Monday 17 January 2011
Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
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.