Title: Cleopatra’s Daughter
Author: Michelle Moran
Date Started: June 17
Date Finished: June 21
Format: Hardcover from local library
At the dawn of the Roman Empire, when tyranny ruled, a daughter of Egypt and a son of Rome found each other…Selene’s parents are gone, her country has been taken from her and she has been brought to the city of Rome in chains, with only her twin brother, Alexander, to remind her of home and all she once had. Paraded as captives and brought to live among the ruling family, Selene and her brother attend lessons, learning how to be Roman and where allegiances lie. Devoting herself to her artistic skill and training as an architect, she tries to make herself useful, in hope of staying alive and being allowed to return to Egypt. But before long, she is distracted by the young and handsome heir to the empire. But all is not well in the city and when the elusive ‘Red Eagle’ starts calling for the end of slavery, causing riots and murder, and the Roman army goes to war, Selene and Alexander, the children of Mark Antony, Rome’s lost son and greatest rival, find their lives in grave danger.
So when it comes to historical fiction, I usually tend to stay in the Tudor era, 1920s or even WWII themed books. I decided to veer from my norm and read some Egyptian/Roman themed fiction. When I was a kid I actually loved the story of Cleopatra. Remember that ‘Royal Diaries’ series that was really popular in youth fiction about fifteen year’s ago? I loved those. In fact, that was how I got into Cleopatra’s life in the first place. So when I was browsing Goodreads last year for more books to add to my list – because it isn’t long enough – and this one popped up I was really interested. I’m kind of glad though that I didn’t stick around just for Cleopatra, since she dies within the first fifty pages and her children – Alexander, Selene, and Ptomley – are taken from Alexandria by the new ‘Caesar’ to Rome where they are paraded like spoils of war.
There were a few times that I was going to give up on this book, because although it was rather interesting to read about ancient Rome, the story didn’t really move. It was stagnant with Selene and the other children’s lives as they navigated a very difficult political landscape. The Red Eagle storyline though kept drawing me back in. In fact, trying to figure out who exactly the rebel was drove me absolutely bonkers with each page. Who it turned out to be I wasn’t exactly expecting it, and personally, I feel victimized by characters again. Alexander’s death I wasn’t also expecting and I felt so bad for Selene. She basically lost her whole family in five years. No wonder she took it out on everyone.
Final Rating: 4 out of 5 stars. Okay, for a book that I was tempted on giving up on a few times, I’m glad that I stuck with it. The story is interesting and after the first hundred pages or so the plot really moves. I’m not so sure I cared for Selene’s character when it came to Marcellus and Julia, but she quickly got over that and ended up in the arms of Juba who I didn’t really see as a potential love interest. It just sort of happened? I’m not sure how I feel about that.
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