Sunday, March 15, 2015

Review: The Pillars of Hercules, by David Constantine

Title: The Pillars of Hercules
Author: David Constantine
Format: ebook
Source: NetGalley

From Goodreads: "Alexander, Prince of Macedon, is the terror of the world. Persia, Egypt, Athens… one after another, mighty nations are falling before the fearsome conqueror. Some say Alexander is actually the son of Zeus, king of the gods, and the living incarnation of Hercules himself. Worse yet, some say Alexander believes this…

The ambitious prince is aided in his conquest by unstoppable war-machines based on the forbidden knowledge of his former tutor, the legendary scientist-mage known as Aristotle. Greek fire, mechanical golems, and gigantic siege-engines lay waste to Alexander's enemies as his armies march relentlessly west—toward the very edge of the world.

Beyond the Pillars of Hercules, past the gateway to the outer ocean, lies the rumored remnants of Atlantis: ancient artifacts of such tremendous power that they may be all that stands between Alexander and conquest of the entire world. Alexander desires that power for himself, but an unlikely band of fugitives—including a Gaulish barbarian, a cynical Greek archer, a cunning Persian princess, and a sorcerer's daughter—must find it first… before Alexander unleashes godlike forces that will shatter civilization.

The Pillars of Hercules is an epic adventure that captures the grandeur and mystery of the ancient world as it might have been, where science and magic are one and the same."

My Opinion: I requested this book because the blurb sounded like something I would really enjoy reading. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations at all. I love reading about Alexander the Great and I love steampunk, so I thought "how could I go wrong with this book". Well, I'll tell you how. The story lines were way too vague, with too many characters popping in and out without adding anything to the story. Also, it felt like the author was just meandering through whatever popped into his head instead of picking and choosing what was important and tightening up the story that way, I almost didn't finish the book, and that's saying a lot right there because I can usually get through any story if I know I'm going to be writing a review for it, but this one was really a challenge. I can say that the first half held my interest much more than the second half did.

I thought this was going to be a story in the vein of an "epic adventure" since that's what the blurb told me it was. Instead, I had to get through tons of info dumps that felt like they were just there to make the book longer instead of telling me something that was relatable to the story itself.

There were too many characters who weren't necessary and I felt were just there to make the story more mysterious, but instead of being excited to find out how they would fit into the story, I was just left more confused than ever trying to make connections that just weren't there. The story was told by many different viewpoints, but instead of understanding clearly why they all had a voice, I again was left confused by why some Greek army fellow and a random messenger had viewpoints at all since they weren't essential to the story! They just dragged it out even more!

And lastly, I expected something to happen at the end that would clear up all of my questions and doubts about the book, but alas, it wasn't to be. The end was even more confusing than the rest of the book, which I didn't think was possible! I'm not even going to get into what it was, because I firmly believe that just because I personally don't enjoy a book, someone else might, and I don't want to spoil it for them. Suffice it to say that I myself didn't care too much for this book overall.

I would give this book 2 to 2.5 stars.

I received a copy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.