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.
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.
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.