Friday, December 16, 2011

"Cleopatra's Daughter" {by Michelle Moran} Book Review

Cleopatra's Daughter

Author: Michelle Moran

# of Pages: 431

Year Published: 2009

Publisher: Random House Crown

Genre: Historical Fiction

Summary: At the dawn of the Roman Empire, when tyranny ruled, a daughter of Egypt and a son of Rome found each other...
Selene's legendary parents are gone. Her country taken, she has been brought to the city of Rome in chains, with only her twin brother, Alexander, to remind her of home and all she once had. 

Living under the watchful eyes of the ruling family, Selene and her brother must quickly learn how to be Roman – and how to be useful to Caesar. She puts her artistry to work, in the hope of staying alive and being allowed to return to Egypt. Before long, however, she is distracted by the young and handsome heir to the empire... 

When the elusive ‘Red Eagle' starts calling for the end of slavery, Selene and Alexander are in grave danger. Will this mysterious figure bring their liberation, or their demise?

Our book club this month was packed! Thanks to a great book, amazing food (let's keep that fondue tradition going!), the yearly (and much awaited) gift exchange, and our little book club boutique - there was barely a seat in the house!

At the beginning of our discussion of Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran, we all gave our star ratings and this book got a 3.5/5 stars.

Sandra began our discussion with a quiz of 15 questions like: What was the name of the amulet worn by the children? (Bulla) Cleopatra's 1st Roman husband? (Julias Caesar) The name of Roman eye shadow? (malachite). Island they all went to in the summer? (Crete). I did terrible on this quiz, but I was surprised at how many new historians we have on our hands. One of the things that was definitely emphasized in our discussion was that this book was historical fiction. The amount of time and research Moran put in the book was amazing.

So what characters did we love? Because the story was retold in her youthful vibrancy, we had to love Selene, Cleopatra's daughter. Some of us were concerned about how mature her voice was written, even at the beginning of the story, but agreed that times were different back then and growing up soon seemed to be the rule (so we give Moran the benefit of the doubt on this concern). The other character that was most loved was, of course, Octavia. She was the emperor Octavian’s kind and compassionate sister, abandoned by Marc Antony for Cleopatra. She had every reason to hate Selene and her brother, but she was their greatest advocate.

We had a short discussion on our connections with the characters because some of us didn't feel like we connected with the characters. One of the reasons we thought this might be the case was because of the vast number of characters. Wow! There were a lot to keep track of and without the character summary at the beginning of the book, many of us would have been lost. The other reason for our lack of connection might have been due to the amount of historical information in the book. I loved the historical aspect of this novel, but I even thought some of the facts thrown in might have overshadowed the characters.

Overall, we enjoyed the ending and many of us were surprised by who was the real hero was in the end - and we were all happy with Selene coming together with Juba - awwwww.

Check out this book trailer for the book (I thought it was kind of funny):

Also, Moran has a website with a good synopsis of her book and information on some of her past and future books. Check it out here!

BTW, now that we all know how EVIL and CONNIVING some of you can be during the gift exchange, I think we will all be upping our game next year!

1 comment :

*Kelly* said...

LOL, I LOVE your reviews Robin, they are always so informative but they also make me laugh with your sweet notes of humor! Thank your for this wonderful review!