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(Dancing with the Lion #1)

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  127 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Two boys, one heroic bond, and the molding of Greece’s greatest son.

Before he became known as Alexander the Great, he was Alexandros, the teenage son of the king of Makedon. Rather than living a life of luxury, as prince he has to be better and learn faster than his peers, tackling problems without any help. One such problem involves his increasingly complicated feelings f
ebook, 282 pages
Published July 1st 2019 by Riptide Publishing
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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Optimist ♰King's Wench♰
I've always been intrigued by Alexander the Great so requesting this was a no-brainer. Arguably the most prolific conqueror the world has ever seen and all by the age of 32! Incredible, is the only word for that sort of accomplishment. Reames, too, seems to be an ardent fan of him and she's clearly knowledgeable about not only Alexander but this period in general, something that is evident in the writing.

However, said writing is dry and for the most part unengaging. It reads like a textbook at t
Dreaming the Lion has one major problem: it looks awful. That title is terrible and the subtitle even moreso. It sounds like a cheap romance novel, and the cover really tries to sell that idea also. I would frankly never have picked up this book had I not recognized the name of the author as a respected historian of Macedon and author of a blog I rather liked.

Aside from that it’s pretty close to perfect.

This book tells the story of the early years of Alexander the Great with a focus on the relat
Joyfully Jay
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A Joyfully Jay review.

5 stars

I have to start by acknowledging a slight bias here — I went to school for history and was enthralled by the classics. As a result, my interest in all things Alexander the Great started early and left a lasting impression. Becoming is an excellent fictionalization of Alexander’s childhood and the early days of his relationship with Hephaistion. The book is written with strong attention to detail and reads as credible in nearly every way. We know Alexander as one of
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Professor Reames is an impeccable ancient historian who, for the last twenty years, made herself the world's leading authority on Hephaestion, son of Amyntor, Alexander's foremost marshall and vizier, who had been a gay icon since the 60s only to become a hot commodity world wide after Jared Leto momentously gave him his traits and figure in Oliver Stone's Alexander movie. Unlike the traditionally sour takes on Hephaestion by experts (W. W. Tarn and Helmut Berve and Robin Lane Fox and Waldemar H ...more
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The moment , I read the blurb of Dancing with the Lion: Becoming , I was hook, line and sinker.

I always have been fascinated with Alexander the Great and this extremely well researched and crafted book gave me lots of food for thought.

I enjoyed reading this book.

I received a copy of Dancing with the Lion at my request from Riptide Publishing through NetGalley and I am giving my unbiased and voluntary review.
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It’s been a while since I stayed up all night to finish a book.

There’s a lot—a whole lot—to like here. But a little I didn’t. Let’s start there. This is half a book. Reames has made clear elsewhere (, it’s one novel divided for publishing purposes. While I get that most people don’t read long stuff, personally, I’d have liked to see the whole thing at once. The ending was powerful (see below), but I still felt like I should be turning the page to the next chapter. I’ll reserve judgmen
This was a fascinating read.

The author brought ancient Greece to light with such accuracy that it was clear it is an area in which she delights. I didn't even know she was a history professor till I read up on her but it made perfect sense after I did. Her attention to detail was impeccable.Unfortunately, it was this attention to detail that slowed the pace of this book considerably.

I will admit that it had something to do with my expectations. I thought it would be a fast paced book about how
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review will be published on my blog on June 1, 2019.

The son of the King of Makdon – Alexandros is on track to be a leader and is battling to be treated like everyone else. Hephaistion arrives – searching for his own destiny and becomes friends with the young prince. Their relationship flourishes as they begin their education together under the trusted guidance of Aristoteles. As Alexandros battles his way through the harsh lessons facing him, his emotional attachment to Hephaistion.
Oct 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed the book. It reminded me of Mary Renault's Fire from Heaven in that it submerged me in Alexander's world. On many levels I found it more satisfying. Dancing with the Lion is a poignant account of two young men coming of age and their commitment to one another and the context of a distant world that we still struggle to understand. In some ways it is better than the Renault books--the richness of the research reflected and the attention to questions of language and naming. (I par ...more
Dec 04, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition


For those who enjoyed the novels (book 1 Becoming and book 2 Rise), and would like more from the boys, I have several cut scenes on my website, as well as 3 others that occur between the books.

These 3 include "Moth & Flame," a bit of romantic floof, "Two Scorpions," Olympias takes on Hephaistion in a one-on-one confrontation, and finally, the novelette "For the Love of Geometry," which shows the boys from the point of view of the adults, plus a bet between King Phi
Thor Odindotter
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Is this, in my humble opinion, the definitive fictionalization of Alexander the Great?
Yep. It is.
At long last we slightly feral Argead nerds have an incredible, well-paced, well-characterized, ACTUALLY INTERESTING fictionalization of both Phillip and Alexander (and a significant number of other major players) that doesn't force the audience to slog through a bucket of purple prose, self-important reflections on *GLORY*, or a wooden Irishman in a truly horrible wig doing imitations of various m
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: young-adult
A year ago, I read Ms. Reames' article on Alexander the Great's relationship with Hephaistion Amyntoros; I was looking forward to see how her conclusions translated to a work of fiction. "Dancing with the Lion" didn't disappoint.

Many authors have already put their own spins on the legend that is Alexander the Great, but I haven't read anything that humanizes this figure quite as much as "Dancing with the Lion" did. Alexandros (Reames used the original Greek names) is 13 when we meet him in the s
I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley

I don't know why, but I just could not really get into this book. I think part of it the fact that the pacing is sooo slooow. I don't know how many books the author has planned for this series but Alexander is still very young at the end of this one and I don't feel like a lot happened beyond 'he trained for the army for a bit and also had some lessons with Aristotle'. Also the epilogue was very weird and I didn't feel like it fit with the rest o
Jun 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you are interested in Alexander's life as a young prince, this book is definitely worth a read. I absolutely adore this book. I am very grateful for Dr. Jeanne Reames choice to use her competence of Ancient history to blow life into these old, dusty ruins of the past. In this book, she breathes new life into historical figures that are depicted as three-dimentional characters.

The writing is sophisticated, yet simple at the same time. The depictions are beautiful without being purple-prosey.
Coralee Hicks
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
Jeanne Reames is a highly regarded scholar. Currently she the Graduate Program Chair for the History Dept at the University of Nebraska. She has published numerous papers on Macedonia at the time of Alexander the Great, on Greek and Macedonian Religion, and on Greek Gender Studies. How wonderful to have such an expert write the love story between Alexander and Hephaistion.

Becoming (Book 1) is just that. We meet Alexandros (Alexander) as a young teen. True he is the king's acknowledged son. This
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ever since I heard Dr Jeanne Reames was writing books on a young Alexander, I've been intrigued. It's been a long wait but a worthwhile one. I loved the first book in the series.

It's probably impossible to read an AtG novel without comparing it to the famed Mary Renault Alexander Trilogy. While Renault's literary merit was indisputable, I was much more emotionally invested and satisfied reading "Becoming". The book starts when Alexandros(AtG) was almost 13 and ends at his initiation into the Dio
Jul 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
i dedicate my review of this book to my history professor, who kinned Philip II so hard that he once spent an entire class period making us pretend to be Macedonian nobles advising him on whether or not to attack Athens.

i read this book on the recommendation of someone whose classics and Alexander opinions i respect, and i was not even a little bit disappointed. the prose and characterization are good, and make for a delightful read. however, it is Reames’ knowledge of Greek language, history,
Oct 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’ve always been interested in the life of Alexander but never really had a clear picture of who he was. This book made it possible to imagine his everyday life with all of the typical teenage moods and behaviors, all while growing up as a prince.
I found the various descriptions of nature to be especially vibrant throughout and really made the past come alive. I felt like I was using all five senses while engaging with this story, which is what makes a novel stand out for me.
I laughed at all th
Heather Bennett
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dancing with the Lion is a fantastic book and the author did a great job of pulling of the storyline. The characters are well developed and the book is entertaining.
Saimi Korhonen
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ancient-greece
“Someday, gods willing, he’d be king, yet he needed someone with whom he could still be Alexandros.”


Dancing With the Lion: Becoming tells the story of Alexander the Great before he became king of Macedon and went on to become the legendary conqueror we know him as. He begins this book as a thirteen-year-old boy and we follow him as he navigates his parents' turbulent marriage, does everything he can to prove himself a worthy crown prince to his father's throne, becomes the pupil of Aristo
Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A flawed jewel of a novel - but a jewel nonetheless, very much worth your time

“Only Hephaistion could be trusted to pursue him for himself, not for the favors he could grant, or from some perverse desire to conquer a prince.”

Dancing with the Lion: Becoming tells the tale of Alexander the Great as a boy when he first meets Hephaistion, and follows the course of their friendship as it grows towards love. In many ways this is a remarkable, if flawed, book. At its best, it approaches the incandesce
Catherine Richmond
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I expected accuracy in events and details of everyday life from the author's academic background. But the lyrical description of settings, powerful and sometimes humorous writing, and psychological insight into the characters blew me away.

"A trophy for one, a path to power for the other. For himself, he was never enough."

Dancing with the Lion: Becoming shows the foundations built by Alexander's warring parents. Phillip pushed and Olympias pulled, in a battle common today. Alexander finds honest
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was a bit hesitant to request this because of the cover (how silly of me, but I'm not too fond of covers with faces), but the description truly captured my curiosity, reminding me of one of my favourite books, a retelling of The Iliad that focuses on the dynamics between Patroclus and Achilles. So, I came into this book with no expectation, and I'm thankful I did.

Above all, this book wonderfully shows the struggles that come with growing up under immense pressure in the Ancient Macedonian cou
Jul 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great view into the hearts and minds of two young men who would have a profound affect on history. Author does a great job placing them in their own time while allowing us to see them as real people that those of us today can relate to as well.
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2020
Have I mentioned I can't resist any book involving Alexander the Great? Yes, even the ones that come with very unfortunate cover and title font choices that make them look like a cheesy 80s romance novel, which is probably this one's greatest failing.
Jeanne Reames, whose deep knowledge of the historical settings and characters she brings to life in this novel about Alexander's youth is displayed to great effect, has a delicate, nuanced touch when it comes to offering complex characters interact
The first book of Dancing with the Lion was a fun read, and it's left me impatient for the sequel. I particularly enjoyed the characters, whom Reames sketched in distinct and human ways. The treatment of the women (especially Myrtalē) was particularly good; Reames did not ignore the rumour that surrounded her, but did not hold her guilty for them. Alexandros' teenage bluster was also enjoyable, and Hephaistion's deadpan attitude made him a magnet for the funniest scenes in the book. The historic ...more
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
i've recently developed an interest in at least somewhat messed up adolescents trying to work out their intimacy issues in a) bloody, war-ridden or b) isolated settings. so this plus my frankly unprompted hyperfixation on hephaestion amyntoros (yes, i know it's 'hephaistion', but i'm a latin girl, and those vowels don't go together like that) just really hits several spots for me.

i'm usually an avid, but slow reader and i absolutely breezed through this novel. highly recommend!
Jun 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Much more interesting and fleshed out Hephaestion than Renault's, very well researched (as expected!), great fun to read and my favourite thing may be that the book covers such a short time period that I hope many more are to follow after the sequel in October.

Laughed out loud at pissing on Kassandros, who can't love a book where that happens.
Sep 16, 2019 added it
Shelves: queer, romance, historical
The final chapter was unexpectedly emotional. Overall, a really fascinating read. I'm looking forward to the second part of the story and hope Jeanne Reames follows up on her desire to write the Asian years.
tiffany taylor
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exceeds expectations

This was an extremly heartfelt and at times emotionally raw story. It was told in a way that felt so real and as if the author had been there herself. It is sets over 2000 years ago and manages to be so grounded and relatable to a modern reader.
The growth of many relationships are wounderful to watch grow and change and how many can be so complicated and difficult to traverse.
Between difficult families, the shifting dynamics of friendships, and a complicated chance at roma
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Extra! Scenes! (released before Book 2 comes out) 3 4 Oct 08, 2019 06:28PM  
Extra Scene #3 "For the Love of Geometry" 1 2 Oct 01, 2019 09:33PM  
Extra Scene #2 1 4 Aug 24, 2019 08:26PM  
Author Interviews 1 3 Jul 23, 2019 09:53PM  
Blog Tour! 1 5 Jun 30, 2019 12:04AM  

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Mother, writer, NDN, history professor, Homer fangirl and Alexander the Great geek.

Other books in the series

Dancing with the Lion (2 books)
  • Rise (Dancing with the Lion, #2)

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