Empire of Dust is the second book in Eleanor Herman's wickedly captivating Blood of Gods and Royals Series, which, as mentioned previously, follows Alexander the Great in his teenage years while he is on the path to becoming a legendary leader. Not only does this story follow Alexander, but it also follows other equally as interesting characters including Katerina, Jacob, Hepharstion and more. It is the perfect blend of historical fiction and fantasy.
This part of the review will be spoiler free for Empire of Dust, but may contain spoilers to the first book, Legacy of Kings. I encourage you, reader, if you have yet to read Legacy of Kings, to not continue on in this review. Instead, maybe check out my review of the first book or just pick up Legacy of Kings. It's a good read, especially for those who love stories like Falling Kingdoms, Throne of Glass and Game of Thrones. Even if you don't especially love those stories, I still encourage you to read this if you are into historical fiction or fantasy (or, in my case, both.)
While some sequels fall flat in the shadow of their phenomenal predecessors, Empire of Dust certainly did not. Herman did not disappoint with her follow up to the magnificent Legacy of Kings. Empire of Dust was just as exhilarating and exciting as Legacy of Kings. I found each page to be absolutely captivating. Even with characters I didn't particularly care for (i.e. Cynane and Zofia), I still felt partially invested in their story, especially with how it wove in to the stories of the other characters that I feel more of an affection for.
Kat remains to be my favorite character. I love her fiery spirit and her touch of innocence. Though, I felt like I didn't get to see enough of her in this book! Actually, I just feel like it was too short-- it ended too soon! I seriously just wish this book was a thousand or so pages, that would at least keep me content for a couple of days. Nope, finished this (spectacular) book in a couple of hours and am now stuck in a book mourning period. It's like having a break up with a boyfriend, but worse because it happens much more often.
I did become more invested with Zofia's storyline this book, while I didn't completely love it nor did I particularly care about it, by the end of the book I found that I did not feel totally annoyed by her story. While I still dreaded leaving Macedonia and surrounding areas to read her part, I actually found myself enjoying some aspects of her story.
I would give Empire of Dust 8/10 stars. That's a pretty high rating (see ABOUT page to see my rating scale.) It was a very good book, with a compelling plot and characters to really grow (even more) attached to. If you read Legacy of Kings, I really hope you pick up Empire of Dust as well. It is worth the time and money spent.
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.
SPOILERS BELOW FOR EMPIRE OF DUST
Personally, I did feel like some aspects of the book felt a little rushed. Especially the relationship between Alex and Heph at the beginning. It was a drastic change from the previous book and sure, while I did understand what had happened between the two, I wish it had been delved into deeper in the beginning of the story. Also I see how the Kadmus + Alex thing sprang up, but I wish I could have spent more time reading about the development of that relationship as well. There were a to of relationships that I was like WHOA this already? Including Zofia and Ochus. I mean, yeah, it was obvious that those two were going to fall for each other eventually, it just felt like that happened all too quickly, along with other relationships as well.
The thing that I wanted to see the most while reading this book was a KAT JACOB reunion. Or at least a KAT JACOB communication, neither of which happened. I just had to settle for those two's thoughts about each other. I really hope in the next book, though they still remain to be on opposite sides of a war, they get some closure (or kissing) which each other. I really ship the two and I LOVED reading about Jacob's recollection of the battle and Kat. And how he kissed her. AH.
While I ship Kat with Jacob, I also ship Kat with Heph. Heph sounds like a dashing and loyal kind of guy. AKA my kind of guy. I couldn't help but be in love with him as well. Like any good character, he's flawed, but that just makes me love the guy even more.
Anyway, thanks for reading, if you have any further thoughts on the book, please feel free to comment below, I'd love to hear them!