Amanda's Reviews > Cleopatra's Daughter

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
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's review
Aug 04, 2011

really liked it

Cleopatra's Daughter picks up as the Romans, led by Octavian, are capturing Egypt. Selene, the daughter of Cleopatra and Marc Antony, along with her brother Alexander, are taken prisoner by Ocatvian after her mother commits suicide. Once in Rome, Selene becomes frightened about her future -will she be killed? Will Ocatavian force her to marry some old Roman senator? And most importantly...will she ever see her beloved Egypt again?

Michelle Moran offers a fascinating view of an ancient young woman trying to make herself useful and find happiness while navigating the turbulent politics and violence of Rome. Selene is a strong, enjoyable protagonist whose strong opinions and zeal for knowledge is refreshing. Her story is primarily a coming-of-age one with a hint of a love story along with political intrigue. Cleopatra's Daughter offers a great window into the Roman world. I don't know how historically accurate it actually is, but it feels believable and makes logical sense (some history buffs may have issues with it, but for fiction it worked). I particularly enjoyed Selene's interest and pursuit of architecture -at the time, a career not seen fit for women -and her willingness to speak her mind, despite the consequences.

At times, however, Selene feels a little too modern for the Roman world. Perhaps Moran did this to help readers better connect with her -which worked like a charm, since I found Selene to be a really relate able main character -but some of the historical accuracy seems to suffer here (would the Romans really let Selene study architecture with a master architect?). At times, the novels feel a little soap box-y, with overly frequent comments about how horrible Roman slavery and treatment of the poor was, etc. The story also feels a little strained and the pacing a little uneven at times -even a little bit violent or adult for the intended audience.

Overall, I enjoyed Cleopatra's Daughter. Selene is a fun protagonist and the story was different, easy to read and kept me interested for the most part. I wasn't hooked enough to pick up more Michelle Moran books, but reading Cleopatra's Daughter was time well spent.

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