Legacy of Kings: Blood of Gods and Royals, Book 1

Book review by
Andrea Beach, Common Sense Media
Legacy of Kings:  Blood of Gods and Royals, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Appealing epic fantasy has intrigue, romance, action galore.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Occasional Greek vocabulary such as "oenochoe," daily life in Macedon during the time of Philip II, a few Greek myths briefly told, how the first coin came to be minted, origins and description of Persia's Royal Road, quotes from Aristotle. Author's note provides more detail of historical figures, especially Alexander the Great, and geography of ancient Greece.

Positive Messages

Weakness isn't physical, it's mental. You can overcome great obstacles and stronger opponents with strategy and tactics, if you stay focused. Don't believe what others say about someone. If you have a problem with them, talk to them directly. Don't underestimate people because of their backgrounds or genders.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Large cast of older-teen characters model leadership, taking action, and using physical strengths as well as intelligence to do their best as they come of age. They sometimes make costly mistakes but learn from them. The villain's motives are somewhat understandable when her background is revealed, but she's ruthless in pursuing her goal.

Violence

Many violent events, from fights between individuals to battles with arrows, spears, and swords. Injuries and pain are described briefly. Blood is mentioned frequently (oozing, spurting, and the like) but not described in detail. Several descriptions include light gore, mostly describing wounds, dead bodies, or attacks by fantasy creatures. Rape is mentioned several times, usually as a consequence of war, but once slavers talk about "taking turns" with a teen captive. A lethal mountain-lion attack is described briefly; skinning the mountain lion also is described briefly. A past plan to kill a newborn child is recounted. Snake bites and scorpion stings are described along with the resulting pain. A man is branded in the chest voluntarily. Torture is mentioned once or twice.

Sex

Sexual attraction and desire are described briefly several times. Half a dozen or so deep kisses briefly described. Mention that a teen couple had sex. Passing mention of an orgy as a fairly common social event. Mention of prostitution and speculation about how young girls might become prostitutes due to hard life circumstances.

Language

"Bitch" a couple of times, "s--t" as bodily function, "fartass" as name-calling, "piss."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Frequent mention of drinking "watered wine," which is historically accurate for times when water quality was poor. Older teens have unwatered wine once or twice, become drunk, make mistakes, and suffer hangovers.

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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written bygracia0819 August 20, 2015

Destiny result of a choice

I do really like the cycle of this fantasy story. It's magical. The flow of love and adventure do really got the best shot wherein it give everyone a quest... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written bybeansprout August 8, 2016

Great book for mature teens

I loved this book! The characters are very clear in their motives and personalities that make them so unique from each other. The world is very vibrantly descri... Continue reading

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.

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