2897258And side note:  this is my 200th post!  Woot!

So after reading Spartacus: Morituri earlier in the week, I really had a hankering for more Roman fare in my reading repertoire.  But alas, a thorough search through my mountain of books lead me to discover that Rome was no where to be found.  Normally this would not be a problem if I were allowed to go out and buy more books because I do have my eye on a few titles that would have suited my needs perfectly, but friends and family alike have threatened me with bonfires if I buy anything not related to any series I am already collecting.

So I had to settle for an Egyptian story (hey, at least it’s still historical) and I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran.

I had read Nefertiti, the prequel to this book by the same author, and while it was good in the end, I found myself struggling with it to finish the damned thing.  So needless to say I was rather hesitant to give this one a try.  But boy am I glad I did.

In Nefertiti we are introduced to the self-same queen who is one of the more (in)famous Pharaoh Queens of ancient Egypt since she and her bat shit crazy (and most likely more inbred than was healthy) husband Akenaten supposedly turned their people from the worship of their multiple god pantheon to serve one called Aten.  A practice that ultimately lead to their destruction and the attept to wipe their names from eternity.  Which for Egyptians is a really big deal.  Her story is told mostly from the viewpoint of her sister Mutnodjmet, who just so happens to be the mother of our heroine here in Heretic Queen.

Here we meet Nefertari, orphaned princess and niece to the now dead Nefertiti.  Mutnodjmet died giving birth to the little princess, and Nefertari spends the rest of her young life trying to find her place in a world that holds her accountable for the crimes of her family.

And as is the way of things, she falls in love with Prince Ramesses the II, also known as Ramesses the Great, and the entire book is dedicated to her life in the palace as a young girl, as a priestess in training, and as a young wife fighting with her husband’s first wife to be crowned Queen of Egypt.  She even has the fabled meeting with Moses (though he’s called Ahmoses here) and is petitioned to free that Habiru from Egypt which I thought was an interesting twist, considering Ahmoses claimed to be the one who taught Akenaten about worshiping one god and put the seeds of heresy into his strange little mind.

Fast paced, gripping, with mesmerizing characters, the Heretic Queen was a fantastic read.  The only thing I did not like about it was the ending.  It left a little too much undone.  I thought it would have been a chronicle of her life as it is implied in the beginning, but rather it ends once she accomplishes her goal which was rather disappointing.

Ah well.  They can’t all be perfect.  Enjoy folks.

Coming up next: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

10194157Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha…and the secrets of her heart.