Empire of Dust by Eleanor Herman
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 by Eleanor Herman
Series: Blood of Gods and Royals #2
On Sale Date: June 28, 2016
Young Adult Fiction, Historical Fantasy
Harlequin Teen 384 pages
Source: ARC from publisher
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Empire of Dust is the second installment of Eleanor Herman's series, Blood of Gods and Royals. I really enjoyed her first book Legacy of Kings and knew I needed to continue this series. My expectations were high and I was in no way disappointed once I finally grabbed this book up. Everything is notched up, from the characterization and danger to the fantasy and magic. Eleanor Herman has created an exciting second book for fans of the series to love.
Each character is well crafted giving readers more insight and details on what makes them tick. Alex, Heph, Kat, Jacob, Cyn, and Zofia each face new dangers and temptations in this installment.
There's a new maturity for Heph which becomes evident when he discovers a deadly prophecy and during his travels to Egypt with Kat. I would say in book one, Heph was my least favorite character, but that's all turned around now. I love the growing relationship between Kat and Heph, their friendship+ is giving me all the feels.
Cyn surprised me a few times with her vulnerabilities - she is still on my danger-warning watch, but readers see a more a rounded look at her. She can be mean and spiteful in her quest for power and need to rule, but she is completely badass, so I'm keeping my eye on her!
Alex brilliantly shows his ability to plan and execute warfare strategy and Herman shows her incredible knowledge of historical details with bits of odds and ends, making the battle scenes feel so real. We also see Alex struggle more with politics and intrigue - a realistic, failable side that makes him that much more likable.
Kat continues to learn more about her abilities, which seem to grow in leaps in this book, and though her parentage in book one was in questioned, Herman dangles hints and questions regarding divine parenting for both Alex and Kat that we can't help but wonder what she has up her sleeve. With Kat's life in danger, Alex sends her along with Heph to Egypt to make military alliances - this is by far one of my favorite parts of Empire of Dust as all the splendor and danger of Egypt is finally touched upon. Loved it!
Jacob is still struggling with his feelings for Kat while he is entrenched withing the Aesarian Lords powerful grip. In book one, I was sorely disappointed when Jacob joined the Aesarians in a foolish attempt to impress Kat. Now, everything has changed and Jacob finds himself on the opposite side of a war with Kat. Once again, a character I really liked is tempted - so, we shall see. But, I love the big twist Herman threw in that could be a big game changer for Jacob.
I finally got my wish with to spend more page time with Zofia. I had high hopes for her and in book two, and I ended up loving her story the most! Zofia is transforming from spoiled, selfish princess into a mature woman. The struggle from finding herself a hostage has wisened and matured her. She is still in search of the Spirit Eaters, but what she finds instead is pure awesomeness. Again, lots of emotions and twists are sprung on the reader and get ready to see Zofia in a new light.
I have to mention Olympias, as she truly is a great villainous to read about. She is the plot maneuvering in the backdrop as insidious as the snakes she worships! Her scheming, dark rituals and overall badness give this series such an added danger and someone to boo for. Readers are sure to find her visit to the legendary Labyrinth of Knossos enlightening!
In the end
Empire of Dust ended up being a terrific read and surpassed my expectations in the best of ways. I cannot wait for the next installment and recommend this series to readers who enjoy historic fantasy. There's so much to love and it seems to just be getting better!