Legacy of Kings by Eleanor Herman. Harlequin Teen, 2015. 384 pages. Ebook.
**I received a copy of Legacy of Kings courtesy of Harlequin Teen**
Legacy of Kings has left me with so many mixed feelings. To begin, I'm a classics major, so anything having to do with the Ancient Greeks immediately grabs my attention. I also have a weird obsession with Alexander the Great, so when I heard that Legacy of Kings was centered on Alexander, I was hooked. Then, when I received an email from from Harlequin Teen offering me a copy in exchange for an honest review, I was excited to finally read this book.
Unfortunately, things didn't go too well.
This is not a book solely focused on Alexander; instead, he is only one of many characters whose perspectives we are shifted between. Also, just as a side note - do not go into this thinking it is historically accurate, because it simply is not. That wasn't a problem for me, as I knew this is in advance and wasn't expecting accuracy - it is fiction, after all - but I know this bothers a lot of people, so I thought I'd throw it out.
Legacy of Kings got off to a rather slow start, but after a while it finally picked up a bit and I found myself beginning to enjoy the story. However, this was somewhat short-lived because as I begin to get further and further into the story, I found myself struggling to finish. I feel that Herman could have developed some of her storylines more, which would drag the reader in just a bit more. The plot itself was interesting, but there was too much going on to actually enjoy or understand it. If it had been cut down into only a few of the plot lines, it would have been much more enjoyable. As soon as I began to understand and get into one thing that was happening, it suddenly switched over to another event.
...which leads me to the next point. Too. Many. Characters. I had a difficult time keeping them all straight. In all, we have perspectives from Alex, Heph (Hephastion), Zo (Zofia), Cyn (Cynane), Jacob (no nickname), and Kat (Katerina). (Okay, what is up with all these nicknames?) While each one had an interesting story, I couldn't quite bring myself to care all that much. There was way too much going on and things became much too convoluted. It takes a certain talent and method of writing to have a large cast of characters and also be successful - George R. R. Martin, for instance - and I'm sorry to say that it was simply lacking here. There was, from my perspective, very little order, and everything simply felt too muddled; there was too much abrupt switching.
Despite the issue of too many characters, I do think that Herman crafted their personalities with great care and tried to develop each one's unique viewpoint. The female characters, however, seemed almost slightly too similar, and in the beginning I had difficulties finding enough distinctions between each character. As the novel progresses, however, Herman successfully develops each character's personal qualities and gives each one their own story to tell.
I did, however, enjoy all of the immense details and time that obviously went into the creation of this novel. Herman took so many great elements from Ancient Greek culture and incorporated them into an intricately developed novel. Regardless of my enjoyment of the story itself, Herman still constructed an exceptionally unique setting and atmosphere.
One last extremely minor and personal issue I had with this book was the use of the nickname of 'Alex' for Alexander the Great. I know this is largely irrelevant to the story, but this nickname doesn't really work for me because it simply takes too much away from who he is; the name 'Alexander' holds so much power that the name 'Alex' simply lacks.
Overall, I was disappointed. I expected a lot more from this book. I think maybe I had too high of expectations. I can't say the book was bad, as it was a truly unique and exciting plotline, I just feel that the execution was strongly lacking. As a result, I am giving Legacy of Kings three stars. While it wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, it was still an interesting and carefully crafted novel that I cannot help but recognize.
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