Publisher: Berkley Trade
Publish Date: October 4, 2011
Paperback, 464 pages
Fiction, Historical, Young Adult
Fiction, Historical, Young Adult
My thoughts: After reading an earlier book about Cleopatra Selene, I have been fascinated by her life so when I was asked to review Song of the Nile by Stephanie Dray, I was thrilled.
Song of the Nile is actually the second book in the Cleopatra's Daughter series by Stephanie Dray. The first book is Lily of the Nile, which I also have, but have not had a chance to read yet. I do want to read it, but I think Song of the Nile stands on it's own just fine. Song of the Nile picks up Cleopatra Selene's story on her wedding day when she's 14 years old. Yes 14. At times I had to remind myself that she is that young and at times she very much acts her age and then I had to remind myself again that she is young, not in her 20s as we often think of married women. Of course all is not simple for Selene, nor does she make it simple. There is political intrigue throughout the book. She is always thinking, always plotting and always trying to get ahead. But not in a ruthless, hurt others at all cost way. Selene is actually very caring and she comes to care for those in her new country more than she ever thought she would.
I really enjoyed watching the development of Selene through this book. It's written through her eyes, but you can see the development through the ways others interact with her as well. I liked how she began to assert herself but she watched others enough to know how to do things right. She still made mistakes from time-to-time, but she spent a lot of time just watching when she was younger to see how to rule others and you can tell she really learned from it. Selene has many layers. There is the political layer, the Queen. The religious layer, or the one that worships and is a conduit to Isis. I found the sorceress in her to be a fascinating storyline to watch develop. There is also the Mother, which she tries hard to do right because she feels like she never had a childhood. I love that she's multifaceted and feel that Ms. Dray did a wonderful job with characterization of Selene along with the other characters in the book.
After the characterization comes the plot. The plot was a major driving force and kept me enraptured through the entire book. I kept wondering what intrigue would happen next. What would the emperor want? Would Selene see Helios? Would she and Juba become close? What would happen in their kingdom of Mauretania? There was so much going on in the book but not too much that made it confusing, it was just enough to keep the plot moving at a great pace.
With great characterization and a fast-moving plot, Song of the Nile is a great read. Between the political intrigues of Rome to the personal intrigues between the characters, there is enough to keep you guessing in Song of the Nile and have you eagerly anticipating the next installment, as I am.
My Rating: 4.75/5.0
About the Book:
Sorceress. Seductress. Schemer. Cleopatra’s daughter has become the emperor’s most unlikely apprentice and the one woman who can destroy his empire…Having survived her perilous childhood as a royal captive of Rome, Selene pledged her loyalty to Augustus and swore she would become his very own Cleopatra. Now the young queen faces an uncertain destiny in a foreign land.
Forced to marry a man of the emperor’s choosing, Selene will not allow her new husband to rule in her name. She quickly establishes herself as a capable leader in her own right and as a religious icon. Beginning the hard work of building a new nation, she wins the love of her new subjects and makes herself vital to Rome by bringing forth bountiful harvests.
But it’s the magic of Isis flowing through her veins that makes her indispensable to the emperor. Against a backdrop of imperial politics and religious persecution, Cleopatra’s daughter beguiles her way to the very precipice of power. She has never forgotten her birthright, but will the price of her mother’s throne be more than she’s willing to pay?
About the Author:
Stephanie Dray uses the stories of women in history to inspire the young women of today and remains fascinated by all things ancient. She has collected a houseful of cats and Egyptian artifacts, and lives in Owings Mills, Maryland.
Stephanie Dray is offering one lucky reader a copy of Song of the Nile. Giveaway is open to US/Canada only and the giveaway copy will be coming from Ms. Dray. The giveaway will end 9/25 and I will draw the winner 9/26. Fill out the form below. You must enter your email address (for contact purposes only) and Ms. Dray has requested that join her newsletter, Twitter, or Facebook page. Thanks and good luck!