Title: Cleopatra's Daughter
Author: Michelle Moran
Summary from Goodreads
Review by Kirthi
Type: Young Adult to Adult
The marriage of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is one of the greatest love stories of all time, a tale of unbridled passion with earth-shaking political consequences. Feared and hunted by the powers in Rome, the lovers choose to die by their own hands as the triumphant armies of Antony’s revengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt. Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome; only two– the ten-year-old twins Selene and Alexander–survive the journey. Delivered to the household of Octavian’s sister, the siblings cling to each other and to the hope that they will return one day to their rightful place on the throne of Egypt. As they come of age, they are buffeted by the personal ambitions of Octavian’s family and court, by the ever-present threat of slave rebellion, and by the longings and desires deep within their own hearts.My thoughts:
The fateful tale of Selene and Alexander is brought brilliantly to life in Cleopatra’s Daughter. Recounted in Selene’s youthful and engaging voice, it introduces a compelling cast of historical characters: Octavia, the emperor Octavian’s kind and compassionate sister, abandoned by Marc Antony for Cleopatra; Livia, Octavian's bitter and jealous wife; Marcellus, Octavian’s handsome, flirtatious nephew and heir apparent; Tiberius, Livia’s sardonic son and Marcellus’s great rival for power; and Juba, Octavian’s watchful aide, whose honored position at court has far-reaching effects on the lives of the young Egyptian royals.
Selene’s narrative is animated by the concerns of a young girl in any time and place–the possibility of finding love, the pull of friendship and family, and the pursuit of her unique interests and talents. While coping with the loss of both her family and her ancestral kingdom, Selene must find a path around the dangers of a foreign land. Her accounts of life in Rome are filled with historical details that vividly capture both the glories and horrors of the times. She dines with the empire’s most illustrious poets and politicians, witnesses the creation of the Pantheon, and navigates the colorful, crowded marketplaces of the city where Roman-style justice is meted out with merciless authority.
I have to say that no one writes historical fiction like Michelle Moran. She's like, my hero when it comes to HF books. I'm a crazy fan of her other two books, Nefertiti and The Heretic Queen (personally, my favorite is The Heretic Queen) She sticks as close as possible to the actual historical facts, and to me, I think her books are the best type of history textbooks! ^_^
Cleopatra's Daughter didn't tie as closely as Nefertiti and The Heretic Queen did, but it still involved Egyptian history!
Oh yeah, and I want to thank Michelle for sending me a signed hardcopy! Now, the review:
Beginning: Right into action, tense and exciting: an ideal start to a promising book!
Middle: Rome always involves so much drama! And boy was there drama (mostly political) It's like being slapped in the face with shock and adventure over and over again (To the point where it leaves a red print in your skin) The pace of the story was even, not too fast and not too slow. Love it!
End: NOOOOOOO!!! Well-written but super tragic and absolutely awful (event-wise) Why? I mean, the death of somone so important and the most unlikely marriage of Selene to ____! The ending was the biggest slap in the face!
(note: It was mentally painful, I'm using "slapping" as a figurative metaphor. No slapping was involved in the reading of this novel. I promise ^_^)
Characters: Hmm....oddly enough there wasn't really that much characterization, which I think is key, yet somehow the story ended up being really good! It must be the historical facts that covered it up...The characters were just there!
Now, Alexander Helios (don't you love that name? So grand, rolls of your tongue like a cloud) was the image of a perfect brother! It makes me wish I had a twin brother! He was kind, loving, understanding and *always there for Selene* (really?!)
Overall: Michelle Moran paints a beautifully, colourfully, rich ancient world using ink and paper. Cleopatra's Daughter took me away into the past like a time-machine!
Conclusion: Must-read! Seriously, in case you haven't noticed, this novel is uh-mazing!