a POV.

Let’s briefly go through them:

The characters who may/may not have needed to be in the book:

Of course you can’t have a book about Alexander the Great without the man himself, and thankfully, I really liked his portrayal. Despite the fact that ALEX doesn’t actually play a large part in this book (he is continually overshadowed by other characters), he was my favourite character.

KAT was … a very annoying character. I wasn’t very interested in her storyline at all, nor her as a person. Her character/personality fluctuated as the storyline demanded, and she always seemed to pop up at the most random times and/or as a deus ex machina.

CYN was a very confusing character. I get the feeling that she was intended to be this badass warrior, but she didn’t really do anything? She was akin to an irritating fly that buzzes everywhere and basically annoys everyone. I honestly have no clue as to what her role in the novel was, so please don’t ask. She was just there to cause trouble, but didn’t actually succeed in doing anything.

At the beginning of the book, HEPHAESTION was one of my favourite characters. I’ll be honest: there was a part of me that hoped (read: expected) Heph and Alex would be together in a romantic relationship – after all, it’s historical canon. But they weren’t, not even a little bit, and I was really, really annoyed and that feeling kind-of-almost-definiely translated to the novel itself. Now, I fully understand that there is such a thing as creative license, and that an author can do whatever they want with their novel, but listen: Alexander and Hephaestion’s relationship was romantic in nature, which many scholars and historians agree on. Of course, we shouldn’t place our modern understanding of the word ‘romance’ to describe them: they were brothers-in-arms, best friends, lovers – everything that almost every Ancient Greek male solider was with his comrade.

Paul Cartledge, a Professor of Greek History in the University of Cambridge, explained his understanding of Alexander’s relationship with Hephaestion:

‘‘The question of Alexander’s sexuality–his predominant sexual orientation–has enlivened, or bedeviled, much Alexander scholarship. That he loved at least two men there can be little doubt. The first was the Macedonian noble Hephaestion, a friend from boyhood, whom he looked on–and may actually have referred to–as his alter ego. The Persian queen mother, it was said, once mistook the taller Hephaestion for Alexander, who graciously excused her blushes by murmuring that ‘he too is Alexander’. Whether Alexander’s relationship with the slightly older Hephaestion was ever of the sort that once dared not speak its name is not certain, but it is likely enough that it was. At any rate, Macedonian and Greek mores would have favored an actively sexual component rather than inhibiting or censoring it. Like hunting, homosexuality was thought to foster masculine, especially martial, bravery.”


If it’s not obvious by now, I take the firm stance that Alexander and Hephaestion were lovers. They were not monogamous lovers – as Ancient Greeks didn’t understand the concept of monogamy – but they were lovers all the same. My issue with Legacy of Kings is that the book doesn’t even mention or touch on this facet of their relationship.

Look, Eleanor Herman is well within her rights not to include the romance, but we live in such a heteronormative society, is it so wrong of me to want to see queer representation from a character who is based on a real life person who was almost certainly queer himself? Is it wrong of me to get annoyed by the erasure of real-life queer romance? Do you think I’m over-exaggerating?

(Of course this issue isn’t an actual fault with the book itself, this is all me and I understand that.)

Anyway, I digress.

OLYMPIA was one of the few interesting characters. I was honestly frightened by her POV chapters, and wanted to read more from her to discover just what the hell was happening. She was definitely one of the few female villains who is genuinely scary, and I sort of want to read the other books just for her, but ultimately she was not a strong enough character for me to invest my time in the remaining two books.

ZO … had nothing at all to do with the storyline. I struggle to understand her importance to the storyline and the only thing I can come up with is that she was there to add extra pages to the novel.

JACOB was a little sweetheart, and I really liked his character. Like … every single other character, he doesn’t really has anything to do with the main storyline and kind of goes off on his own adventure, but Herman gets props because he was cute.

The plot:

I read a review of this book a while ago (I can’t find it now!) but the reviewer had summed up my issue with this novel in one sentence: too much happens in this book, and at the same time not enough happens.

That is the most accurate description of this book. Herman shoves all this information and all these characters in our faces but the plot doesn’t develop. Instead, the characters have small adventures on their own, occasionally meet up/save other characters, come together to defeat the random bad guys who show up 3/4 of the way into the novel, and then the book ends with all of these loose ends and I’m left wondering what happened: a lot … but actually nothing.

The writing:

The writing was actually quite lovely. Herman is a great writer and her prose perfectly encapsulating the mystical tone of the book. I was honestly swept away by some of her sentences.

Sometimes with a slow book, the author’s writing can make me forget about the slow-moving plot and I can fully immerse myself in the story, but that wasn’t the case here. Herman’s writing really wasn’t enough to make me forget about the lack of plot progress or the annoying characters.

Final thoughts:

Legacy of Kings has quite a few high ratings from reviewers I trust and I am a little gobsmacked by that fact. Did we read the same book? It looks likes that many reviewers had the same issues with me, but they were able to disassociate themselves from the problems. I couldn’t.
Profile Image for Jeann (Happy Indulgence) .
1,010 reviews4,160 followers
September 25, 2015
This review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!

Blending historical fiction with an engaging YA fantasy, Legacy of Kings takes a look at Alexander the Great during his teenage years before his rise to power. And what a rich and fascinating world it was, bringing to life a period in history where Greek royalty practiced the occult, where a 16 year old skilled in war strategy and tactics ran an army, where the world worshipped Greek gods and goddesses.

Although there were many point of views here, covering the brief perspectives of at least six characters, I never struggled to keep track of them. Each and every character was there to give us a different perspective of life back then, from the royalty and corruption of the Greek courts to the Persian slave traders and their thirst for gold.

Although Alexander was the drawcard here, with his charisma, humility for all people whether friend or foe, and strategic mind, I was drawn to the strong female characters. From the peasant girl Katerina and the mystery behind her mother’s death and thirst for revenge, to the insufferable but alluring Cynane, a princess who would rather fight in battles than be constrained to a life of domestic duties, they each had strong personalities. They were all flawed characters with strong objectives, yet with admirable traits to balance them out, so they felt realistic.

The only character I had trouble connecting with was Jacob, who seems to blindly “love” his best friend Katerina, yet he never seemed to understand her all that well. Jacob spends much of his time playing mind games with Katerina. Just because she doesn’t want to hook up with you, doesn’t mean she doesn’t love you! It was annoying how he thought the world revolved around himself.

It’s the mythology and world building in this book that made it feel really authentic. The author’s a historian who presented historically accurate details of the time period, the people, the cultural and their beliefs in a really engaging way. I loved the time period represented here, where heroes will rise and fall, where they believe in mythical creatures and blood magic, where the legendary figures in Sparta, Greece and Persia are brought to life.

Although the historical setting is what I loved about the book, at times the writing felt a little too simplistic with what was trying to be conveyed. This made it readable and easily digested when it came to the descriptions however – it didn’t feel like ‘boring’ historical fiction.

Legacy of Kings covers a time where legends are embodied in mortals and where worshipping, magic and legendary historical figures in Ancient Greece are brought to life. I personally LOVE this time period and enjoyed the historical setting. Those who enjoy multiple point of views and ancient history will enjoy this book, although those who don’t enjoy many point of views may find themselves struggling to connect to some of the characters.

I received a review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Hannah ◇ReaderintheRough◇.
198 reviews73 followers
January 21, 2016
2.5 Stars.

This book would have been four stars were it not for:

1) The unnecessary POVs of Jacob and Zophia (though I do like Zophia, her POV detracted from Alexander's story and was too disjointed from what was happening in the rest of the book). Authors: stahpppp with the Jacobs. Jacobs as love interests are overrated (DAMMIT Stephanie Meyer).

2:The games/tournament was stupid (and very copycat, *cough, cough* Hunger Games). And (minor spoiler) is actually pointless and null because of later events (read: betrayals) that take place.

3: If Alexander was accurately portrayed as bisexual.

4: If this were targeted for a more mature audience. Because Alexander was BISEXUAL and there was so much alluding to sex but hardly any sexy-sexy going on.


I definitely want to read the next book and hope the plot sharpens, because this is a great part of history and the author had some really great bits in this book that got dragged down by the loose ends and never ending change in perspective.
Profile Image for Marta Álvarez.
Author 23 books5,747 followers
January 23, 2016
Es un poco denso, con un ritmo constante, aunque no especialmente ágil. Desde luego, que tenga varios frentes abiertos y cambie constantemente de perspectiva ayuda a mantener el interés. Aún así, me gustaría haber podido leerlo más del tirón.
Me gusta cómo está escrito, y la ambientación histórica/fantástica. Lo que no me he terminado de creer son las relaciones entre personajes.
Profile Image for k .
292 reviews
May 14, 2018
can't wait to read the sequel.

I love everything about the book except Cyn. I mean, she's a bitch, okay?
Profile Image for Caitlin.
339 reviews698 followers
July 12, 2017
This book has been sitting on my shelf since January. I randomly found it in Dymocks and it sounded right up my alley so I bought it! However, the reviews I've seen have been pretty bad and a lot of people didn't enjoy this book so I was pretty nervous going into it. I really shouldn't have waited so long to read this book since it was actually pretty great.

My mum and I are huge history buffs - especially ancient history. My mum studied Alexander the Great a lot when she was my age and she always insisted that I learn about him. I actually have hardly any knowledge on him though since I never studied him when I was in high school (I stuck to all the fucked up evil guys for my assignments because they were more interesting). I saw that this book was meant to be loosely based on his story and that made me so pumped to read it. I can't tell you if any of the information in here is anyways accurate, but I can tell you that's a quality book.

I saw a lot of people say that there are a lot of POV's and it gets a bit much sometimes and I suppose I agree. I feel like a lot of people had a lot of different stories going and it was a) hard to keep up and b) i felt like some stories just weren't going anywhere fast. For example I was intrigued by Zo's POV but she only got a few chapters and her story stopped suddenly while most of the other characters kinda finished their story for this book. I actually liked all the characters though so I can't complain on that.

Overall this was just a pretty great book. I really liked it and hopefully I'll pick up the next one shortly 😂
Profile Image for Vilma.
610 reviews2,874 followers
September 10, 2015
An utterly spellbinding and fascinating mix of magic and history.
Epic in every sense of the word.


From the first time I read the synopsis, I knew this was the kind of book I would devour. Appealing to both my love of history and my love of fantasy, bestselling author Eleanor Herman delivers a fascinating and gripping story with her YA fantasy debut. Known for her historical novels, Herman imbues that same richness and depth in Legacy of Kings, as is evidenced by not only her world building, but also her nuanced and complex characters. Imparted primarily by six distinctive point of views, she weaves a tale where empires begin to rise to power, where magic and myth stir amidst evil and deception.

We meet sixteen-year-old Alexander (Alex), heir to the throne of Macedonia, who dreams of taking his rightful place as an unstoppable leader, irrespective of his father, King Philip II.

“He has other plans, plans his father doesn’t know about. And if he succeeds, he’ll be the greatest leader this world has ever known.”


Along with his best friend and confidante, Hephaestion (Heph), Alex devises a plan to fulfill his fate, but when their plan goes awry in the Blood Tournament, everything changes. Then Alex meets Katerina (Kat), an orphan from Erissa, and an unexpected and unexplainable connection forges between them, complicating the mission Kat is determined to accomplish. Kat is in Pella, the kingdom of Macedon, to infiltrate the palace and right the wrongs of her past, beginning with Alex’s maliciously shrewd mother, Queen Olympias. She’s also there to watch over the boy she loves, Jacob, who bests Heph in the tournament, but gets entangled with the mysterious, deceptive and powerful Aeserian Lords. Meanwhile, we also come across the Persian Princess Zofia (Zo), who runs from her destiny in search of the man she truly loves to escape her betrothal to Alex, whom she’s never met.

Meanwhile, Alex’s half-sister, Cynane (Cyn), plays a dangerous game as she too wishes to be free from her own fate. But as some rise to power, some search for it in long-lost magic, some wield it through unspeakable ways, and yet, some work to brutally rid it from the kingdom… come what may. And when the story naturally builds into an epic, heart-pounding crescendo, nearing a window where fates can be re-imagined, their lives and destines twine and unfurl in surprising, exciting and catastrophic ways.

“She has waited ten years for this moment. Ten years. It is more than just an eclipse—iit signals the end of an era, the completion of another thousand-year cycle. According to the old priests and priestesses of the north, the Age of the Gods is coming to an end… Many philosophers predict that during these great shifts, fates can be altered, curses lifted, and unthinkable feats achieved.”


The main points of view (Alex, Kat, Heph, Cyn, Jacob, Zo) weave together brilliantly and distinctively, each character’s voice and personality coming to life vividly. In addition, I loved how we saw so many strong and fearless heroines, who were as complex as they were fierce. In Kat, Cyn, Zo and even Olympias, we see their dark sides through their manipulation and scheming… sometimes with good intentions, sometimes not. We see friendships emerge and be tested, love challenged and seemingly lost, but through it all, a compulsively readable and gripping tale emerges that I was simply unable to put down. Some might say that the beginning was somewhat slow, however, with so many POVs, a rich and complex world to enliven and a layered plot to build, I thought it was perfect and appropriate. The detail in both setting and character development is essential to bringing this story to life.

History and magic, blood and bone, power and deception—they all mix masterfully in this epic saga of gods and royals.

✦ ✦ ✦ ✦

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Profile Image for Elena.
570 reviews181 followers
September 8, 2015
I loved so many things about this book but at the same time I feel like it took me ages to get through it. When I was reading it I loved it but as soon as put it down I forgot about it.
Overall I think the characters were interesting and somehow complex and I can not wait to find out how their stories continue !
Profile Image for Amber (Books of Amber).
581 reviews678 followers
December 22, 2015
This review was originally posted on Books of Amber

If you have known me for a while then you'll have no trouble recalling that I am a total nerd when it comes to Ancient History. It started when I was five years old with Xena, which I used to watch with my grandparents at all hours of the night, and then the fascination progressed when we studied Egypt, Rome, and Greece in school. And then it became a full blown obsession when I watched Spartacus back in 2011, which then eventually led me to study Classical Civilisations as a hobby in my free time and gain a qualification in it. The point of this story? Well, Alexander the Great was one of my modules, and ever since I started reading more about him I decided that he's one of the most interesting people of Ancient Greece and I needed to know everything. So when Legacy of Kings popped up on my radar, I had to get it.

I'm sure you can all see where this is going. I didn't like the book. This is partly because I'm an Alexander stan (it's a thing) and partly because I just didn't like the book itself, historical inaccuracies and injustices aside. I'll talk about the book stuff first without all of the other stuff because I feel like it'll be best to get the bits that I'm least passionate about out of the way first.

My biggest two issues with this book were the multitude of points of view and the writing style. Firstly, there were... seven? I think? points of view in this book and it was too much for a 380 page book. If you're going to have that many points of view, then your book needs to be longer. You need to do a George R. R. Martin. And your writing had better flow and it had better not be boring as hell. Herman really didn't accomplish any of those things with Legacy of Kings. I was bored through most of it, and the constant changes of viewpoints were jarring at best. Not only that, but I signed up for a book about Alexander, not about a million other side characters who will probably be more relevant later on in the series but as of right now I don't give a shit about any of them. At all.

And now I've got that off my chest, let me tell you about how Legacy of Kings completely ignores all historians and facts and proof that Alexander the Great was anything other than straight. And yes, this is a young adult book, and so perhaps Alexander just hasn't realised how not-straight he is just yet, but there should have been at least some HINTS. That's all I ask. You see, it's pretty much universally accepted by everyone that Alexander was either bisexual/pansexual/gay. Unless you talk to people who are in complete and utter DENIAL, who try to say that Alexander's kiss with a eunuch dancer was nothing and his relationship with Hephaestion was PLATONIC, even though Alexander compared them to friggin' ACHILLES AND PATROCLUS, THE TWO GAYEST MEN IN CLASSIC FICTION. Ehem.

I could go into an essay about how, as the classical world started to crumble, our modern world started to veer towards homophobia and thus suppressed all mentions of homosexuality and tried to erase it from history, but I don't think this is the time or the place for that right now.

Onwards.

So there was no Alexander/Hephaestion and I was distraught. There were also "games" (think a mild version of the Hunger Games) in an "arena", which weren't really a thing in Ancient Greece because those guys thought they were too good for bloody fights and such caveman ways (the Romans should probably have taken note...), and there was also a Macedonian character called Jacob. Yes, I get that it's just a name and I suppose people were called all sorts of things, but that form of the name "Jacob" is Hebrew. Why not go with the Greek form? It was odd. Also, how were all of these female characters not married already? Herman makes it seem like women in Ancient Greece had a choice and were able to stay single until they were twenty. Ha.

I skimmed the ending because I really wasn't enjoying this book in the slightest. As you can see, I had a lot of issues with it that I just couldn't look past, and I didn't even go into the romantic tropes and pairings that were so dull and lacking in chemistry that I was hoping someone would get stabbed with a sword to make those scenes more interesting.

The only way I would carry on with this series would be if Herman decided to do a 180 and actually do Alexander the Great and the LGBTQ+ community some justice and have the character come to realise that he's not 1000000% straight. Because I would read a boring book for a better depiction of Alexander. But I don't see that happening.

Profile Image for Nemo ☠️ (pagesandprozac).
879 reviews411 followers
Shelved as 'nein-nein-nein'
February 23, 2018
from the best-selling writer of "if achilles and patroclus aren't queer i ain't interested" comes the startling sequel "if alex and hephaistion ain't queer i ain't interested"

Profile Image for kippen (uponthepages).
156 reviews135 followers
May 24, 2017
Thank the Gods I discovered this book. It's been on my shelf for a good while now but I finally was in the mood for a Fantasy novel. In preparation for the sequel coming out this month, I finally picked it up. This cover just screams an epic Fantasy. Eleanor Herman is New York Times bestselling author of nonfiction works including Sex with Kings, Sex with the Queen, Mistress of the Vatican, etc. Not only that, but she also hosted several episodes of Lost Worlds, a History channel TV show. I haven't read anything else by her but i'm assuming she excels in writing smut. She decided to write a Young Adult novel inspired by Alexander the Great because as she says, they're "faster, edgier, and more compelling." Throughout reading Legacy Of Kings, it was noticeable that she's usually an Adult writer due to it's heavy description, scandalous scenes, and gore filled fight scenes. Yet, so beautifully written based on History with magic excessively weaved in. The magic in this story was based off of actual myths during 340 B.C. and it was so engaging. I got so excited when it was brought up while Kat was reading the scrolls. I wish we could of learned more about it then that one part. Also, Does Alex have some sort of power? I wasn't sure I completely got that part at the beginning. I'll have to read the next one just to experience their magic more.
I was fond of all the characters, especially Cyn and Heph. Except that one cliche scene when she asked what it would be like if they kissed. *thumbs down* Other than that, Cyn was such a badass. I think she was my favorite part of the book. Kat and Jacob's romance kind of disgusted me. It reminded me too much of Gale and Katniss (whom I actually hated while reading.) I felt like Jacob was useless to the story and near the end, I definitely could of done without him. I also didn't enjoy reading from Zofia's POV. I felt so apathetic trying to push myself through them. I know she was betrothed to Alex but I don't see her importance to the plot yet. I don't know how I feel about Kat, though. I think her magic is interesting and especially her family. The story about Helen was so gripping because we never got enough information until the end.
This was obviously a build up to the sequel. The world building was insanely well done but the story went slow. I finished this in the span of 4 days, though. I kept coming back to it because the end of each chapter made me want more. But, the last fews days I was wondering, when will this blow my mind? I can't say I exactly felt like it did near the end, but I know i'm going to read the sequel and I actually can't wait for it. For my first Historical Fiction book, I don't regret reading it. Despite it's cons, I think it has so much potential.

Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,120 reviews1,365 followers
July 24, 2015
2.5/5

I saw pictures of Eleanor Herman at BEA rocking her Ancient Greek attire and thought that she seemed like a really cool author. I promptly looked into the summary of her debut Legacy of Kings and basically wept with joy because it sounded so epic. While the setting and the history themselves were rock solid, I struggled with quite a few elements in Legacy of Kings.

My first issue: the multiple POVs. I'm generally not a fan of multiple POVs, but I've enjoyed a few in the past. In Legacy of Kings, there were way too many POVs, approximately 5 or 6, which took away from my enjoyment. The problem with having so many character point of views is that I had a hard time keeping up with the characters. We meet one character in one chapter and then have to wait 5 more to meet them all over again. This ultimately led me to not really connecting with any of the characters. I did like Katerina quite a bit, but because we spent so little time with her over the course of the book, I just didn't find her to be very memorable. I firmly believe this book would have been so much tighter and so much more awesome if the book were only told through Kat and Alexander's voices and it would not have taken anything away from the plot at all. I will admit that I was quite fascinated by the villains in the book, like I usually with many fantasy books. They had that creepy and twisted minds thing going on for them and I was just waiting for them to bring a storm into the lives of the other characters. What I did enjoy in Legacy of Kings, however, was the world building. Eleanor Herman used history and incorporated it together with her own ideas to craft this phenomenal setting that was engaging from start to finish. That being said, the book was incredibly slow in the story department. I was waiting for something to happen, but the book wasn't eventful at all. It also didn't help that I was able to guess most of the twists that the author had in store for readers.

Overall, Legacy of Kings was a rather disappointing novel. I think I had too high hopes for this book and together with the multiple characters and the shaky plot, it lead to me feeling rather bored while reading. For now, I'm not sure if I'll be picking up the sequel, but if I hear good things about it, I might because this is a series that has the potential to be really good.
Profile Image for Booknut 101.
849 reviews923 followers
September 12, 2015
Legacy of Kings is a YA fantasy novel that is easy to read and enjoy.

Fantasy is a brilliant genre. But often it's overshadowed by its reputation for having convoluted plot and descriptions. There is a misconception that for a fantasy novel to be enjoyable, it needs to be complicated. But that isn't the case at all.

Legacy of Kings proves this. It provides readers with a cast of intriguing characters and allows them to develop naturally alongside the development of the book's plot. Eleanor Herman's writing entertains and transports the reader, making for an enjoyable fantasy read.

Woven throughout the plot are rich and riveting concepts.

Legacy of Kings sets up a world full of interesting concepts that add a layer of complexity and intrigue. I couldn't find the words to describe the impact of these concepts - it's something you truly have to experience for yourself. But I picked some of my favourite examples of Eleanor Herman's story writing to share with you all:

'According to Audata, her mother, most magic of the blood was inherited. It came down through generations, like eye or hair color. But not Smoke Blood. Smoke Blood was earned. It allowed a person to triumph over pain—over death, even. That power could be found. Could be made—with an act of great betrayal, the blood of someone turned against his child or beloved friend.'

'He really was ready to die for Alex. Soldiers talk of heroism all the time; poets sing about the glory of self-sacrifice. But Cynane has never actually seen a man willing to put someone else’s life before his own. True loyalty—it’s almost unheard of. And it’s exactly what Cyn has been looking for all these years. Correction: it’s what she has been looking to destroy.'

Eleanor Herman has created a realistic ancient world full of lore, love, and sacrifice that is sure to become a fast favourite with lovers of fantasy.
Profile Image for Kim.
272 reviews240 followers
August 7, 2015
2.5

Well, it looks like I missed the hype bus for this one. Legacy of Kings failed to engage me at the start and, unfortunately, the slow pace and predictable plot kept me from engaging throughout. This is a sort of “retelling” of the story of a young Alexander the Great, but with some minor fantastical element, namely magic. It’s like “history, but magic is real!” Awesome, right? Except when the characters are dryly drawn, the plot is ridiculously convenient, and there is nary a fresh twist or turn to be seen.

Clocking in at past 450 pages, this book could easily have done with a good bit of editing. There are seven POV characters, so if multi-POV makes you dizzy this is not going to be your thing. I normally love multi POV, but not here. The voices stretched so thin, and are so very repetitive. I feel like this book could have easily been 100 less pages if the characters hadn’t constantly and repetitively been internally monologuing. Each POV character would repeat their plot goal in every single chapter. It was to the point where I wanted to say each time, “Yes I understood your goal the first time you said it. You don’t have to repeatedly intone it in every single chapter.” I don’t know if it was thinking that switching between the POVs that readers would forget which character’s goals were which but you just need to have greater faith in YA readers’ ability than this. It made for a super tiring experience.

Find the rest of my review at The Midnight Garden
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