The one terrible thing that sometimes comes along with excitement for a novel, is higher than normal expectations. That was definitely the problem that probably made this book not as good for me. Also when you add in the fact that the prequel novella got me even more excited this book was being set up for an uphill battle. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the book, but I also encountered more issues than I had hoped.
Let’s confront the elephant in the room, the prequel novella. The novella, Voice of Gods, was released prior to Legacy of Kings. So I assumed that it would be a wise move to read it first. Upon reading the novella I enjoyed it. The world was expanded. I got a taste and idea of what was to come. It left me even more excited. However, Legacy of Kings didn’t live up to the novella. There were topics and elements that arose in the novella, that didn’t line up with the information given in the novel. As a result, the information felt like it was warring itself. Worse yet, it felt like important revelations from Voice of Gods were twisted and made almost irrelevant. So while I definitely still enjoyed Voice of Gods more than Legacy of Kings, I’m not sure that I would recommend reading the novella. At the very least read it after Legacy of Kings.
The plot is extremely intricate. We regularly follow a lot of characters. If you do not like multi-pov books, hold your butts because this one is a toughie. As we move from one event in with one character is moves almost seamlessly to the next event with another character. I have to commend that because it takes effort to make the flow so smooth. Honestly, it is done extremely well.
One of the issues I had was Zofia’s plot line. Zo is separated from all the other characters. Except for an extremely flimsy tie that she has to one of the other characters there’s nothing left for us to connect her with what is going on with everyone else. Her entire plot line is separate and didn’t feel like it felt in with the novel. In fact, if you left out every single one of her chapters you wouldn’t lose anything from the story. Now plenty of stories do this, but in order for them to work you have to have some sort of connection or investment to this character. In the case of Zo, I did not. In fact, I found that I could not care less. Zo came off as stubborn, spoiled, and selfish. Thus when she found herself in a precarious situation, I couldn’t muster anything to feel sorry for her. She got herself into her own mess and then dug herself deeper. That said, she probably has the most promise for an interesting character arc out of all the characters. I want her to succeed, but first I want her to gain some common sense to put her intelligence to good use.
Cyn is a delightfully morally grey character. I really enjoyed that as she truly felt like a real grey character. She is driven by power. Slighted be an event that happened to her and feeling deserving of power as the oldest chils, ahe is weilling to do almost anything. Yet, she is a a good person. As much as she’s willing to play people, lie, and push herself to her limits, there’s a conscious she struggles with.
Kat and Alex are the main characters. They both had these missions. Neither of them really came into their own until the end. That said despite their plots being a lot of talk and little action. I simply liked their personalities. They seemed to gel well with me and despite there not always being something plot related going on with them I enjoyed spending time with them.
On the other hand, spending time with Jacob turned out to be painful. All of his actions revolved around the goal. However it was frustrating that it was never for his own personal gain. He was always acting in ways he thought would make him seem more worthy in the eyes of another. I wished we got to see more from him because despite liking him, he ended up feeling shallow.
Heph was more middle of the road for me. At times I really enjoyed him, but other times I found him irritating. I did like that he had his own goals and motivations. I also liked that he is extremely flawed, but trying to be good. I feel like it’s something we don’t always see. Someone who has a good heart, but just keeps messing up unintentionally in both big and little ways.
Finally, the biggest problem I had with the book is that I didn’t see where the story wanted to go. Clearly there is going to be a big war coming, but I didn’t ultimately feel like there was any real resolution to the arc of this book. In fact, I don’t feel like there was any real arc in this book. There was character evolution. There were things in play. Yet, ultimately this book felt like one big introduction. Now that it’s been a week since I read it, I can’t really remember the main points other than the opening Blood Tournament and the ending battle. Other than that it all fades away except the characters.
I have to give it to Herman the way the Blood Tournament and the battle played out were brilliant. The battle in particular felt eerily real. The descriptions were just on point and unsettling. It felt as though I was transported onto a gritty battlefield. It isn’t pretty. It isn’t glossed over.
Finally, I wanted to note that Legacy of Kings didn’t really feel like YA. Yes, the characters kind of fit into the upper limit of the category. Also the behavior of the characters at times was juvenile. Overall, it didn’t quite give me that vibe of YA.
This world is crawling with Fantasy and it felt natural. We are dealing with the past and the way in which the more fantastical elements were incorporated felt like it would have been natural for the time. It didn’t feel shoehorned in. I wouldn’t have been surprised if people behaved and made the sacrifices they did to conjure forth magic in real life. The results they got are another thing. This book supposes the what if it worked. It was probably one of the best elements for me. I just wish that some of the oracle business we got from the novella was a little more clearly explained. I feel like it might have been confusing to those who didn’t read the novella because even as I read it I felt I needed to do a double take and remind myself of what I knew about it all.
So at the end of the day, I liked it I wanted to read more, but there was something that held me back.