(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Also by this author: Legacy of Kings, Dawn of Legends
Published by Harlequin on July 1st 2016
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Historical, Young Adult, Young Adult Fiction
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.
Empire of Dust is the second book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series by Eleanor Herman and if you haven’t yet started this series and you enjoy an epic historical fantasy, you need to read! Also, when I say epic, I mean it. There are a lot of characters and a lot of things happening in these books but once I finished book one, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on book two.
Empire picks up shortly after the end of Legacy of Kings and things are changing for all of the characters. Alexander knows about Katerina and it is now clear that Alexander and Katerina are linked by blood. As they continue to grow closer, Alexander’s friendship with Heph is suffering due to the actions Heph took on the battlefield. Because of this doubt he has in Heph, Alexander is struggling to determine who he can trust. As Alex begins to assert his power in order to unearth a spy in the council, he starts to do things that he can’t be proud of.
While Alex is dealing with all of that, he also believes that the Aesarian Lords have kidnapped Cynane…which is true. Despite my feelings for Cynane (I DON’T like her at all) I did feel bad for her due to the things she was being put through with the Lords. The only thing that helps her is that Jacob is now with the Lords and while under his watch, she manages to escape. I’m not saying anything about this as I don’t want to give anything away…just trust me, it creates an interesting twist. With that said, when she gets away, Cyn goes back to her scheming ways.
Now that Alex’s mother knows who Kat really is, she also has an agenda. As Heph and Kat find out her entire foster family was killed by Olympias, Alex decides to send Heph and Kat away to secure a military alliance since the princess he was originally supposed to marry is now missing or dead. As they face a few dangers, their friendship strengthens and they begin to rely on each other. Once they find Princess Laila and learn what really happened in the City of Sharuna, things become clearer.
The other character I will talk about here is Zofia. As the princess who was supposed to marry Alexander, she is now on a very different path. If you remember from book one, she is determined to get back to Cosmas, the man she loves and the father of the child she carries. As her story progresses, it is clear that things are still changing for Zo and her relationship with Ochus is definitely changing. As he reveals what he knows, he lets her go and Zo finds herself wandering on her own again trying to survive.
In addition to the characters, Herman does a wonderful job building the world out. Some of my favorite bits of this is when Heph and Kat are in Sharuna. I could imagine everything they were seeing very clearly.
Overall I thought this was a solid book two. There were some parts that felt a bit slow but all of the pieces are coming together to link all of the characters so I am really looking forward to seeing where Herman goes with the next book. Not only for the full story but because the ending of this book was definitely one that had me flipping pages wondering why Herman would be so cruel as to end the book the way she did! Just kidding – it only is cruel to me because it was a great ending and I NEED to know what is in store for everyone. If you are looking for a historical fantasy about the younger years of Alexander the Great, definitely check this book out. I myself will be waiting anxiously for the next book in this series.
Thank you to the publisher for the review copy!