Saturday, 28 December 2013

Mishel Reviews: Daughters of the Nile - Stephanie Dray

Mishel Reviews

Series or Stand Alone: Cleopatra’s Daughter, book three
Release Date:  December 2013 
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Pages:  576
My Rating: 5/5 
Source: Received for review from author/publisher
Cover: Thumbs up! It goes very well with the other two books and shows the growth of the main character. I also like that Selene’s daughter is featured on the cover.

Based on the true story of Cleopatra’s daughter…

After years of abuse as the emperor’s captive in Rome, Cleopatra Selene has found a safe harbor. No longer the pitiful orphaned daughter of the despised Egyptian Whore, the twenty year old is now the most powerful queen in the empire, ruling over the kingdom of Mauretania—an exotic land of enchanting possibility where she intends to revive her dynasty.

With her husband, King Juba II and the magic of Isis that is her birthright, Selene brings prosperity and peace to a kingdom thirsty for both. But when Augustus Caesar jealously demands that Selene’s children be given over to him to be fostered in Rome, she’s drawn back into the web of imperial plots and intrigues that she vowed to leave behind.

Determined and resourceful, Selene must shield her loved ones from the emperor’s wrath, all while vying with ruthless rivals like King Herod. Can she find a way to overcome the threat to her marriage, her kingdom, her family, and her faith? Or will she be the last of her line?

Review:
Daughters of the Nile has to be one of THE most satisfying conclusions to a trilogy I have ever read. I closed the book sighing with contentment as I wiped the remaining tears off my face. Yes, folks it was THAT good! I can’t help but write this review with the previous two novels in my head. The overall reading experience was epic in my opinion. I’ll try not to be a fan girl as I review this one but please excuse the moments when my cup runeth’ over. 

Selene has come a long way from the captured prisoner she once was as a child when she first set foot in Rome. She has now lived over two decades, gotten married, become a powerful Queen, had children of her own, and continues to stand up and defy the most powerful man in the empire. One of her biggest desires is to reclaim her rightful place in Egypt and Selene has been fighting non-stop for it. However, when her ambitions become close enough to taste and grab with two hands she hesitates. Although she’s lost so much for her dreams already, can she risk losing her new family, her fragile relationship with her husband, her beloved kingdom, or the new life she has come to embrace? Selene must choose between her past and her future, as she has always had to do, and risk losing it all.

Again, I must comment on how much I love the characters in these books. I’m pleasantly surprised to report that none have been stagnant. Each person has had ample time to develop and not once did I feel overwhelmed by any of their stories. Everyone had their share of high, happy times, and low, heartbreaking times. It was amazing to see everyone treated as if this was their story to tell, not just Selene’s. 

Coming in under 600 pages I hardly noticed the heaviness of them. I couldn’t believe how the words were flying off the pages and how I still wanted more after I finished. I have to say that the emotional peaks and low points were so numerous that I was shocked. After each critical, climactic point I felt that the story was probably ending soon and things couldn’t possibly get worse and there was no way there could be more to read in the remaining pages. It has been an emotional journey, through this book especially, that has made the entire trilogy a favorite of mine. I adore this author’s writing and I know I will be revisiting Selene again in the future.

I suppose I can’t give all props to Stephanie for putting my emotional investment to the test time and time again. I suppose I should thank history itself and all the players involved. While Stephanie may have been expanding on true events she did so with a beautiful style and with not too much to go on if you think about it. Although I’m sure her extensive research was time-consuming and exhausting there isn’t much known about Queen Cleopatra Selene, before she was Queen of Mauretania or after. And in each of the Author’s Note provided I felt Stephanie was fair in explaining all, or most, of her reasons for writing the story the way she did with the information she had at hand. Basically this small rant is to give the author her deserved props for surrounding real people from the past in a beautifully brutal world that I quite frankly hated to leave. I highly, highly recommend this book and the entire trilogy as a whole. You may of course read this as a standalone but the true enjoyment and experience will come when read them all, in order and hopefully back to back. 


15 comments:

  1. Thank you Mishel :)

    Though I do wonder why her kid is blonde?

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    1. Kind of a spoiler...just know her husband Juba's hair is dark as well and I doubt either Juba or Selene had the recessive gene for blonde hair lol.

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    2. Ohhh. Cos I was all ok Juba is black isn't he, he sure is not blonde. She sure does not look blonde either

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  2. I've read one of her books. This sounds equally good and I do so like that even as a stand alone it is equally riveting.

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    1. If you've enjoyed one of her other books I know you'll like this one too Mystica!

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  3. oh it's wonderful to have an end like that! I'm curious! I think I'll have to check book 1 out

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  4. Glad you enjoyed the conclusion to this trilogy. I have been wanting to read these books.

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    Replies
    1. I hope you do Naida, I think you'll love them all.

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  5. I need to read this too. Sighs. So many books, so little time.

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  6. Lovely review, I was gifted this but hadn't read the first two books and sent it to a blogger friend who had. Hmm, I may need to pick these up as it sounds wonderful!

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    1. I think you'd love this Kimba, and even though you could have read this as a standalone I think you get the best impact if you've read the other two first.

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  7. I have this, the publisher sent me a copy and i was thinking of reading it as a stand-alone because it sounded like the books are cut cleverly. But from your review, I think I will instead read the entire series. I love stories like this, good mix of fact and fiction

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    Replies
    1. It's a great mix and I think you'll enjoy it so much better if you read the entire series.

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