"LEGENDS OF PERSIA" BY JENNIFER MACAIRE

Posted by Matt McAvoy on Wednesday, October 24, 2018 Under: Book Reviews




I was quite critical of the first instalment of the Alexander series, so did try to read Jennifer’s review copy of the first sequel with an open mind.  She is something of an oxymoron, in that she is an extremely talented author, with a fantastic writing style and an undeniable knowledge of not only her subject, but her craft, yet her choice of storyline and genre is at best a little immature, and at worst somewhat offensive.

As a semi-fictional account of the life of Alexander the Great and the world he occupied, the series is of a fantastic quality.  Jennifer’s grasp and narrative of the era, and the dynamics of war and empire which characterized it, is vividly enlightening, educated and epic in scale.  By rights, were it left at that, and the first person, Ashley, were simply an observer following Alexander on his journey of conquest, this book would deservedly ace 5-star reviews.  Unfortunately, Jennifer has chosen a different path and genre for the series, opting instead to turn it into a swashbuckling erotic romance, in which Ashley is mistaken for a goddess and Alexander is her doting and passionate lover.  The historical value of this book, and not to mention Jennifer’s wonderful ability as a writer, are utterly undermined by what appears to be little more than some salacious sexual fantasy which is, for the most part, unpleasant to be a part of – the sex scenes strike me as opportunistic and, frankly, a disrespectful objectification of a real-life historical figure of remarkable achievement (I made a similar point in my review of “The Road the Alexander”, and this view is no less applicable in “Legends of Persia”).

In “Legends of Persia” there is not really much of note happening, at least in the grand scheme of Alexander’s life.  None of the loose ends of the first book are tied up – in fact, more are created, to set up the second sequel – and little happens in the way of storyline, in stark contrast to the first, which covers a much more eventful timeline and has a significantly longer word count.  The way Jennifer reports the battle strategies is interesting, but incidental, as the books are predominantly about Ashley.

I couldn’t bring myself to award less than 3 stars, because Jennifer is such a talented and hard-working writer, who produces very good prose.  Unfortunately, this high quality is so noticeably damaged by the gratification of her fantasy, I can’t see beyond it.


In : Book Reviews 


Tags: jennifer macaire  road to alexander  persia  legends  alexander the great  historical fiction  history  ancient history 

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