Monday, August 29, 2011

The Heretic Queen

I finished yet another book and am finally ready to get back on the review wagon. For my first review after such a long sojourn in me-land, I chose to write about The Heretic Queen, by Michelle Moran. Although I have read many an historical fiction novel, this one led me down a different path. I usually stick with Elizabethan era fiction, mostly covering the lives of the royals themselves, or little known characters that may have had a huge impact on history, if you have a vivid imagination. Reading about Ancient Egyptian royalty, although something I studied at a young age with a precocious mind and an unexplainable interest in ancient religions, was new to me.

This novel covers the story of Nefertari, Nefertiti's niece, after Nefertiti and her heretic husband have died. Basically, due to her ahku, or ancestry and family, the niece is considered to be a heretic princess. When her best friend is crowned ruler of upper-Egypt, she finds herself in an awkward position. As a pawn in the hands of a priestess, who wants nothing more than to get Nefertari named Chief Wife of the pharaoh, she is forced to play Senet with another girl, who is being used by another high priestess, the sister of Nefertari's priestess. Power games ensue.

I have to say, I was disappointed. Although the book went into great detail about many things in the everyday life of a royal - the temples, the royal family tree, even what they wore and the make-up they used- it left me feeling as though I were merely glimpsing the surface of the characters, which were stagnant and shallow, two things you try to avoid in any situation. Since I couldn't really get a great connection with the characters, I didn't feel the joys and sorrows I would have felt had this novel been written with a much deeper story line. Thus I finished the novel without any feeling one way or another, whereas when a book is good you feel sad that the experience is over, and when a book is bad, slamming the cover down on all of those words is mighty satisfying.

Oh well, on to the next!