Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray

Details: paperback, 368 pgs.
Published: Jan. 4rth, 2011 by Berkley Trade 
isbn: 0425238555 (ISBN13: 9780425238554)
Reading Level: Perfect for Young adult and adults

Received from: Berkley for review
Heiress of one empire and prisoner of another, it is up to the daughter of Cleopatra to save her brothers and reclaim what is rightfully hers…

To Isis worshippers, Princess Selene and her twin brother Helios embody the divine celestial pair who will bring about a Golden Age. But when Selene’s parents are vanquished by Rome, her auspicious birth becomes a curse. Trapped in an empire that reviles her heritage and suspects her faith, the young messianic princess struggles for survival in a Roman court of intrigue. She can’t hide the hieroglyphics that carve themselves into her hands, nor can she stop the emperor from using her powers for his own ends. But faced with a new and ruthless Caesar who is obsessed with having a Cleopatra of his very own, Selene is determined to resurrect her mother’s dreams. Can she succeed where her mother failed? And what will it cost her in a political game where the only rule is win-or die?

My Thoughts:

This book was really good.  The story was good, the characters were good, the writing was good, the history was fascinating… I think you get the point.  So let me go into detail a bit more.
I love historical fiction books but I tend to not pick them up as fast because they are heavy reading.  With all my interruptions with kids I find it’s more difficult to follow the story.  Not this one!  This book was easy to fly through and easy to follow.  There were a lot of side characters and historical figures mentioned, but I never found myself getting confused at all.  I think maybe I did have a bit of a hard time with all the children, keeping them straight as to who was who’s child since there were a lot of half siblings, but it was never really a big issue for me.   This sort of felt like a mix of adult and young adult.  Although the character were young adult I think the history made it feel more adult?  I’m not sure, but I thought it was a perfect mixture while still being appropriate for young adult readers.
The author threw magic realism into the story and it was great!  It felt perfect and added to the story quite a lot.  I think those that are less anxious to read historical fiction will enjoy this one because of how it was done.
I really liked Selene.  She felt real to me.  She had her faults and her weaknesses but she was smart and she watched everyone around her to try to shape things not only to her own advantage, but the advantage of Isiac worshipers, Egyptians and her family.  She was quite clever even though no one seemed to see it at first- including herself.
The other characters were brilliant as well.  All of the children each had their own personalities, though not all were very important or portrayed much in the story.  The brothers to Selene were very real and I really could connect with them and understand their thoughts and reasoning’s.  I found Augustus was brilliantly done by the author.  His thoughts, motivations and life were so clear.  I could see and understand his personality perfectly. Stephanie really was brilliant in her character development.
The history was laid out quite well also.  We got the pieces we needed for the story with the bits of back info as needed, but were never inundated with information that just went over our heads.  I found myself so interested in what I did learn that I’m anxious to find many more books about this time period, culture and family.  I have a couple books that I’ve put off reading that I’m anxious to read now, so this book has definitely inspired me.
I am very excited for the next book, Song of the Nile!
I give this one 5/5 moons.

You can find Stephanie Dray on her website

To learn about the Cleopatra Literary Award where you could win a new ereader or $100 as well as other prizes go here.

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Disclosure: I received this book for review purposes.  I was not paid or influenced in any way.  All opinions expressed are my own.
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  1. This sounds super interesting and this is coming from someone who doesn’t really enjoy historical fiction. I’m interested in the characters and magic realism you mentioned. Looking forward to this one now, thanks!

  2. This is one I’m really excited to read! I love books with elements of magical realism, & I’ve always been fascinated with Egypt!

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