Book Review of “Reign of Serpents” by Eleanor Herman

Book Review of “Reign of Serpents” by Eleanor Herman

Book Review of “Reign of Serpents” by Eleanor Herman

This original blend of history and fantasy has me eagerly wanting to know what happens next in the series!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

New York Times bestselling author Eleanor Herman entwines the real scandals of history with epic fantasy in this action-packed follow-up to EMPIRE OF DUST.

In REIGN OF SERPENTS, the ancient power of Snake Blood threatens the known world. While Prince Alexander struggles with a very deadly inner demon, his betrothed, Zofia, is on her way to him, to unite their kingdoms…even as she begins to realize where her true allegiance lies. The fierce Cynane meets her match-not in her future husband, the deranged king of Illyria, but in her great-great-grandfather, Talus, possessor of Smoke Blood, who will teach her the true meaning of betrayal. And marooned together on an island in the Mediterranean, romantic tension blooms between Katerina and Hephaestion as they learn of lost civilizations and discover a device that could help them do the impossible: kill the last living god.

I have to admit that when I asked to review this book on Netgalley I thought it was a standalone novel – not realizing it was actually the third book in a series of four books – and I hadn’t heard of Eleanor Herman. But even though I hadn’t read the first two books in the series, I quickly became absorbed in Herman’s world – a unique blend of history and fantasy, with mythological creatures and real historical figures like Alexander the Great and Aristotle – and came to love her writing style; sparse and quick-paced but packed with emotion.

The book is told through many different POV characters and I loved the shifting perspectives and geographical locations – at times Persia, then Macedonia, or a desert island in the Meditterranean. Herman writes in third person limited, giving us close access to her characters’ emotions and thoughts. The magic system was interesting – particularly Smoke Blood which can only be acquired by an act of betrayal. There is a possession – Alexander by his father, the God Riel – oracles and philosophers, courtesans, soldiers, Kings and Queens, princes and princesses. What more could you want! This book delivered on all fronts – characters, suspense, fantastical elements, historical intrigue, writing style. To put it simply – I loved it!

Herman’s blend of history and fantasy made for such a rich tale – real fact woven with fantasy (Greek mythological creatures and Gods brought to life) that had my inner history geek mesmerized! My only criticism is that I wanted more! I read Reign of Serpents so quickly but lucky for me I get to now go back and read the first two novels in the series (Legacy of Kings and Empire of Dust) before Dawn of Legends, the final book in the series, is released.

I highly recommend this book for lovers of historical fiction and fantasy (and who love good writing, great intrigue and a fast-pace that makes it hard to put down!)

Reign of Serpents is out now from Harlequin Australia




Reign of Serpents

Reign of Serpents


  • Great writing
  • Great characters
  • Intrigue, suspense
  • Unique blend of fantasy and history

About alicia_gaffney

Alicia Gaffney is a book lover and aspiring writer. She teaches at university and is in the third year of her PhD, writing a thesis about Australian author Eleanor Dark. Her pet peeves are running out of bookshelf space and poor spelling/grammar. When not writing or reading, Alicia is usually being bossed around by her cat Lottie. But she doesn't mind, at least her boss is cute and furry!

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