Saturday, July 2, 2011
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers/Paula Wiseman Books, 2011
YA; Historical Fiction
Source: Received an uncorrected galley via Simon & Schuster's GalleyGrab program in exchange for an honest review.
I'm not a big Egyptian fan but I loved Carolyn Meyer's Tudor historical fiction novels so I thought I'd give this a try. I really don't know much Egyptian history other than Cleopatra and her relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, which are among the few verified facts about her life, as shared in the author's note.
I had some annoyances with young Cleopatra, who was kind of dumb and annoying. I mean, intellectually, she's a smart girl with command of multiple languages and to the delight of her tutor. But she makes the same stupid mistake twice in regards to her scheming older sisters, thereby jeopardizing her safety. Furthermore she didn't seem to have much of a grasp on how people work, which just made me want to shake her.
But the characters who supported her were fascinating: her tutor Demetrius, her dancer friend Charmion, and captain Mshai were sympathetic characters who I enjoyed reading about. The political situation was also interesting; as I mentioned, I don't really know Egyptian history so the reign of her two older sisters completely surprised me. I also learned more about the Egyptian economy. I had assumed that it was strong and rich but there are frequent famines and money troubles that belie that assumption.
Overall: A nice look at Cleopatra, elaborating on the little we know about her. Does not cover her entire romantic relationships but goes from age 11 to 21 as well as mention of her death.
Cover: I actually find this cover pretty creepy and not very appealing; however I knew that I had enjoyed Meyer previously so I chose to read this.