Friday, June 7, 2019

Book Review: Realm by Alexandrea Weis

Media Type: Print Book
Title: Realm
Author: Alexandrea Weis
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Pages: Paperback; 397
Release Date: May 14, 2019
Source: TLC Book Tours / Publisher
Genre: Historical Fiction

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy history told from a different perspective.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Based on a true story.

When her homeland is conquered by the mighty Alexander the Great, Roxana—the daughter of a mere chieftain—is torn from her simple life and thrown into a world of war and intrigue.

Terrified, the sixteen-year-old girl of renowned beauty is brought before the greatest ruler the world has ever known. Her life is in his hands; her future his to decide.

Without formal education or noble blood, Roxana is chosen by the Greek conqueror to be his bride. Soon she comes to know profound happiness and unyielding desire in her warrior’s arms.

However, being the king’s consort comes at a heavy price. To survive her husband’s treacherous kingdom, she must endure continuous warfare, deadly plots, jealous rivals, victory-hungry generals, and the stigma of being a barbarian. Persian blood will keep her from claiming the grandest title of all—queen—but her reign will seal the fate of an empire.

History tells his story. This is hers.

What first caught my eye about Realm was definitely the cover art and so, if you're in that same boat, let me tell you now that it's a little misleading. Roxana, while definitely a strong woman, was not in any way a warrior princess. In fact, as I learned through reading this book, Roxana actually spent most of her life with baggage caravans and in palace rooms. Like most women at the time, her life was dictated by those around her. So while this book does indeed feature Roxana as a strong woman, it's a slow journey that builds up to the ending. If you were hoping for a fast moving, epic journey, you might be a little disappointed. If you're looking for a deep dive into an intriguing woman's life? This is your book.

I will admit that, as I mentioned above, this book does move a little slower than I thought it would. The upside of that is the fact that the reader really gets a chance to know Roxana intimately. I fell in love with her from the moment she stepped onto the page. A loyal daughter and sister, full of fire, and the only one who could really match up to Alexander. Weis did a fabulous job of following this woman through her journey as Alexander's wife. Through the long marches, the dangerous coups, and even through her slow descent into love with the man who she wasn't even sure she liked. While I did feel like some of the length probably could have been cut, since some of the dialogue felt a little repetitive, I did love that it put me so far into Roxana's world.

My only other gripe, and the reason for the three star rating, was that this historical fiction novel didn't focus as much on the characters as I would have liked. I was fascinated by Morella, Cleopatra, Hephaestion and so many of the other side characters. There were so many things that I really wanted to know about them. Even Alexander, although I know he isn't the focus of this book per say, felt a lot more flat than I anticipated. While being lost in the brutal world of the ever expanding empire was fascinating, I wanted that connection to the people who were forging ever forward. That's what I love about historical fiction, are the little liberties taken with things that actually happened. I wanted a little more liberties taken in this story.

All in all though, I did enjoy my time spent in Weis' story. If you're a fan of Roxana's story, or even interested in it, this is an excellent way to experience it.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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