Eleanor Herman’s Empire of Dust – book 2 of the Blood of Gods and Royals series

Eleanor Herman’s Empire of Dust – book 2 of the Blood of Gods and Royals series

Eleanor Herman’s Blood of Gods and Royals series has a lot of similarities to Game of Thrones:  Lots of players with torn loyalties, a queen mad for her son’s power, and setting fraught with violence and magic.  Alexander the Great’s life is a pretty fascinating story as well, with plenty of strange and unusual elements that read more like fantasy than reality.  I should have loved this series. However, the first book, Legacy of Kings, almost put me to sleep.  It was plagued with too many characters and a dull narrative style.  Empire of Dust, the second book, felt a lot more compelling, but it still managed to bore me.  I gave it three stars.


Goodreads Summary

In Macedon, war rises like smoke, forbidden romance blooms and ancient magic tempered with rage threatens to turn an empire to dust

After winning his first battle, Prince Alexander fights to become the ruler his kingdom demands—but the line between leader and tyrant blurs with each new threat.
Meanwhile, Hephaestion, cast aside by Alexander for killing the wrong man, must conceal the devastating secret of a divine prophecy from Katerina even as the two of them are thrust together on a dangerous mission to Egypt.

The warrior, Jacob, determined to forget his first love, vows to eradicate the ancient Blood Magics and believes that royal prisoner Cynane holds the key to Macedon’s undoing.

And in chains, the Persian princess Zofia still longs to find the Spirit Eaters, but first must grapple with the secrets of her handsome—and deadly—captor.

New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman entwines the real scandals of history with epic fantasy to reimagine the world’s most brilliant ruler, Alexander the Great, in the second book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.

My Thoughts

Empire of Dust is more engaging than the first book, and those who enjoyed Legacy of Kings will enjoy this one as well.  However, the same issues many readers had with the first book are still in play in the follow up.  The biggest one is that there are just too many characters, and moving between them in brief segments makes it hard to connect with any of them.  Several times I thought it would be so much better if one character carried the bulk of the story, even if it would also narrow the broad perspective that a large cast can bring to a situation.  That being said, I was able to ignore that problem more easily than I have in the past.  The individual story lines are more compelling this time.  The big battle scene was interesting and had elements I thought were fun and yet still believable.  The magical elements, while still a bit wobbly, are clearer and more focused.  There are certainly several times when readers will feel that the story is moving ahead and sometimes those come with a nice moment of serendipity.  I still think that fans of George R.R. Martin – those who actually read his work, not just watch it – are the ones who will enjoy this series the most.  They know how to weather dragging story lines and a huge cast of characters, especially when there are some rewards at the end.  My verdict is that this is slightly boring, but it is appropriate for high school readers.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


About queenbook

When the final bell rings, I stash those messy piles of essays and analysis assignments in a desk drawer and I head home to a pile of good books. My kids and dog eat too many chicken nuggets and the house could be neater, but as long as I get my daily read, I guess we are doing all right. When I was twelve and fifteen and eighteen and twenty, I believed I needed to get out there and do those things I had just been reading about, which ended in disaster, tears, a tattoo that scares me every time I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror, and the realization that some of us are meant for action, and some of us are meant to critique the pace of action in a book. I read primarily YA fiction as I have a rather hulking classroom library and a hundred high school readers to engage daily. Nothing makes me happier than coming to school and finding an impatient teenager waiting by my door to turn in a book and get another one just like it. I adore a good zombie, a medieval princess, or girl assassin (I would like them all in one book if you are a writer looking for some inspiration). I add historical mystery to my wish list a year in advance, and you should get out of my way when the next Outlander book comes out. I have an embarrassing fondness for rock star books, but only if they don’t get too trashy and embarrass me. My favorite book of all time is The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery. My book boyfriends include Gilbert Blythe, Alonzo Wilder, and Jamie Fraser. They are mine and you can’t have them.

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