Author: Lucy Coats
Publisher: Orchard Books
Source: Hachette Children’s Books on NetGalley (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)
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Buy this book at: Book Depository
Her precious mother is dead – and it isn’t an accident! The young Cleopatra – Pharaoh’s illegitimate daughter – must flee the royal palace at Alexandria or die too. As her evil half-sisters usurp the throne, Cleo finds sanctuary at the sacred temple of Isis, where years later she becomes initiated into the secret Sisters of the Living Knot. But now Isis’s power is failing, Egypt is in danger, and Cleo must prove her loyalty to her goddess by returning to the Alexandria she hates. She must seek out the hidden map which is the key to returning Isis’s power – on pain of death. But will she be able to evade her horrible sisters? And will she find dreamy Khai, the über-hot Librarian boy she met as she fled Alexandria years before? Cleo’s powerful destiny is about to unfold… (Source: Goodreads)
When Cleopatra’s sisters take over the throne of Egypt she must run away from them to save herself and to protect the future of Egypt. She goes to the sacred temple of Isis only to learn that Isis is losing power and Cleo is the only person who can turn that around. She must return to the palace and face her sisters to save herself, Isis, and the whole of Egypt.
I have to be completely honest, I could not stand this book. While I think the basic idea of the story was fun and interesting, I think the book really fell flat. The pace was uneven which meant there was a lot of dragging and then sudden shots forward. I didn’t relate to Cleopatra and found her voice annoying and hard to listen to. I thought the overall quality of the writing was good, but I thought Coats made some mistakes in mixing modern and faux-ancient language together in what turned into something of a mess. I think the biggest mistake of all was that this book is not a standalone but in fact has at least one sequel in the works.
This book is a work of historical fiction, a history which I’m not particularly knowledgeable about. I found the plot interesting but I didn’t have enough background to really understand a lot of what was talked about. There is something of an index in the back to explain all of the terms and individuals mentioned in the book but I didn’t feel it really went into enough detail to really explain the context of the novel within the history that Coats was attempting to re-write in the book. I found the plot also lacking in details, things were assumed or skipped over and then explained too late or hardly explained at all. This was especially bad at the beginning of the book when Coats would skip forward without really explaining what was going on at all.
The pace of the book was such a mess, which only made the story harder to understand. There were long periods of time when nothing happened, and there was very little accomplished as the book neared its conclusion (What conclusion? There wasn’t a conclusion! We’ll get to that though.). When something finally happened the book just suddenly ended. So we have a slow book that suddenly accelerated and then just ended. This book could have continued on, at a good pace for about 5 more chapters and probably would have wrapped up really well. Instead there’s going to be another book which is just going to be another drawn out, ridiculously slow book like this one.
The characters in this book were unrelatable and hard to really care about. There wasn’t really a single character that stood out to me as you don’t really get to know anything about them really. Cleo is the only one you get to know and I could hardly stand to read from her perspective. The book is first person perspective, so that means you’re in Cleo’s whiny little shoes throughout the entire book. Cleo is lazy and whiny. She never keeps focused on the actual goal – getting Isis her power back – and instead seems very focused on getting a boyfriend instead. Her love interest Khai is someone you can hardly trust and barely know and you’re supposed to swoon over him? To the point that you forget the goal? I don’t think so. I just found everything about Cleo annoying.
I have sort of a nitpicky problem with the use of language in this book. There’s a strange mixture of words I would consider a little more modern with these faux-ancient terms like “river-horse” throughout the book which to me was unnecessary and really jarring. I don’t know what exactly is wrong with it, but it felt weird and bad to me.
Overall I was not a fan of Cleo and would not recommend it. I will not read any potential sequels in the future.