Oh, THE HYPE, you’re saying! Sometimes, there’s a book you can’t stop seeing EVERYWHERE, and that you just can’t stop hearing of. Legacy of Kings was, for me, one of these books. I’m not used to reading historical fiction, but I was curious, so, when I got the opportunity to read this book, well, I DID. And, hm, I’m sad but I have to admit, no, this wasn’t for me, at all.
ALEXANDER-THE-GREAT REIMAGINED…OR A HUNGER GAMES RETELLING?!!
“Let’s go back in time a little bit in history. Meet Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-years-old heir, dealing with his father, political issues, and, most of all, wanting to be recognized at a suitable heir, and NOT the crippled son of the king. Then there’s Katerina, a small-town girl, coming to the palace and making a friend out of Alexander…needless to say she has a plan on her own, and quite a murderous one. Jacob, her childhood friend, must compete for Kat’s heart, but think about his future too… where does his heart lies, and what if his head is with the ennemy? Olympia, Alexander’s mother, has some mischevious plans on her own…and so does Cyn, crazed by the idea of getting some more power, always. With an impressive cast of characters, enter a whole new, epic and fantastic world where Alexander-The-Great’s story is completely reimagined.”
This is an Alexander-The-Great retelling, and I know nothing about this world. I’m no historian, and I didn’t read many books from that genre, so I can’t really judge whether it’s done well, or not. Nevertheless, I can say that I felt betrayed already while reading the first few pages. WHY, you ask me? Because I felt like I started reading The Hunger Games, all over again. The setting, the first characters we encounter – Kat and Jacob – certainly looked A LOT like Katniss and Gale, hunting in the forest of the 12th district. This was weird, and kind of unsettling, to be honest. This kind of obvious similarity is way TOO OBVIOUS to be ignored, sadly.
… ENNEMIES OF MULTIPLE POV, BEWARE
Before getting into Legacy of Kings, there’s something you NEED to know, in order to see if you can handle it. There are FIVE different points of view in this story, each chapter is focused on a different character. As I always say when talking about books with multiple narrators, this really is a double-edged technique for me. When done well, it can be wonderful…but it can be bad, too. In that particular case, it didn’t make me invested in the story all that much, because there were TOO MANY characters. I can follow conversations, I can read more than one book at once. That being said, even for normal people, when you start a book, it’s CONFUSING when you’ve read five chapters, met five different characters, but still have no idea where this story is going, exactly. Each of the characters have their own backstories, their own personnalities, their qualities and flaws. Yes, they seemed real. But no, I couldn’t get attached too much, or get invested in the story that much, because it kept on SWITCHING point of views. I wanted to care about their stories way more than I did, which made Legacy of Kings just an okay read for me, on this,
Each of the characters had a connexion, and they encounter each other often in the different chapters – which made it kind of confusing, at times, I mean, who is actually the narrator in this?, I often asked myself. However, I enjoyed the fact that the author managed to make such interconnected characters, and relationships between all of them, interesting ones, that is all. There’s revenge, there’s friendship, there’s ennemies, there’s interested relationships… and, of course, there’s a little bit of romance. That’s where it gets tricky, guys. The lust feeling is coming in the blink of an eye : Kat basically desires every single guy she encounters. The sexy guy trope is there too much. Full of muscles, handsomness and – STOP. Not all guys are like that, and I felt like Kat almost fell in love and day dreamed about kissing every guy she met. That was annoying.
INTERESTING WORLD-BUILDING…BUT MORE FANTASY NEEDED
I already said this before : I’m not used to reading historical fiction. Despite my lack of knowledge of Alexander The Great, the mythological and historical aspects of this story, I found the world-building pretty interesting. There are wars between people, there are boats navigating the seas in between the Greek islands, there are soldiers, kings, a palace, servants and everything that makes you feel like you’re back in time, a little bit. But that’s not what I enjoyed the most in this world. I’m not a big fantasy reader, either – but I want to get better at that! -, but I enjoyed the fantasy aspects of this story, a lot! It’s not a simple historical fiction. There’s magic, elements of mystery, great and mysterious powers. I really enjoyed that aspect of the book, but I would have even enjoyed it more, if there were, MORE OF IT.
Too many different point of views, means risking getting lost, a little bit, and missing some of the plot lines probably on the way… If you ask me, Legacy of Kings suffered from the ‘too much hype’ symptom: talking about it so, so much, and making it so great, just sets you up for disappointment. That’s too bad. BUT, historical fiction / fantasy story / multiple POV friends, maybe you’ll find what I couldn’t in Legacy of Kings.
Final rating: 2 Drops
Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a free copy of this book. This didn’t in any case influenced my opinion on this work.
Would you like to read Legacy of Kings? Why, or why not? Feel free to share your thoughts in comments!
Eleanor Herman, Legacy of Kings, Published by Harlequin Teen, August 8th 2015.
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 Timesbestselling 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.