Title: Cleopatra's Daughter
Genre: Historical Fiction
First Published: 2009
Where I Got It: My shelf (Birthday gift
The marriage of Marc Antony and Cleopatra is one of the greatest love stories of all time, a tale of unbridled passion with earth-shaking political consequences. Feared and hunted by the powers in Rome, the lovers choose to die by their own hands as the triumphant armies of Antony’s revengeful rival, Octavian, sweep into Egypt. Their three orphaned children are taken in chains to Rome; only two– the ten-year-old twins Selene and Alexander–survive the journey. Delivered to the household of Octavian’s sister, the siblings cling to each other and to the hope that they will return one day to their rightful place on the throne of Egypt. As they come of age, they are buffeted by the personal ambitions of Octavian’s family and court, by the ever-present threat of slave rebellion, and by the longings and desires deep within their own hearts.
Honestly, Michelle Moran has become one of my favorite historical fiction writers throughout the last few years. She is an amazing writer and she has such a powerful voice. She brings not only the characters to life, but the world around them to life as well. This is one of her older novels, but I've been dying to read it. Lucky me and someone got this for me for my birthday this year.
Now, the story follows the journey of Selene and her twin Alexander. They had a little brother, but he did not survive the journey to Rome which made me really upset. The two are Cleopatra's children with Marc Anthony (we all know the story with those two). Now, Rome has conquered Egypt and the twins are taken hostage back to Rome. They are forced to be part of Octavian's household. Which...I never understood WHY he did this. Was it guilt because they are kids and he didn't want to be known as a kid-killer? Would it be easier to turn them to his side and marry them off? IDK - that is too work for me honestly.
Selene and Alexander are 12, but they seemed so much older! I guess it makes sense, because they witnessed such horrible, horrible things at the beginning. I'm glad the author constantly reminded the reader that they are so young and so mature in many aspects now.
Well, this was a tough journey for me. The beginning was great and had me hooked. The ending was amazing and I had to read like a madwoman, because I wanted to know how it was all going to end. Now...the middle was rough. It was extremely slow for me. Nothing really happening. Just SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOW. It took me forever to get through the middle, because I felt nothing. I was annoyed with everyone including Selene. Once the tension started building I was back into the story, but it took forever.
Also, I hated the vast majority of the characters. I've read a couple other books about Selene and I had found that I either pitied, understood, or liked. There were only a few I hated. But in this one I hated many of them. Selene was okay, but very childish in many of her decisions. Alexander seemed to conform really quick and that annoyed me. Juba was SUCH a butt! Why? Normally I really love him, but in this he was SO overly nasty to Selene. Even near the end, I was annoyed with him. Julia was an air-headed moron. Marcellus was too flirtatious, but I did like him overall. Octivia was nice. Oddly, I feel like Octavian was around enough to understand him. Tiberius and Livia were of course the "baddies" of the book like always. Livia, especially, is a special kind of snot! The rest of the people I didn't really care about.
Overall, this was okay. I really felt the middle was super slow and it really did take me forever to get through it. Also, I didn't feel as connected to some of the characters as I wanted to be. Total bummer, because I do really like Selene. The rest of the book was addicting! I had to know what was going to happen next! I do recommend this to lovers of history. Out of five stars, I stamp this with 3.