Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cleopatra's Daughter

Title: Cleopatra's Daughter
Author: Michelle Moran
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Publication Date: September 15, 2009
Rating: 3 1/2 Stars
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.

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. (Goodreads)

I really enjoyed reading this book, right from the first chapter I felt that it would be good and that does not happen to me often. There was so much historical detail and everything was described and explained, I felt like I had walked into Ancient Rome. Another great thing about this book is that the author did not shy away from the horrible and gruesome things that happened, that is one of the reasons this book felt so real. It also showed both the good and bad on each side. Even though the main character was Egyptian she did acknowledge that slaves were not treated any better in Egypt, she just had a different perspective now that she was in the power of an enemy in Rome. Likewise, Octavian was not always villainized, he did save some slaves from severe punishment for reason's only he knows.
The main storyline in Cleopatra's Daughter is supposed to be about The Red Eagle. That's where the mystery and excitement is supposed to come from but in my opinion it fell kind of flat. I'll be honest, the book is mainly just about day to day life for Selene and Alexander in Ancient Rome. Sometimes that did make it a little dull, I was hoping for more of a storyline but it was still an enjoyable and interesting read. The reason I read historical fiction is not only to be transported in time but also to learn. History is so exciting and interesting and there's so much of it that I don't know. Historical fictions are a way for me to learn without being bored to tears. I will definitely be checking out some of Michelle Moran's other books.

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