First, thanks to Harlequin Teen for sending an advanced readers copy of this title out to the bookstores, where I was able to grab it at the Barnes and Noble where I work to read. I’d been seeing it around on other blogs on Waiting on Wednesday posts, and it sounded really good. A historical fiction about Alexander the Great as a teenager? Yeah, right? Sounds awesome! And it was! At first it took a bit to get the flow, as there are many characters we are following. But a little ways in I could remember who was who, and was starting to see how some characters were going to tie in with the others, while still others I’m still waiting to see a bit more about.
Of course the main character is Alexander. He’s 16 years old, and his father is still alive, and kind of keeping him from really taking on any real responsibility. Alex has an injury to his leg. One that causes him to limp, but only slightly, and has given him a huge scar. He wants nothing more than to get that healed. So he wants to run away with his best friend Hephaestion, to find a miracle fountain of youth and healing. The only problem is that his dad had kept him from being able to get any money without approval, so he does not have the money he needs to go.
Our other main character is Katerina. She has lived in a small town with the parents of her best friend Jacob, since the time that her mother was killed by the Queen’s men. She wants to know why they killed her mother. When Jacob is sent to compete in an annual tournament, she sneaks along and travels with him. Once there she ends up staying in the palace after a chance meeting that almost leads to her arrest before the prince steps in. She loves her friend Jacob, and he loves her, but she must know the truth about her mother before she can even think of a future life as he wants.
Then we have Cynane, a daughter of one of the king’s former wives. She has trained as a warrior because that is what her mother wanted her to do. Her mother died, and she thinks it was due to something she knew, possibly about the queen Olympias, Alex’s mother. She wants to find something she’d found in her mother’s belongings, a type of magic, smoke magic, that should protect her from anyone that tries to hurt her. One thing she needs though is the blood of true betrayal, and so she sets out to find a way to set Alex and his best friend Heph against each other.
And finally there is Zofia. Her mother is married to her uncle, King Shershah, the king of Lydia. Her mother is not a good mother, she had even deserted her at one time to go marry a king of another land. But once he died, the country did not want her, and so she came back to marry her brother. Her uncle has made a deal to marry her to Prince Alexander. But Zo has fallen in love with a soldier named Cosmas. So now she is planning to run away and find him in his camp. To disguise herself as a peasant, or at least the kind of girl that Cosmas could actually marry, and then she hopes to live happily as his wife and give him a family. But when she makes her escape, she is caught while out on the road. Even worse is that her younger sister follows her and she must try to keep her from being caught.
Throughout the book some of the characters I’ve named also have their own chapters. Like Jacob, we learn why he has gone to the competition, and what he is trying to do in order to be able to make a life for Kat like he’d hoped. But things won’t go quite as he’s hoped, even when he is successful in the competition. Queen Olympias will also have some chapters, as she will really have a big part in the story. And Hephaestion as Alexander’s best friend also has his own past and his own hopes and fears.
Don’t worry, lots of characters, but they soon all weave into the story perfectly, and you’ll see how they are all connected. I just can’t wait to see where the story will go next, and I hate that I’m going to be waiting so long! I loved the story so much! It’s not just a historical fiction, because it has magic in it, which obviously makes it a bit of a fantasy story. A great read that I got hooked into and could barely put down to do anything else!