Author: Stephanie Dray
Publication Date: January 4, 2011
Genre: YA Historical Fiction
Copy provided by: Publisher
Summary (via Goodreads):
To Isis worshippers, Princess Selene and her twin brother Helios embody the divine celestial pair who will bring about a Golden Age. But when Selene's parents are vanquished by Rome, her auspicious birth becomes a curse. Trapped in an empire that reviles her heritage and suspects her faith, the young messianic princess struggles for survival in a Roman court of intrigue. She can't hide the hieroglyphics that carve themselves into her hands, nor can she stop the emperor from using her powers for his own ends. But faced with a new and ruthless Caesar who is obsessed with having a Cleopatra of his very own, Selene is determined to resurrect her mother's dreams. Can she succeed where her mother failed? And what will it cost her in a political game where the only rule is win-or die?
Why I read this: As of late, I haven't been reading a lot of historical fiction in general and this era really peaks my interest, so I had to check it out. Also, it's a debut novel!
Plot: This breathtaking novel follows the daughter of Cleopatra as her and her brothers are brought into Caesar's home after Cleopatra takes her own life. Selene and her brother Helios are viewed by Isis worshipers to be the pair that will bring about a Golden Age. When Selene's body suddenly becomes engraved with bleeding hieroglyphics on her arms, she knows that she cannot deny that the goddess Isis is speaking through her - or can she? Selene is torn between trying to preserve the lives of her and her brothers as they adjust to Roman life and between her religion and beliefs. Filled with magic, mythology and such a colorful historical experience that I finished the book wanting more. Luckily, there is to be a sequel to this rich and wonderful novel.
Characters: Selene is a strong and smart young woman who realizes she cannot act like her twin Helios - who brays at the idea of becoming Roman, even if it may save his life. Selene must try to convince Caesar that she can be of use to him in a way that will benefit them both and possibly lead her and her brothers one day back to Egypt. She is still a girl in that she falls in love easily, but truth and wisdom keep her out of trouble. I really enjoyed watching her character grow and I cannot wait to learn more of her journeys and adventures in the next novel.
Relatability: I think lovers of Egyptian mythology and historical fiction will fall in love with this novel. I'm no historian, but Stephanie paints a world so real that she must have done quite a bit of research to make it seem so real.
Cover Commentary: Lovely, definitely one that will appeal to historical fiction lovers.
Rating: 5/5 Roses
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