A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Legacy of Kings, a fantasy set in ancient Greece, is the first in a planned series. The YA debut from noted nonfiction writer Eleanor Herman combines fantasy and magic elements with historical accuracy -- kids will learn a lot about a broad spectrum of life in the time of King Philip II of Macedon. Plenty of fights and a climactic battle with frequent mention of blood and occasional light gore. Rape mentioned as a consequence of war and slavery. Older-teen characters kiss deeply several times. Mention that a teen couple had sex; physical attraction and desire described in romance-novel fashion. Strong language is rare: a couple uses of "bitch" as well as "s--t" and "piss" as bodily functions. All ages frequently drink "watered wine," and once or twice older teens drink full-strength wine to excess, with consequences.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
LEGACY OF KINGS intertwines seven stories around the magnificent palace of Philip II of Macedon. Philip's son and heir Alex (Alexander the Great as a teenager) is regent in his father's absence. With only a skeleton army in place, Alex will have to learn how to lead to protect the kingdom from multiple threats of invasion. Katerina's need to learn the truth about her past, and to avenge her mother's death, takes her and her childhood friend Jacob from their humble village to King Philip's castle. Just when Kat's feelings for Jacob are evolving into something new, she discovers that her search for the truth will take her even farther from home and those she loves. Queen Olympias, Philip's wife, harbors dark secrets, uses dark magic, and ruthlessly pursues her own agenda. The fate of Philip's empire lies in the balance among these three characters, their friends, and their enemies.
Is it any good?
This intriguing blend of fantasy and historical fiction deftly weaves together seven story lines with plenty of action, romance, and magic. Author Eleanor Herman vividly brings historical figures and fictional characters to life with equal dexterity, whether in the small but telling details of daily life or in the fascinating blends (and sometimes clashes) of the cultures surrounding the ancient Aegean Sea. The plot and characters quickly draw the reader in and keep the pages turning despite a couple of minor flaws early on: Most of the romance is loaded into the front of the book, which makes it read more like a romance novel at first, and some of the early exposition and dialogue are clunky.
But fantasy lovers and history buffs alike will quickly be rewarded by the broad scope, exciting action, suspense, and ending that satisfies while leaving plenty of room for the saga to continue.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why ancient Greece continues to fascinate us. Why is it such a popular setting for historical fiction and fantasy?
In the author's note, Eleanor Herman mentions how important historical accuracy is. Do you agree? Do details such as how weapons are made add or detract from your enjoyment of the book?
Not much is known about Alexander the Great's teen years. What did you know about him before you read Legacy of Kings? Look him up online or at the library and see if you can easily believe that Alex will become one of history's greatest conquerors and rulers.
- Author: Eleanor Herman
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Friendship, History, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Harlequin Teen
- Publication date: August 18, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 17
- Number of pages: 432
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 13, 2017
Our editors recommend
For kids who love history, fantasy, and romance
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.