Tag Archive | Book Review

Book Review: Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods & Royals, Book One) by Eleanor Herman

Legacy of Kings Book 1

I was granted access to a free copy of Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods and Royals, book 1) from Tara Sonin, Marketing Manager for Paper Lantern Lit, on behalf of the author, Eleanor Herman, in exchange for an honest review. This is now the second such review request I have received as a result from reviewing the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. I was pleasantly surprised, since this was yet another young adult adventure story that I would not naturally seek out. I have come to the opinion that no matter what age you are, you can become intrigued by any genre that is well written.

This book is a historical fantasy that according to Ms. Sonin, has been “featured on Hypable, MTV, Seventeen Magazine, and was just optioned for TV by Warner Brothers”. The following is a synopsis from the author’s page that describes this story which is part of a series of 4 novels:

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 re-imagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known: Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.

I admit that the amount of character arcs for 7 people along with the overall plot of a famous historical figure such as Alexander the Great was at times, a little overwhelming. I did have to step away from the book about midway through because I was losing interest in retaining that many characters in my head. Also, I had a Déjà vu moment when I first came across the character of Jacob, who is described in much the same way as the transformed buffed up version of Jacob from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight Saga. (For those that love the series, Stephenie has just released a gender swap version of Twilight’s 1st story called the Twilight 10th Anniversary/ Life and Death Dual Edition). I did enjoy the interwoven Greek mythological characters such as Pegasus and Medusa. As a fan of movies like Clash of the Titans (classic and modern versions), I love reading about those mythical characters.

Once I came back to the story, however, I became invested in the female characters and their struggles. There are many women either scrambling to gain their freedom from an arranged marriage, seeking revenge for the horrific murder of their mother, searching for a mythical cure to human frailty much like her brother or vying for absolute power against all foes. As a female that recognizes the various challenges to my gender throughout history, I appreciate the various points of view in this fictional world. I think with recent conversations about inequality of pay for women, ongoing abuse of women worldwide and the purposeful enslavement of women in cultures such as in the Middle East and Africa…these characters’ struggles are not so fictitious after all…even in the modern world of 2015.

I have become a new fan of Eleanor Herman after completing this book and my subsequent review of her historical background and personal revelations regarding her research and passions. I look forward to the upcoming books in this series and plan to look into her previous works.

Book Review: A Vanishing Glow (The Mystech Arcanum, Vol. I & II) by Alexis Radcliff

A Vanishing Glow

I was emailed a free copy of A Vanishing Glow (The Mystech Arcanum, Vol. I & II) from the author, Alexis Radcliff, in exchange for an honest review. This being my first such request, I am honored to say that I was pleasantly surprised by a book I didn’t seek out on my own.

This is marketed as a cross between flintlock and steampunk fantasy which are genres I am not familiar with. I figured it was a worthy read based on the similarities to some other stories in the Young Adult (YA) world that I’d recently been referred to regarding dystopian segregated societies such as Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen and Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series.

I was initially impressed by the great care that Radcliff took in describing the setting in this fantasy world and the characters emotional backstories. The depth of guilt that one main character feels is certainly identifiable and the self-doubt another character feels is also as palpable. Later, I was intrigued by her hints at relationships between same sex friends as acceptable teenage “bedfellows”, which I have not ever come across before, especially since my reading tastes are typically not in a sci-fi or mature adult realm. I find it interesting that with the change in real-world societal prejudices comes a sort of clarity of character development in fiction. People on pages are becoming just as diverse as people on our planet. Disapprove of this type of lifestyle or not, the complexity of characters in this story is further layered by delving into a previously taboo subject matter. One can appreciate the courage of the author to tastefully explore that topic even if you might not agree.

Overall, I don’t feel a steampunk vibe from what I’ve now researched about the genre, but there are elements of it as well as the flintlock. The steam powered aspect is there in certain references, but using the umbrella term “steampunk” for the myriad intricate explanations of Mystech power seems lackluster. I loved how the author gives this new tech a literal presence even down to the description of it having a delicious smell.

I think there are many questions left unanswered as well as many ideas left to the readers interpretation, but with the understanding that this is one book in a pending series…these suspenseful issues are understandable. For a debut novel, I believe Ms. Radcliff achieved a wonderful story which leaves me eager to fill in the blanks with the sequels.