Monday, June 6, 2011

Cleopatra Confesses by Carolyn Meyer

Pub date - June 7, 2011.

It is the first century B.C. Cleopatra, the third of the pharaoh's six children, is the one that her father has chosen to be the next queen of Egypt. But when King Ptolemy is forced into exile, Cleopatra is left alone to fend for herself in a palace rife with intrigue and murder. Smart, courageous, ambitious and sensuously beautiful, she possesses the charm to cause two of history's most famous leaders to fall in love with her. But as her cruel sisters plot to steal the throne, Cleopatra realizes there is only one person on whom she can rely--herself. (

I chose this galley because I have a pretty deep love for all things Egypt, Cleopatra and Roman. So by default, the chances of me loving this book regardless of anything were pretty high. And I did like it. But if I didn't have all of that history love going for me from the beginning I probably wouldn't have.

It was written compellingly enough but throughout the entire book I couldn't help but feeling a step removed from Cleopatra. I felt like the story was being told from a distance, that the author didn't want to delve too deeply into Cleopatra's feelings because her true feelings weren't known. I think that hindered the story.

Her voice didn't carry much excitement or anticipation or worry or much of anything. A lot of the time I felt like I was just getting relayed information by someone playing Cleopatra. It was kind of annoying at times. A lot of this information I already knew and not all that much was done to spice it up or do much with it beyond the words on the page. It set nice scenery but that seemed to be the strongest portion of writing. Almost as if the author were afraid to delve too deeply into Cleopatra.

It's a good rehash of Cleopatra events that we already know but if you're looking for something more, more sentiment or involvement, you're not going to find it here. It's really just another notch in the Cleopatra belt. Had I not had the love of Egypt I had going in, I probably wouldn't have stuck with the book because, at times, I found it downright boring. I could have read a history text and gotten a similar result.

Read it if you love Egyptian, Cleopatran or Roman history because it'll enrich you in that arena even more. But if you don't, since there isn't much story or emotion to it, you might want to skip it at the risk of getting bored with it. I'm not sure why this was classified with YA. Maybe it has crossover appeal. But between the hoity voice and lack of emotion, I'm not sure how much it's going to appeal to a younger audience.

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