ARC Review: Empire of Dust

Empire of Dust
Empire of Dust by Eleanor Herman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

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.

Continuing the story from the Legacy of Kings, Alexander now knows of Katherine being his sister and them being Snake Bloods. He sends her off on a mission to keep her safe from his murderous mother, and is busy handling a kingdom in his father’s absence. Meanwhile, Cynane is learning of her power, at the hands of the Aesarian Lords’ cruelty, torture to which Jacob is witness. Her story is about finding her own power to rule, and she even allies with her stepmother Olympias to achieve it. Over in Persia, Zofia is trying to get to the Soul Eaters to change her fate. There are a lot of plot arcs moving in and out of focus, with the central one being of power and magic pitted against politics.

While the first book was a good setting up for the series, the sequel failed to deliver. I don’t know exactly why, but I got through the book reluctantly. The story is good, I mean, and the plot twists were interesting – it had the formula for holding my attention, but it couldn’t, not completely. I feel like the characterization and frequent jumping of POV was to blame – I could not connect to the characters, and while the writing flourishes when it comes to plot, it stagnates at the characters. They aren’t fleshed out – they are just what you expect them to be, nothing new to learn. And one character in particular was getting on my nerves – Jacob, Katherine’s childhood friend and first love. He was so boring, that I was putting the book down every time his POV chapter came up. He was irritating, and not even in an idealistic anti-hero way – just in an unnecessary plot filler kind of way. On the other side of the spectrum, Alexander was the only character I felt to which some amount of detail was devoted.

In short, the book is great if you love action, plot and story, but it is missing a soul.

Received a free galley from Harlequin Teen, via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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