Legacy of Kings
By: Eleanor Herman
Release Date: August 25th 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Format: Print ARC
Source: Thank you Grace from Books of Love
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.
I am a huge fan of fantasy and multiple point of views so I was thrilled to be given a copy of this book by the very kind Grace. Legacy of Kings was my first of Herman’s books to have read but I was aware of her accolades regarding her historical fiction. Needless to say I was excited!
Overall, I liked this book but for me the pacing seemed a tad on the slower side. It might be because I read the majority of young adult books but I kept waiting for things to pick up and for me to need to turn the page. I never became so engrossed with the story or characters that I had a burning desire to read.
I did enjoy the storyline and the characters but once I set the book down I sort of lost touch with them and when I picked up to read again I had to remind myself what was going on. This could totally be a me thing–perhaps I wasn’t in a reading mood. It’s so hard to tell at times if it’s a mood or if the book wasn’t engaging me.
The story revolved around a good amount of characters but the main story arc in this first book rotated mostly with Alexander and Katrina’s stories. Alex’s character was based on Alexander the Great and I enjoyed seeing tidbits of history thrown in. Beyond these two characters we also spend time with Jacob, Zo, Heph, Cyn and Olympias. Each point of view was done in third person and the chapters were numbered rather than labeled with whom the chapter was about. I admit that it sometimes took me a minute to remember who I was reading about and after finishing the book this evening I still couldn’t remember some of the lesser character’s (Zo and Cyn) names. As you can tell I had a disconnect throughout my reading experience.
I enjoyed the world that Herman created and felt that for the most part I was able to visualize her settings and characters fairly well. I could see it playing out in sections like a movie which I loved. The majority of the action scenes were well constructed and there were a few ooh la la moments. As far as romance was concerned there were scenes but nothing that overrode the story. I do think that the next book might feature a love triangle (warning to those that are firmly against those). I could be wrong but I can see the makings of one very easily.
The big twist of the story was fairly easy to see early on but it didn’t detract too much from my enjoyment of the story. I think that a lot of the writing was a bit too clear about the reveal and also foreshadowing later events. I’d have preferred for more to be left a mystery.
If you don’t want to be spoiled on a plot point don’t click on the below View Spoiler. You’ve been warned.
So, one of the reveals was that Alex and Kat are twins. I saw this way too early on because they both felt ‘super connected but not romantically’ Sure, that’s realistic that two estranged twins would feel connected but not romantically but it did nothing for hiding what was going to be revealed later on. I can’t help but wonder if there could have been a better way of getting this message across rather than spelling it out. There were so many obvious signs leading to this conclusion it sort of took the fun out of reading it.
The villain of the story had some fairly creepy scenes and think that in the next book we’ll see much more. I don’t want to mention too much because I don’t want to give away any spoilers. Since this was a sprawling fantasy I felt that there were many different people that could easily be considered a villain at one point or another. I always enjoy reading a fantasy with multiple threats and I feel that as this series moves along more will be introduced.
I might have gone into Legacy of Kings with too high of expectations but overall I felt that it was an enjoyable read and I will be interested in reading the next book. I’m curious what might be changed in the final version of the story (will there be chapter headings? etc).
Where this novel fell short for me was my constant disconnect with the characters. I don’t know if it was because their point of views were in third person or they all ‘sounded’ too similar but I had difficulty really feeling anything deep for any of them. I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite character or feel anything passionate about any of them. Regardless, as a fantasy fan it was worth the read.