Because I have a short reading attention span, reading Cleopatra: A Life reminded me that I had this book on my mental to-read list. And today I decidBecause I have a short reading attention span, reading Cleopatra: A Life reminded me that I had this book on my mental to-read list. And today I decided to take a detour into reading Cleopatra's Daughter before resuming that one. I wasn't super impressed with Nefertiti; in presentation, it struck me as a warmed over The Other Boleyn Girl... this time in Egypt! (And with a more interesting main character, to be fair.) Still, I have been curious about Cleopatra Selene for some time now and historical fiction is like my literary comfort food. tl;dr: I was totally destined to read this someday and, hurray!, this book proved to be well worth my while.
I will say that I was frustrated in some points; some of the character are tiresome caricatures and boring tropes, sticking out like sore thumbs among the more well-developed ones. Likewise, Moran's writing style is a puzzle to me, wherein stronger emotions occasionally fall flat. Nothing comes across as maudlin, but she had an unenviable task considering the sheer number of tragedies in Selene's life. Also, and this is probably petty, but I rather wish this book had been a duology. I really wanted to read about Selene's life after the time span covered in this book, because it's some pretty fascinating stuff. As it stands, the ending feels a bit abrupt, and I think a chapter or two more wouldn't have hurt.
Still, Cleopatra's Daughter is compulsively readable and ridiculously entertaining. Prickly, conscientious Selene is an appealing heroine, and a number of the side characters are equally interesting. Julia in particular steals the show, and I was so glad that the author made her and Selene have a somewhat complicated relationship. (Actually, and this might have been because I was just reading this books, I was slightly reminded of Gemma and Felicty from A Great and Terrible Beauty. This is a good thing!)
Moran is also pretty decent about sticking to historical fact. She does invent a slave uprising out of whole cloth, but this didn't bother me. It fit well into the climate of the day, and it didn't come across as the author going "well I think THIS should have happened instead!" Furthermore, Cleopatra's Daughter does a pretty damn decent job of developing the character's personalities, rather than merely going from point A to B in history.
This is more like a 4.5. Pretty much a perfect rainy day read! ...more
I picked this one up because the descriptions sounded like... I wouldn't be bored, at least. In the end it actually veers away from the sort of 'knockI picked this one up because the descriptions sounded like... I wouldn't be bored, at least. In the end it actually veers away from the sort of 'knockoff of the lord of the flies!! with girls!! in the forest!!!!" scenario that the dust jacket promised. But I didn't mind; this book wound up being pretty profound, and speaking to things I've struggled with all of my life. I always like a story that paints capacity to change and reach self-fulfillment as worth striving for, even if one stumbles along the way. And this book does honor to that basic principle....more