Friday, October 11, 2019

Book Review: Realm by Alexandrea Weis

Pages: 397
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: May 14, 2019
Publisher: Vesuvian Books
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars 


Goodreads says, "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."

Roxana is living a simple life with her family in Persia. Her father is a chieftain, so that gives her family some status, but it's nothing compared to the Greek conqueror, Alexander the Great, who has invaded her homeland.  While Alexander has occupied Persia, he has become friendly with her father and has met Roxana, who is known in the village for her beauty.  He has decided he wants to take her for his bride, because not only is she beautiful, she is also of mixed race, so this will be an advantageous marriage that hopefully will bring people together.  Roxana is only sixteen years old and doesn't want to marry and leave her family, but she can't say no to Alexander and either can her father.  Once they are married, Roxana finds there are even more obstacles that she must climb.  There's his other women, traitorous plots, ongoing wars, and the very problem of who can she trust? Realm by Alexadrea Weis highlights a lesser known woman from history, Roxana, and takes up on her journey from an unknown civilian to the wife of one of the greatest kings and conquerors the world has ever known.

Roxana was an interesting character and I love that Weis decided to share her story in Realm. To be honest, I was somewhat familiar with Alexander, but didn't know much about his wives.  I enjoyed her rags to riches tale as she isn't noble, so his marriage to her was unexpected.  Roxana's life is far from cushy though.  She is often on the road with Alexander to different places facing different wars, and it gets dangerous.  It's obvious that unlike other Alexander's other women, his marriage to Roxana is one based on love; I definitely enjoyed this aspect of the novel.

Alexander is depicted very well in Realm.  I knew a little bit about him as well as some of his controversy that surrounds him and I think Weis did a good job bringing that all to light, but not in such a pushy way.  The many plots to kill him definitely kept me on the edge of my seat and his relationship with his mother was an interesting one.  His mother definitely deserves her own spin-off novel.  

My only issue with Realm was some of the dialogue.  It felt a bit too modern at times.  Also, the pacing of the story was a little off towards the middle as it dragged a bit.  Other than that, I felt it was an interesting read that had me flipping the pages and wondering what would happen to Roxana.  Fans of historical fiction, and readers who like learning about unknown women from the past will especially appreciate this novel.


  1. I like all these books that are coming out about women in history that haven't been talked about before - I've heard of Alexander the Great, but don't know anything about his wives!

    1. Me too! I so appreciate hearing their untold stories. Roxana, as well as Alexander's mother, all led very interesting lives! Thanks for visiting, Angela!

  2. I'm curious about Alexander, too. He was infamous for all his paramours -- I mean, aside from his conquests, that is. It makes me want to read this book!

    1. YES! His life is pretty interesting and in turn, Roxana's was as well. It's definitely a fascinating time period. Thanks for visiting, Joy!


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