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Blood of Gods and Royals #1
Description⎮Reviewed Feb. 2016
4.5 ★ Audiobook⎮ Man, oh man. I don’t know where Eleanor Herman has been for the last few years (probably somewhere with her elegant cat), but I sure have missed her! I read her juicy tales of royal scandals several years ago (Sex with Kings & Sex with the Queen) and enjoyed them so much that I didn’t even mind the odd stares I got while reading them in public. Herman kind of dropped off my radar after that until I noticed her name start popping up online again attached to Legacy of Kings. As soon I connected the dots and realized that she was the same author whose work I so enjoyed reading nearly 7 years ago, I knew I had to get my hands on Legacy of Kings.
You may not know, because I don’t think I have ever mentioned it here, but I ? reading about royalty. Like, ???. So much. From reading this synopsis, I could tell that this story would be very different from my previous experiences with Herman. For one thing, this is fiction. For another, Legacy of Kings focuses on a time in royal history which I am not accustomed to reading. But I shelved it anyway and decided to save it for a time when I was feeling rather adventurous. I figured I had a pretty high chance of enjoying it because a) I’ve enjoyed Eleanor Herman’s previous work, b) I love reading about royalty, and c) I’m also really interested in greek history/mythology and ancient civilizations. With that kind of combination, this really would’ve had to have been a stinker to disappoint me.
Because I haven’t read anything exactly like Legacy of Kings before, it took me about a third of the way through the book to get my bearings. Most of what made that so difficult in the beginning were the multiple POVs. If I recall correctly there were six different POV characters. After the first 30% or so, I was finally able to keep the POV characters straight. Having multiple narrators helped with that tremendously! By the halfway point, I had already formed pretty good opinions about which characters I preferred. In particular, I was really pleased with how Katerina was written. I found her to be the type of quick, clever female character that I tend to gravitate towards and I much preferred her to Zofia, who seemed more like your typical YA lovesick female trope (but thankfully, there wasn’t much of her). I thought the plot was very well-developed and set the stage nicely for future installments, while maintaining an exciting pace and keeping my interest in this installment. I adored the historical background and found that it has renewed my interest in Greek mythology and history in a way that no book has been able to do so since Josephine Angelini’s Starcrossed series.
My complaints are few and mostly have to do with minor historical inaccuracies/modernizations (the use of words such as “acne” and “farting”, for example). I did not find this is overly juvenile at all and would definitely question a YA label (maybe? I’m not sure. The lines are very blurred.), but I guess I felt the writing had been “watered down” some to reach a broader audience (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing) and lost a little bit its historical feel. I shouldn’t complain about that though, because it made the story incredibly easy to follow, even during the daytime while multitasking.
I have a feeling that this is one of those stories that will slowly eat away at me a little more each day until the second installment is released. Eleanor Herman offered an advanced copy of Empire of Dust (the sequel) to her twitter followers today and I was so tempted to apply for it. If it had been the audiobook format she was offering, I probably would have sold my soul to get it early. Imagine that. Me, the Audiobookworm, almost offering to voluntarily read a physical book. The horror! The desperation! I’m just saying, I wouldn’t consider doing that for just any book, you know?
Narration review: As I said above, the dual narration provided by Jennifer Grace and Graham Halstead enhanced my listening experience tremendously. The narrators were never put in a position where they had to narrate a primary character of another sex, so each narrator was able to showcase his or her best voicing skills. I don’t recall ever having trouble distinguishing between character voices. Both the narrators’ voices had pleasant tones and neither one overshadowed the written material, but brought it to life very nicely. ♣︎