Monday 17 January 2011

Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran

This book was almost an accidental reading because I was really on the hunt for Michelle Moran's Nefertiti.  However, Cleopatra's Daughter was the only Moran my library had and I had heard enough good things about the author to go with one of her other books.

Synopsis: After the victory of Octavian/Augustus and the defeat of her parents Antony and Queen Cleopatra, Selene and her twin brother Alexander are taken to live in Rome.  Although things seem welcoming at first Selene must struggle to make herself useful to Augustus and avoid being seen as expendable.

Score: 3.5 out of 5.

I really wanted to love this book for what it was - a light, easy going piece of historical fiction.  But I just couldn't love it.  I enjoyed it and found it hard to put down but it was missing that something special for me.  Part of it could be my own personal bias in that I don't find Rome as interesting as Egypt or Greece.  But really it just felt like the book lacked a bit in depth of emotion, especially in the earlier sections.  Selene's parents have been killed and she is living with the sister of the man who did it (the man who could choose to murder her at any time) but she doesn't seem negatively affected.  She goes to school and worries about boys.  Moran does make up for this in the later sections, but the beginning felt too fluffy.

I picked this up from the adult section, but in fact it would probably be much better marketed towards young adults.  At the age of 15 or 16, I geniunely would have loved the coming of age sections of the book and the descriptions of school life.  The light writing style felt more suited towards YA too.

However, I did enjoy Moran's writing.  She has a talent for describing whole cities and ancient worlds with very few words - I felt like I could smell, touch and taste Rome as I was reading the book.  The plot was developed at a nice pace in which it was hard to put down the book but things didn't feel rushed.

I think that even though this Moran was probably not for me, I'll definitely hunt out and read Nefertiti.


  1. Oh, I absolutely adore Rome. I especially love reading historical fiction set around Rome. :) Extensive description is a definite plus. I think I might have to pick this one up, just to try it. :) And I'll definitely be looking out for your Nefertiti review! :)

  2. Not sure why, but I've been hesitant about this one... will keep Nefertiti on my list though.

  3. Nice review...I totally understand the bit about enjoying a book but still feeling that something is missing... It happens greatly with historical fiction because it's difficult to maintain the pace without boring the reader with history and at the same time sound convincing!

  4. I'm laughing as I read this post because just today I was reading a book that seemed so horrible, I had to change my 5-star rating system to include a "no stars" rating. I absolutely HATE writing negative reviews. Honestly. At least you got through "Cleopatra's Daughter" without feeling emotionally damaged. Right?

    What floored me about the book I blogged about was how a "New York Times Best Selling Author" could write sentences and paragraphs that were so discombobulated they were terribly confusing and some of them even sounded like someone was merely talking nonsense in his or her sleep. (I hardly had to write the post at all. I just kept quoting the book and laughing at how bizarre it sounded).

    I look forward to reading about your next book. Better luck next time (for both of us)!

    ~ Tami

  5. I read Nerfertiti by Michelle Morgan a while ago. I can't remember the exact details but I did enjoy it - although not enough to search out more books by Morgan. Been a while since I read any historical books though...I need to add some to my must read soon pile!

  6. I'm with you. I personally find Egypt more interesting than Rome. This book, however, sounds very interesting. I've heard a lot of good things about Moran, so I should definitely look her up soon. :)

  7. I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this because it does sound intriguing.

  8. I have often had that feeling with a book, that I like it, but something is lacking that I can't quite put my finger on. For me, those are hard to review, the ones in the middle of the rating system.