Friday, June 15, 2018

Review: Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray

Title: Lily of the Nile
Author: Stephanie Dray
Series: Cleopatra's Daughter #1
Publication: January 4th 2011 by Berkley

Genre: Historical Fiction
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Google Play | Kobo
Rating: 4/5
 

The extraordinary daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony seeks to reclaim her birthright in the first novel of an epic historical fiction trilogy from the New York Times bestselling author of America's First Daughter.

With both of her parents dead, Princess Selene and her two surviving brothers are left at the mercy of their captors, taken from Egypt and put on display as war trophies in Rome. Trapped in an empire that reviles her heritage and suspects her faith, Selene struggles for survival in a 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.

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 and succeed where she failed. But there’s no telling what success will cost her in a treacherous political game where the only rule is win or die...

I've read several stories by Stephanie Dray but I hadn't actually picked up her debut novel, Lily of the Nile. I had some minor doubt about a story because a story about the daughter of Cleopatra is one I've read before and I was worried it would be too similar but I worried for nothing because it was actually really amazing. I ended up being instantly hooked by the story and I want the read the other books in the trilogy as soon as possible.

It's actually a little strange that I waited so long with purchasing this book because I adore anything related to ancient Egypt. Most of the book is set in Rome but it is about the daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Antony who's named Cleopatra Selene, so it did manage to sate my desire to read anything about the time it's set in.

The story starts in Egypt when Cleopatra famously commited suicide by snake bite. After that Selene, her twin brother Helios and younger brother Philadelphus are taken to Rome to be raised in Emperor Octavian's household. For the most part Selene struggled with coming to terms with being in Rome after losing her parents the way she did and taken away from her beloved Egypt, not wanting to lose her connection to her country and the goddess Isis. She eventually makes friends with the other children in the household and there's even a hint of romance forming with her tutor Juba. Hopefully there's a little more of that in the second book. 

One thing I definitely hadn't expected and what was maybe my favorite thing was the magical aspect that the story and Selene had because of her connection to Isis. It mixed historical fiction with magic and myth. I loved every single part of it. I also loved how complicated most of the characters and their the relationships were. Especially the relationship between Octavian and Selene. There were hidden depths within everyone. 

Overall, Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray was as fantastic as I thought it would be. The writing took me back to the fascinating time and political intrigue of ancient Rome. I would highly recommend it.

Author bio:
Stephanie Dray is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal & USA Today bestselling author of historical women’s fiction. Her award-winning work has been translated into eight languages and tops lists for the most anticipated reads of the year. Before she became a novelist, she was a lawyer and a teacher. Now she lives near the nation’s capital with her husband, cats, and history books.
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16 comments:

  1. I don't read enough stories about ancient Egypt! I like ancient Rome, too, so that part of the book doesn't bother me. The addition of magic is really interesting, too!

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    1. It sounds weird but I don't read enough stories about it either. I don't own that many and I'm particular about which ones I pick up so I'm glad this was such a hit for me!

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  2. I've heard great things about Stephanie Dray's books! I've not read any thought. This historical fiction novel sounds AWESOME. And I love that cover. I'm glad you enjoyed the story, Stephanie!

    Have a wonderful weekend. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

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  3. The addition of magic was a surprise to this blurb, but a welcome one, I think. Great Review Steph!

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    1. Yes. I was thinking it to be mainly historical but then actual magic was added. But then again the ancient world was so mysterious, you never know.

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  4. This sounds rally good! I love ancient Egypt, too, it's such a mysterious period!
    Great review Stephanie :)
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. Yes! We know so little about ancient Egypt, really.

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  5. The setting and the fact that it starts off with Cleopatra's story is really intriguing to me. I am not sure that I have ever read a book set in ancient Egypt, and this one sounds amazing. I am glad that you loved it so much.:)

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    1. It really set the atmosphere for the rest of the book.

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  6. Hehe, I was SO waiting for you to review this book, Stephanie! I added it to my list the moment you shared it, but now I know I'll have to try it for sure ;) Truly happy you loved it!

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  7. I'm gonna be honest, the cover just by itself makes me want it haha

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  8. I love that this is set in Egypt. Makes it so intriguing. This is a little secret --- way back, when I was young, I tried to write a love story set in Egypt (don't tell anyone). Of course I can not write so it was awful but still I like to read about it. Glad you liked it and great review! I have it on my must read list!

    Mary

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  9. Can I ask on the scale of 1 to 10 (10 is very accurate, 1 is not), how historically accurate is the book? I understand that this being a book definitely cannot be exactly the same, but I don't know what to feel if it's...too off, you know? But otherwise this book really does seem very interesting.

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  10. I remember seeing how excited you were for this one on your instagram stories, so I am glad it didn't disappoint you. It's always brilliant to read more books by an author you already love, especially if it's in the historical time period you enjoy too. It sounds like the magical touch was just perfect for it. ;)

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