Number of pages: 384
Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1
Rating (out of five stars): 1
This book is a complete waste of time. The first book was interesting enough, despite being incredibly slow moving (further weighed down by the number of P.O.Vs) and the weird magic system. Unfortunately, it got worse in Empire of Dust.
The writing tries really hard. It was so flowery and full of metaphors that by chapter 3 I was ready to throw up. Lyrical writing has a time and a place, and a weird book on Alexander the Great and his made up acquaintances is not it. If I truly wanted to struggle to read a book set around Ancient Greece (before someone corrects me, I know that Alexander the Great was not Greek, but the Macedonians stole a ton of things from the Greeks), I would learn Greek and read the primary source material.
I believe the author is a historian, yet Empire of Dust is full of mistakes, the most obvious of them being that Ares was mentioned by his Roman name, Mars. Here’s a general rule: if the god’s name sounds like a planet in our solar system, it’s probably Roman. The author names everything she possibly can after mythological figures, yet apparently she can’t use the correct name for one of the twelve Olympians. It’s not like Ares is an obscure Greek god, he’s not even one of the gods that are debated to hold the twelfth spot, so I don’t understand how you could possibly mess that up. Also, how did an editor not catch it? It’s not that hard to Google “Mars god” and find that that is the Roman god of war, and then find the correct name. If you’re this confused, use Apollo instead. His name is the same for both the Romans and the Greeks. I love mythology, especially Greek mythology, so when I saw this mistake, my blood boiled.
Anything that had nothing to do with every character having some weird magic, and had to do with the actual history and culture feels like the author saying “look how much I know about Alexander the Great”. I can tell you right now that I learned more from watching Horrible Histories and reading a picture book in grade five, than I did reading Empire of Dust. If your book reaches the point where you have to add Aristotle as a character just to show your brilliance, you should probably stop there.
Overall, the characters are bland, the magic is a simple use of deus ex machina, and it is riddled with mistakes, earning Empire of Dust 1 star out of 5.