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Shadow's Edge #2

Cleopatra Ascending

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Sweet Sixteen = You're a Queen

Despite living with a shaman, a witch, and a muse for sisters, Rhea Spencer feels like a normal teenager-even if she is the reincarnation of Cleopatra. But all that changes on Rhea's sixteenth birthday, when her visions of the Egyptian queen start unraveling a very different version of history, and Declan, a hot representative of the secret Order of Antony, shows up on the doorstep to keep her from being kidnapped. Together, Rhea and Declan travel to Egypt to stop the Octavians, a dark cabal trying to tap into Rhea's growing powers. The cabal seeks to access the magic deep below the desert sands, a potentially devastating force that only Rhea can protect.

240 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2013

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Maureen Lipinski

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Displaying 1 - 28 of 28 reviews
Profile Image for Cee.
974 reviews221 followers
April 17, 2018
Cleopatra Ascending is fast, almost too much so. Covering 223 pages, this young-adult paranormal thriller is straight-up non-complex fiction, easy to read and get lost in.
Rhea has always known she was a reincarnation of Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen, but it had never seemed interesting. Her family consists of witches and shamans, and Rhea is boringly human – until her sixteenth birthday. On an otherwise dull day, she discovers she is part of an ancient curse, which only she can break.

Although Cleopatra Ascending is the second book in the Shadow’s Edge series, it is perfectly understandable without having read the first book. The earlier book focusses on one of Rhea’s sisters, making Cleopatra a fresh story only loosely connected to it. Unlike many young-adult books, Rhea already has an established relationship at the beginning of the book. Despite the fact that a second teenage guy is introduced in the course of the book, a love-triangle never forms, leaving the original relationship as the focus of romantic interest. I liked how the issues Rhea and Slade faced were related to their circumstances, and not the addition of another hot guy.

Rhea is very much a teenager, which is an advantage or a drawback, based on your perspective. She is concerned with mundane things like being grounded, seeing friends, and smooching her boyfriend, and the world-ending stuff doesn’t make her forget these things. Perhaps she reads as “stupid” for not taking the treats on her life seriously, but I actually found her resistance realistic. No matter how surrounded you are with the paranormal, saving the world must not come easily to everyone.

The weakest aspect of the book is the mythology. Rhea receives visions from her previous life, but these do not extend beyond the aesthetic and plot-related elements. There was very little to learn about history or Egyptian culture or even Cleopatra herself. It feels like a missed opportunity, as there is so much material to work with, and I feel that the book would have had a better grounding if it had drawn more from mythology and history. As it is, the plot seems flimsy and filled with an almost cartoonlike distinction between good and evil. It is serviceable, and propels the story toward a satisfying conclusion, but it doesn’t leave much of an impression.

On the other hand, this does mean that Cleopatra Ascending is accessible even for readers who find history incredibly dull and are looking for a high-stakes adventure featuring a girl-next-door teen protagonist.

Trigger warnings:
Profile Image for Abigail.
10 reviews23 followers
December 20, 2013
I picked up this book because I've always had a fascination with Cleopatra and her story. I've already read a number of books about her and her children- both fiction and nonfiction. I read the back cover of this book and thought hmmm a reincarnation of Cleopatra? Sounds pretty cool. I did see that this seemed to be a sequel to another book but it didn't seem necessary to read it.

So I started reading and by the end of the first chapter I was already starting to feel a bit disappointed. It turns out that Rhea (the main character) already knows she's the reincarnation of Cleopatra and is completely underwhelmed by that fact. She didn't even seem interested about Cleopatra and as she later reveals in the book she didn't even try to find out much about her until her life was in danger. Personally, if I had known that I was the reincarnation of one of the most notorious queens in history I would've tried to find out as much as I could. But maybe that's just me.

There were three main characters in this book: Rhea, Declan, and Slade. Out all of them I think Slade was the most developed character of them all and that's not saying much. Rhea was starting to annoy me halfway through the book and I think I just dislike her now. She seems a little too interested in herself and though there are brief moments where she does realize that other people's lives are endangered it always comes as an afterthought.

I didn't really like Declan's character either although he was slightly better than Rhea. Throughout most of the book he was grumpy and like the whole Order of Antony seemed to wish he was anywhere else rather than in Egypt protecting Rhea. Which seems pretty weird as they're supposed to be an order dedicated to protecting Cleopatra's reincarnation. Why stay in an Order you don't actually want to be in? Even the author's explanation for it didn't really seem logical. I mean I can understand that some of them were probably pressured by parents that were in the Order but I would've expected at least some of them would be excited about Cleopatra returning and finally destroying the Book of the Dead. Which leads me to the issues I had with the plot.

Seriously? The entire reason for Cleopatra's reincarnation was to destroy the Book of the Dead that she ordered to be made for her in the first place? I'm sorry but that just seems really stupid. Not even the excuse that she couldn't have known that the Octavians would try to harness its power works. Even before her time there were grave robbers who stole treasures from Pharaohs' tombs so hiding something of such great power in her tomb was a really dumb move. I also think the problem was resolved way too quickly. The story was really fast paced, probably because this was a thin book and the epic last battle scene just ended up being about two paragraphs long -_- Disappointing.

But the worst part (WARNING SPOILERS) was that Declan's twin brother Grant who is on the Octavian side turned out to be Mark Antony's reincarnation. I almost gave up on the book right then when I read that part. It became clear then that these reincarnations didn't reincarnate their previous lives' personalities or love. If two people swore to find each other again when they reincarnated I would expect them to still love each other. So I just accepted that this story was pretty unbelievable and I just forced myself to finish just in case the characters developed redeemable qualities. Needless to say, that didn't happen. So when I found out the WHOLE Order of Antony died I just sighed loudly and continued.Yes, a group of people who had trained to protect a reincarnated queen from would-be kidnappers so probably had fighting/escape skills were unable to escape from a fire. RIGHT.

So though initially I would only give this one star I give it two because the idea of a reincarnation of Cleopatra is still pretty cool. But if you're a fan of the original Cleopatra I wouldn't recommend reading this book.
Profile Image for Kathy Martin.
3,394 reviews73 followers
December 29, 2012
Rhea is a typical teen. By turns she is self-involved and selfless, self-absorbed and intuitive and much like a normal teen. But Rhea is also the reincarnation of Cleopatra which hasn't impacted her life much until her sixteenth birthday. All of a sudden two groups of guys are after her. The Order wants to protect her and the Octavians want to use her to further their evil goals. And Rhea is having very vivid dreams about Cleopatra.

I met Rhea in SHADOW'S EDGE which focused on her older sister Leah's story and didn't much like her. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I liked her very much when she was the focus of the story. I thought her wry comments and self-deprecating behavior was engaging. I liked that she has felt slighted in the special powers area because her sisters were each so amazing. But I also liked that she had enough self-confidence to not become bitter.

I liked her relationship with her boyfriend Slade which was a Romeo and Juliet sort of relationship especially given that he was a Dark Creatuir whose parents really didn't like her. I liked that, while he was there to support her at critical moments, events in his own life left her to be strong and figure many things out on her own. I liked that there was no love triangle in this one. Declan was a member of the Order who was assigned to protect her but he had a girlfriend and a life he wanted to get back too. He treated her like a little sister.

I sympathized with Rhea as her powers manifested. Being able to raise that dead was not really a very cool power even though Zombo the zombie dog she raised was cute in a dead and rotting way. I liked the support she received from her family and liked the contrast of her relationship with her family to that of Declan's relationship with his.

I did feel that the pacing of the story was a little odd. It took until the 25% mark before anything really happened and then the resolution of the story seemed to happen in just a few pages at the end. I do think that fans of paranormals who like feisty heroines who are very much real teens will enjoy this story though.
Profile Image for All Things Urban Fantasy.
1,921 reviews614 followers
January 7, 2013
Review Courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy

CLEOPATRA ASCENDING is a wonderfully satisfying paranormal mystery centering around a very relatable reincarnation of a teenage Cleopatra. The story felt a little like an Indiana Jones type story with a secret cult bent on world domination, ancient codes to break, and lots of references to ancient historical texts. This was a great standalone book filled with action and intrigue and I was actually very surprised to discover that this was the second book in the Shadow’s Edge series (the first book focused on Rhea’s shaman sister, Leah).

I really liked the concept of Rhea being the reincarnation of Cleopatra and enjoyed seeing what powers she got as the story went along. The visions of Rhea’s past life were so visually detailed and I almost wanted to spend more time in ancient Egypt with Rhea as Cleopatra. As a character, Rhea came off as a very realistic teenager with numerous flaws who makes mistakes and learns from them. I was also impressed at her lack of bitterness in regards to not having any real magical abilities.

In regards to Rhea’s love life, I liked that she had a more realistic teenaged relationship with Slade…aside from him being a Dark Creatuir prince. I also enjoyed the lack of a love triangle or any real confrontation/chest thumping between Slade and Declan to ‘win’ Rhea. I liked that while Slade and Declan do assist Rhea in defeating the Octavians, Rhea is able to have agency over what she does and how she grows into her powers throughout the book.

I liked the mystery and magic discovered in CLEOPATRA ASCENDING and I will definitely be going back to check out the first in the Shadow’s Edge series; SHADOW’S EDGE, and keep an eye out for the next book featuring a new sister.

Sexual Content: kissing
Profile Image for Ian.
1,351 reviews188 followers
December 29, 2012
Her mother is a psychic, her sisters are a witch, a shaman and a spirit guide. You would expect Rhea to have some other worldly powers but it seems the best she can offer is being the reincarnation of Cleopatra.

But when she turns 16, things start to happen. A mysterious group called the Octavians is searching for the Book of the Dead and Rhea is starting to have visions. The Octavians want to use the Book of the Dead to raise an army of zombies but they need her to read the spell.

Cleopatra Ascending is Young Adult fiction aimed squarely at the Middle School / Junior High age groups and maybe a little older. It's a short and easily read book and would be a good choice for kids who aren't motivated readers.

Many thanks to Flux and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC
Profile Image for Ame.
19 reviews
September 1, 2022
A stand-alone novel based on one of the sisters from the original Shadow’s Edge novel.
Rhea was my favorite sister from the first book so this quick fun read from her POV was highly enjoyable.
While it’s not what I would call homage to Cleopatra or Egyptian history, it was a decent read for what it is.
Plus there’s Slade. Definitely adds an extra star to the rating.
Profile Image for Trina Collins.
400 reviews6 followers
October 8, 2018
Very interesting. I hope there will be a book for each of the other sisters as well
Profile Image for Hannah.
490 reviews
January 4, 2013
Excuse me in advance for the mild sarcasm. I had some problems with this book. I mean when I first got it and looked at the page count, my normal doubts crept in. It's like 230 pages. I'm not normally very sure about those because you never know how well it's going to be pulled off in such a quick amount of time. In all aspects. And sadly, this book didn't exactly prove me wrong. It was interesting enough to begin with, but then I had all these question pop up and the book didn't answer them very well. After a while I just...lost interest. But I shall compile my thoughts for a decent review.

Honestly? I didn't really dig the characters that much. I couldn't connect to Rhea and her family was all distant! They were just talking about being psychic and having magic as if it was totally normal. And she was all like fine with knowing she was a reincarnation! Just the REACTIONS were so weird. It was very confuzzling. But beyond that, Rhea just wasn't the strong. She was a rash decision make and very contradictory. It was the whole situation of: I KNOW I SHOULD PROTECT MYSELF, BUT I'M TO SELFISH TO DO THAT. GIVE ME SCARY PROOF THAT I SHOULD AND THEN I WILL. No. Just no. That doesn't work! It's cliche and idiotic! I mean it takes her way longer to do what she needed to do and then do it. Shut up already. Out of all the characters, her older sister Morgana was the best. Though I might give Declan some hot points.

I love books that can give me a geeky moment. Doesn't matter what it is, but sometimes there's just something so little it makes me smile or squeal. In this case it was the fact that there was a character named Hannah. BOOOO-YAH. Points to Maureen for that. And the fact that Hannah is Declan's girlfriend...more points! I mean Declan, though not the love interest, is kinda HAWT.

Speaking of girlfriends and boyfriends (which we are now), the romance in this book was weird. They were already GF and BF and there was no real relationship. It was hard to see how she even LIKED him. And there was all this drama that gave a little more insight in, but it felt cheesy, and a bit cliched and hypocritical. And then on the side we have Declan, who, though you KNOW he has a GF already (um, that would be me.), seemed to be a hidden person in a love triangle. I mean it wasn't a love triangle, BUT IT WASN'T! Does that make sense at all? It didn't to me either.


Ah the world. Weirdness and Confusion Incorporated. To be honest I felt like I was thrust into this "Let's See How Many Worlds We Can Have In One Jamboree", I mean what the HECK?! There were the Creaturs. In their own little Dark world, yes still existing on earth. And for the record, what a UNIQUE name. I would never have thought to make my supernatural being a CREATURE. Then there's Rhea, a freaking re-incarnation, and then there is the whole deal with having Psychics, Shamans, Witches and Muses all in one family. Um, what is going on here? This is not some TV show cross-over is it? Then there is the fact that we don't even learn that much about these other realms so it feels even more jumbled and thrown together. There aren't many happy prospects here are there?

Oh and did I mention there's like five kinds of magic to go along with that? Plus like two Orders that we know nearly nothing about. And then there is the fact that she has dreams of herself as Cleopatra. But what are they? RANDOMLY INTERSPERSED. They don't connect to the plot as well as I liked and it felt like they were thrown in just too make up for stuff. Or I dunno. Like when she cut a scene short, ooh time for another cool Cleopatra scene with random rituals. So I will conclude that it felt like we were jumping into this world that was half-done or already established.

And then you know what I realized? This book is a sequel. DUH. It's about the sister of the girl in book one. DUH. No wonder it makes no sense why there are like five bajillion worlds combined. How lame can you get for not realizing that kind of thing? So I would Highly suggest you read the first book before reading this one. It will make SO MUCH more sense.

Content: Mild
Profile Image for Kristina.
199 reviews7 followers
February 12, 2013
Originally published at yAdult Review.

Let me start off by saying that I didn’t realize this was a sequel when I requested it, but it doesn’t matter anyway. You can definitely read Rhea’s story as a standalone novel. And I liked it! I’ve been lucky with ARCs in 2013 (minus one), and this one is no different. The summary is straightforward: Rhea is Cleopatra reincarnated, though we don’t know what that entails at first. I loved that this was a supernatural family, that magic wasn’t a big deal to them, and that we didn’t have sixty chapters of Rhea denying her supernaturalness, angsting over her weirdness, or coming to grips with it. It’s established that this family is magical. Even the “normal” boyfriend of her sister knows. I never really warmed up to Rhea–she’s…different and not very sympathetic (she doesn’t talk, she shrieks. Every other sentence)–but I still enjoyed her journey. One thing that had me rolling my eyes though? The sisters are Leah, Rhea, and Gia. I just rolled my eyes typing that sentence. It was a quick-moving story about interesting stuff, and I enjoyed myself.

I liked how Rhea admitted she was popular and had friends, and that she has a boyfriend in the beginning of the novel. So many books are about shy heroines who don’t know they’re beautiful and have no experience with boys. So it’s nice to see it switched up. The appearance of Zombo the zombie dog was a lot of fun, and I really loved that addition. (Whenever there’s an animal companion in a book, it always seems to die, so I try to avoid them, but you can’t kill something that’s already dead!) We see Declan trying to teach Rhea about Cleopatra, Isis, and Egyptian history, and it was kind of cool for me too. One problem I had, and maybe this is because I didn’t read the first novel in the series, was that the characters didn’t really have any development. They only showed up when Rhea needed them or to move the story along. It didn’t seem like Rhea had close relationships with any of them, including her friends from school, her sisters, and even her boyfriend. I’d like to know more about Morgana, honestly, but this is Rhea’s book.

Things did seem a little rushed in this one, and sometimes it feels like things aren’t fleshed out enough. Again, maybe that’s due to there being another book before this one, but I don’t think so. There was a scene with Cleopatra stooped over Marc (“c” not “k”) Antony’s body, and she is screaming her head off. Then, a second later, she is nodding serenely and following as her men carry Antony’s body to her temple. What? It’s a little bipolar, and it happens throughout the book.

I ended up sympathizing with Rhea eventually though. She grew up with magical sisters and a psychic mother. For sixteen years, she assumes she has no powers. Then, when her powers do manifest, not only are people trying to kill her, she is betrayed and forced to flee into the arms of people who don’t make any effort to like her. She’s alone and scared, which is why I thought Slade’s late night visit to her room was sweet.

I know you’re not supposed to say this about ARCs, but this one had typos and continuity issues galore. One minute, the cat is crawling under the table, and one sentence later, he’s in Rhea’s lap. Names are changed from one paragraph to the next (e.g. in chapter 16, Curt is also called Cameron). I hope that everything was tidied up for the actual release, because it really bothered me. It was the worst I had seen in an ARC, and I really liked this book, so I don’t want to see it plagued with silly mistakes. I can forgive that though, honestly, because there’s no love triangle in this one! Declan has a girlfriend, and there really aren’t any other eligible teenagers around, not that Rhea has time to romance.

This one wraps up a little too nicely, but it was a quick, fun read and I have no regrets about requesting it. I will definitely be adding Leah’s story, the eponymous first novel of the series Shadow’s Edge, to my TBR.
403 reviews55 followers
January 4, 2013
If you want to see more of my reviews, check out my blog @ Moosubi Reviews!

[3.25 / 5]

Cleopatra Ascending is a book that you might see at the library, pick it up out of curiosity, pick it up, read it, have a great time while you’re at it, then return it. I’m definitely not saying it’s a bad book – in fact, it’s one that I really enjoyed! But in my opinion, for most YA readers, this book is probably most enjoyable as a quick weekend read.

I especially liked the incorporation of Egyptian mythology and history Lipinski incorporated. She also imaginatively combined the idea of reincarnation with the two topics, and it eventually turned into a a bunch of fun! It's also pretty different from a lot of fantasy books, and while it could seem like a daunting topic to read about, incorporating the Order of Marc Antony (the "good guys") and the Octavians (the "bad guys") really makes for a sweet read (:

Along the way, you also get to learn about artifacts like the Book of the Dead and pylons, with a more fantastical take. One of the reasons why I say Cleopatra Ascending could be an appropriate read for older middle grade readers is since younger readers could benefit from reading about Egypt, but in such a fun way! I admit that the plot and characters also seem oversimplified, which also might make this book appropriate for young readers.

However, although I mentioned that some of the plot was oversimplified, there were quite a few twists, like some secret identities and who was who in terms of reincarnations. There were times in the book that I was so shocked, I spent a good minute just contemplating it o___o It was just so unexpected!

On the other end of the spectrum, though was the romance & characters. Whenever a character died, Rhea didn't seem to react at all, which seemed realistic enough considering the very short amount of time you get to know the character anyways. Declan, who even appears in the blurb for the book, is more of a side character also. Slade & Rhea's romance also seemed to develop a bit too quickly, and I found it hard to believe that he could make a certain heavy decision so quickly.

Nevertheless, I did end up enjoying the book! Again, I mostly recommend it to younger readers (maybe in late elementary school or middle school), but also to mythology fans who might be looking for a shorter read (:

* On a side note, Cleopatra Ascending is listed on Goodreads as the second book of a series. I read it as a companion novel, and you don't need to read the first in order to read the second, since a lot of backstory is introduced, and Rhea is the main POV instead of Leah (her sister). Thanks for reading!

*Thank you to Flux Books & NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book!*
Profile Image for Heather.
482 reviews45 followers
October 3, 2015
I didn't know that this was a second book in a series when I picked up at NetGalley, but that really didn't seem to matter while I read the book. There were a few references to something that happened in the first book and I thought, I wish the author had written about that first. Duh, how stupid am I? She did write about it in the first book featuring a different sister called Shadow's Edge. There are four sisters and I'm betting each sister will get a book. Cleopatra Ascending was Rhea's book, the reincarnation of Cleopatra. Now, I didn't expect much from this book, it just hasn't had a lot of press and it's kind of unassuming just sitting there despite that gorgeous crown and the girl with the smoldering eyes and that hair!

Anyway, I started reading this book and I couldn't put it down! It wasn't too taxing to the brain and it didn't make me worry to much, but it was just a fun, enjoyable read. I loved the relationships between the sisters even though there was the usual sister fighting that goes with being a sibling. They all had one sibling they would go to for confiding in that they could trust. Rhea would go to her sister Morgana a witch. Her other sister Leah is a Shaman for the Creatuir (sorry don't know how to do all the symbols) and her other sister, Gia, is a Muse. Her mother has spirit guides and can predict what is going to happen from them and her father is a policeman. Yeah, he's normal. But, on her 16th birthday, Rhea becomes the reincarnation of Cleopatra and starts having very realistic dreams about her. The Octavian's, the people that raised Cleopatra's children, are trying to kidnap her to use her to raise a zombie army. Ah ha, I knew I'd get some of you with the word ZOMBIE. But that's not really the biggest part of the book.

What I really want to say about the book is that if you love Egyptology and some romance, then you'll love this light read. I am going to go back and read the first book in the series so I can understand every one's powers and how Rhea met her boyfriend Slade and exactly what he is. Not human, that's for sure. You might not like Rhea at times, but you also need to put yourself in her shoes. She's a tad selfish, but I would be too, given the circumstances. She never asked to be Cleopatra's reincarnation and all that entails. So if you remember that, you'll probably see her point of view. And she is only sixteen, weren't we all selfish at that age???

I say give it a try! It was a fun quick read and before all the dystopian sequels come out or during, if you need something light but with some mystery to it, this is a great one to try. I'll let you know what I think of the first book.

Thanks to Flux for the E-ARC provided through NetGalley. This was given to me for a fair and honest review. It in no way influenced my opinions of the book.
Profile Image for Henrietta.
207 reviews24 followers
December 24, 2012
Haven’t read Shadow’s Edge, I was a little apprehensive to read Cleopatra Ascending at the beginning as I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to follow the story. After finishing the book, I’m happy to share that not only was I able to follow the story, I had an enjoyable time reading the book!

In the story, we have Rhea, a girl who has a father working as a police officer and a mother who is a famous psychic. Unlike her gifted sisters, Rhea does not have any special power of her own. According to her mom, she is the reincarnation of Cleopatra, but Rhea has never felt destined for anything particularly special. On the day of her sixteenth birthday, Rhea starts seeing unusual visions of herself being Cleopatra. At first, she ignores the visions but when strangers show up and attempt to kidnap her, she knows she’s in huge trouble. Can she escape the doomed fate of the former Egyptian Queen?

Although Rhea appears to be a friendly person in front of her classmates, her inner dialogue is not exactly… friendly. Often complaining about something, she seems unhappy by the fact that she has no special power of her own. When she starts seeing visions, it takes her quite a while before she sees that she has to take matters into her own hands to save herself as well as those whom she cares. While Rhea may not come across as a likeable character, her personality is not unpleasant. The thing I like about her is that when she is determined to do something, even if she doesn’t feel wholeheartedly enthusiastic about the task, she’d commit to doing it until she reaches the finish line.

From the synopsis, I sort of assumed Declan would be the love interest of Rhea but I was wrong. Rhea is in love with someone else the whole time and Declan is not interested in having anything to do with her except that it’s his duty to protect her from the bad guys. I was also astonished by the identity of the reincarnation of Mark Antony when it’s revealed. It totally caught me off guard but I liked the twist as well as the element of surprise.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Cleopatra Ascending. The ending does make me wonder if there may be a sequel to the series but I like that there is no brutal cliffhanger.


This review was originally published on my blog.

A copy of the book was provided by publisher for review purposes.
Profile Image for Anna Kay.
1,321 reviews153 followers
January 3, 2013
Rhea Spencer has lived around the supernatural her whole life without any major problems. Her Mom is a psychic, and her sisters are a shaman, a witch and a muse. Oh yeah, and Rhea also just happens to be the reincarnation of Cleopatra! But on her sixteenth birthday, Rhea starts having visions of her life as the Egyptian queen and than the Order of Antony shows up to 'protect' her from another, darker order - the Octavians. The Octavians want to kidnap Rhea and use her to unleash an army of the undead and take over the world. Forced to leave behind her family and her boyfriend Slade (who was just made King of the Dark Creatuirs), Rhea and Declan (a member of Antony) travel to Egypt to take back the Book of the Dead and stop the Octavians for good. Will they be able to save the world or will everything be lost for good to an ancient evil? This book intrigued me from the start, seeing as I have always loved ancient Egyptian mythology and history. The idea of an American teenager being the reincarnation of Cleopatra was amusing. I liked Rhea's sarcastic, yet fairly happy existence. The dynamic of her family was a good change from all of the splintered ones I see in YA fic on a constant basis. I got the feeling while reading this book that I had missed something, from all the references to her sister Leah's role with the Dark Creatuirs, and I was right. I had read this without knowing it was number two in a series. I hate it when that happens, but for the most part it didn't affect my experience too much in this case. It was more of an annoyance than anything else. Rhea's romance with Slade, who is a different species, kind of squicked me out. And the whole Romeo & Juliet thing they have going on gets old really quick. Especially when Rhea is constantly and immaturely pining over him, whining about how much she misses him. Yuck, I hate gushy teen romance in YA books. Resolution came a little too quickly for my taste and I felt like the way the conflict ended was sloppy and lazy. Overall an interesting attempt, but not my favorite mythology rendering and I wouldn't recommend it to any of my friends.

VERDICT: 3/5 Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication date is January 8th, 2013.*
Profile Image for Ana.
898 reviews22 followers
January 4, 2013
Rhea is your typical teenager…or is she? She lives in a house filled with people who have special powers and, even though she’s been told she’s the reincarnation of Cleopatra, she hasn’t seen anything to date that makes her feel special. However, as she nears her sixteenth birthday, things begin to change. She begins to see visions of Cleopatra that feel real and she discovers that there is a secret plot against her. All of a sudden her life is much more interesting…and much scarier!

I liked the characters in this book and was thankful that there wasn’t a love triangle to deal with like in so many other books these days. The characters all had a reason to exist and a part to play in the story. I enjoyed reading about Rhea. Even though, at times, her “teenager” showed through, overall, she was a strong hero for the story. I would have liked to hear more about Cleopatra but can understand why the story needed to focus on the here and now. Rhea’s boyfriend, Slade, made appearances only when he was needed to move the story forward or support her and this had both an up side and down side for me. On the positive side, he was his own person, after all, he was about to become King of his world. He had a life to lead and Rhea wasn’t dependent on him like so many characters we’ve read about. But, on the other hand, because he wasn’t around enough, I didn’t feel the chemistry between them like I wanted to. Declan, her contact with the Order of Antony, was a great character filled with knowledge about the past and secrets he was hesitant to share. I really enjoyed the fact that he had his own life and a girlfriend outside of his obligations to Rhea. This made him feel like a brother and made his desire to protect her much more real for me as I knew it had nothing to do with a relationship.

There were several twists and turn to this story that made it interesting. The explanation of the Order of Antony was quite unique and the small bits on Egyptian information we received was very enjoyable. The plot was unique and well thought out as well. This is a second book in a series but it easily stands alone which is quite unique. Overall it was a good, quick and enjoyable read.
Profile Image for BookHookup.
1,403 reviews110 followers
January 4, 2013
Rhea is your typical teenager…or is she? She lives in a house filled with people who have special powers and, even though she’s been told she’s the reincarnation of Cleopatra, she hasn’t seen anything to date that makes her feel special. However, as she nears her sixteenth birthday, things begin to change. She begins to see visions of Cleopatra that feel real and she discovers that there is a secret plot against her. All of a sudden her life is much more interesting…and much scarier!

I liked the characters in this book and was thankful that there wasn’t a love triangle to deal with like in so many other books these days. The characters all had a reason to exist and a part to play in the story. I enjoyed reading about Rhea. Even though, at times, her “teenager” showed through, overall, she was a strong hero for the story. I would have liked to hear more about Cleopatra but can understand why the story needed to focus on the here and now. Rhea’s boyfriend, Slade, made appearances only when he was needed to move the story forward or support her and this had both an up side and down side for me. On the positive side, he was his own person, after all, he was about to become King of his world. He had a life to lead and Rhea wasn’t dependent on him like so many characters we’ve read about. But, on the other hand, because he wasn’t around enough, I didn’t feel the chemistry between them like I wanted to. Declan, her contact with the Order of Antony, was a great character filled with knowledge about the past and secrets he was hesitant to share. I really enjoyed the fact that he had his own life and a girlfriend outside of his obligations to Rhea. This made him feel like a brother and made his desire to protect her much more real for me as I knew it had nothing to do with a relationship.

There were several twists and turn to this story that made it interesting. The explanation of the Order of Antony was quite unique and the small bits on Egyptian information we received was very enjoyable. The plot was unique and well thought out as well. This is a second book in a series but it easily stands alone which is quite unique. Overall it was a good, quick and enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Cathy.
606 reviews12 followers
November 19, 2012
First I have to say that I didn't read the first book and didn't know this was a second book, but after reading this one I definitely want to check out the first book. With that said this could still pass as a stand alone because the previous story was just background in this book. In my opinion (not having read the first one). I really loved the premise of the story and not having read too much about Cleopatra it was definitely an eye opener and I enjoyed the book very much. The author writes with an ease that makes the book flow quickly and easily.

We meet Rhea who is celebrating her sixteenth birthday by cleaning out trash from the garage. At one point she goes out side and there are so many starts outside but there is one in particular that is so bright right above her head. This is where her troubles begin. She starts having visions of Cleopatra, she already knew she was an incarnation of a queen just not which one. Her family is all very gifted, which in someway is good and in others not so good. Overall she just wants to be a normal teenager but when the Order of Marc Antony and the Order of the Octavian’s are vying for her, one to kidnap her and the other to protect her, everything in her life is no longer normal.

She must choose what to do and how to keep herself and her family safe. She goes with the Order of Marc Antony as he was well trusted with Cleopatra while the other just wants her to raise an army of the dead to destroy everyone and finally win this war that has been unfinished since the time of Cleopatra. There’s a lot of action and then a great section of revelations between Rhea and Declan who is her contact with the order. All the while her boyfriend Slade is becoming King of his own world.

I think this book could even be a stand a lone so it wasn’t such a bad thing that I didn’t read the first as this one seemed to be completely on it’s own, but I will be happy to read it when I can. Again this was a quick and short very easily read kind of book and very interesting story line as you don’t see many books about Cleopatra for young adults. Can’t wait to see what happens next after all there are more sisters!
Profile Image for Shelley.
5,164 reviews458 followers
January 15, 2013
*Genre* YA Paranormal
*Rating* 3.0


This is actually the second novel in the Shadow's Edge series. The first book was about Rhea's older sister Leah who is a Shaman to The Créatúir. Having none of the previous knowledge that Rhea had an Créatúir boyfriend in Slade was kind of a drawback. Although the story was interesting, there was too much background information missing that I would like back please? The part that's missing is the whole culture of The Créatúir and how Rhea and Slade came together.

It appears that this series will be focusing on the 4 Spencer sisters Morgana (Witch), Gia (Muse), Leah (Shaman) and now Rhea (Cleopatra reincarnated). This story actually takes place 9 months after the end of Shadow's Edge or so we are told. Rhea turns 16 and learns that she will finally have a power of her own; the ability to raise the dead. She is approached by Declan, a member of the Order of Antony, who warns her that she is in dire danger from a group known as the Octavians who wants to use her powers to raise an army and take over the world.

I liked the fact that this is pretty straight forward and a fast paced read. I liked the fact that although Declan's goal is to protect Rhea, they didn't end up falling head over heels for each other. In fact, Declan was wary of Rhea many times over the course of this book because of her reluctance to be a true heroine and learn about her true abilities.

The question now remains whether or not I should go back to the beginning, or continue on with the series hoping that the missing information will be written into the next books. We shall see!

*ARC Recvd 08/29/2012 from NetGalley - Expected publication: January 8th 2013 by Flux
Profile Image for Heather Boustead.
267 reviews42 followers
June 5, 2013
Cleopatra Ascending
Shadow’s Edge Series Book Two
By Maureen Lipinski

Rhea has just turned sweet sixteen and discovered she is Cleopatra’s reincarnate. This really isn’t much of a surprise, more like a let-down, she wishes she had cooler powers like her sisters or her mom the most she can do is draw attention from the people around her. That is until her powers begin to manifest themselves and she is soon in danger from people who would wish to use Cleopatra’s abilities against mankind.

I had no idea that this was the second book in a series; you can definitely tell you’ve missed something when you start reading but it’s still a great story even if you start in the middle like I did. Maureen Lipinski has created a fantastic story here centering on Rhea and her past life. Even though Rhea is absolutely intriguing and the main character of the novel there are several times when her sisters and mother draw the attention away from Rhea making you want to know more about their unique gifts. Through the blending of dreams Rhea glimpses events in her past life that are so well written and descriptive you can almost see yourself in ancient Egypt. The author takes something simple from Egyptian mythology and plays it to its fullest captivating readers and transporting us into another world. I cannot wait to see what else the author has in store for Rhea.

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Profile Image for Mrs. Kenyon.
1,235 reviews24 followers
December 31, 2012
Rhea Spencer has just turned 16 years old and how does she get to celebrate her birthday? She gets to clean out the garage and do other chores because she was late at curfew. You would think being the reincarnation of Queen Cleopatra would give her bonus points, but you would be wrong. Not only does she receive no special treatment, she also has no special powers like her sisters who are a shaman, a witch and a muse. That is until she starts having visions of Cleopatra's life and an unknown stranger approaches her and warns her that her life is in danger (in ancient Egyptian).

Cleopatra Ascending is a fast paced paranormal mystery that will satisfy most readers. Rhea is destined to either destroy or save the human race. The Octavians want Rhea to read an ancient spell to raise an army of the dead while the Order if Antony want her to read a spell to destroy Cleopatra’s Book of the Dead. Will she be able to do what is right? Will she be able to protect those around her? Although this is the second book in a series, I had no problem jumping into the story. I will most likely go back and read the first book because I like the characters. This is a fun book that was an enjoyable read without a lot of deep thinking needed.
Profile Image for Mlpmom (Book Reviewer).
3,001 reviews369 followers
December 2, 2012
I didn't realize going into this that this was actually the second book in a series, I have no idea how I didn't catch that but, there you have it. Having said that though, I had no issues whatsoever starting this one and catching up to things that happened in the first one. I never felt lost or confused at all and I love that.

In fact, I was pretty much immediately drawn into the story. I love how it started off, with us getting to see the last moments of the Queen's life, her decisions to end her rule and her loyal servants beside her.

I can't say I loved Rhea's character though. I just never warmed up to her and while I loved that she was suppose to be Cleopatra reincarnated, I wish we would have gotten just a little more about Cleopatra. I guess the history freak in my wanted more rich detail and mystery than what was presented.

This wasn't a bad read. In fact I liked the whole family, I just wish the whole thing would have had more background and detail to it, it just seemed to lack some much needed depth to the storyline and characters. It was a quick read and something that I think anyone looking for a fun light read would enjoy.
Profile Image for Veronica.
443 reviews49 followers
November 19, 2014
I really, really loved 'Shadow's Edge'. So when I heard that there was going to be a sequel, well, I couldn't wait! After waiting on my shelves for a couple of years now, I have finally gotten around to reading 'Cleopatra Ascending'. When I first started reading, I really loved the premise and was excited that it was shaping up to be just as awesome as the first book. But, as I got closer and closer to the middle of the book, I became increasingly worried about how Ms. Lipinski was going to be able to wrap up the story in so few pages (''Cleopatra Ascending' is considerably smaller than 'Shadow's Edge' and 'Shadow's Edge' needed every one of its pages to conclude nicely). Unfortunately, as I reached the end of the book, it seemed that MS. Lipinski lost interest in the story. The progression and conclusion of the plot was rushed and not very well thought out. In the end, I was very disappointed with this book. I would read other books in this series though, especially one written about Morgana.
Profile Image for Jess(ToTheMoonAndBackReviews).
339 reviews9 followers
October 19, 2012
I don't think I could even imagine a life with a family as paranormal as the main character's Rhea's. A mother who has spirit guides that constantly tattle on the girls. It would have to be horrid, not to mention knowing all your life that you are the reincarnation of Cleopatra.

This book seemed like it was part of a series but for the most part it is fine being read on it's own. You don't seem to have missed much that the author does not explain along the way.

It did however remind me allot of the movie "The Mummy". After reading it I had the urge to watch it to the point I searched my movie collection to no avail. Battles with the undead, reincarnated lover's, and secret sect's.

The only complaint I have is that there were certain parts in this book that seemed unfinished and/or rushed. Leaving me frustrated and wanting more depth or description.
Profile Image for Senator.
458 reviews3 followers
January 16, 2013
Cleopatra Ascending has a good plot, mystery, and decent writing. For me, however, it lacks a likable main character. Being the reincarnation of a Queen could make any teen girl have an ego that runs the show, but I was hoping for more of a character development for Rhea. Thankfully for readers, there is. As the story progresses readers are enfolded into the mystery and transformation as Rhea comes into her powers. While 'Ascending' is the second book in the series, I had no trouble skipping the first and picking up this one (I actually didn't know this was the second book).

Thank you Flux & NetGalley for providing me with an advanced copy to review.
Profile Image for Michelle.
37 reviews14 followers
October 19, 2012
I found the story line to be a nice change. I ultimately enjoyed the book, but I did find it had some slow points where too much information was given. Personally I felt overwhelmed with all the differences with the sisters and mother. They really didn't seem to help the story line except one sister. I think this story could easily become a series. I believe this would be a nice young adult book for our library collection.
Profile Image for Teresa.
694 reviews
June 19, 2013
2.5 stars.

This was such a slim book. I think everything could have been expanded on a lot. It just felt like it went too fast and not enough in depth.
Profile Image for Katrina Thompson.
75 reviews1 follower
April 9, 2013
I loved this book it had a lot of good twists and turns to it and adventure I loved the romance and how the author took a classic story and and whole new perspective to egyption mythology.
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