Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Review: Song of the Nile by Stephanie Dray

Publish Date: October 2011
Format: Paperback 416pp

Synopsis (From the Publisher):
"Sorceress. Seductress. Schemer. Cleopatra’s daughter has become the emperor’s most unlikely apprentice and the one woman who can destroy his empire... 
Having survived her perilous childhood as a royal captive of Rome, Selene pledged her loyalty to Augustus and swore she would become his very own Cleopatra. Now the young queen faces an uncertain destiny in a foreign land. 
Forced to marry a man of the emperor’s choosing, Selene will not allow her new husband to rule in her name. She quickly establishes herself as a capable leader in her own right and as a religious icon. Beginning the hard work of building a new nation, she wins the love of her new subjects and makes herself vital to Rome by bringing forth bountiful harvests. 
But it’s the magic of Isis flowing through her veins that makes her indispensable to the emperor. Against a backdrop of imperial politics and religious persecution, Cleopatra’s daughter beguiles her way to the very precipice of power. She has never forgotten her birthright, but will the price of her mother’s throne be more than she’s willing to pay?"

My Review:

Once again Stephanie Dray has created a novel of fast paced intrigue, gripping plot twists, and intense emotion. Picking up where Liliy of the Nile left off (my review), Song of the Nile tells the story of Cleopatra Selene's life as the new queen of  Mauretania and her ongoing pursuit for the throne of Egypt. Throughout the novel we witness the transformation of Cleopatra Selene from a young and vulnerable girl into a woman of strength and cunning spirit. Embracing her power as the daughter of Isis, she learns to wield her magic for the good of Mauretania and ultimately in attempt to show Cesar, the Emperor, her ability to rule a prosperous nation. But Cesar desires more from Cleopatra Selene than just proof of being a dutiful client queen, he will test her loyalty in every way, even the unimaginable.

After being mesmerized by Lily of the Nile earlier in the year, I have been eagerly awaiting the release of the second installment in the trilogy on Cleopatra Selene's life... it was well worth the wait! The characters were well developed and the scenery was vivid. I loved the tedious drama played out by the Emperor and Cleopatra Selene, and I often found myself liking the Emperor despite his monstrous ways. Maybe that comes from a desire to find a bit of good in everyone, but Stephanie's complex portrayal of him was definitely the key ingredient. Since this novel greatly builds upon the conflicts created in the beginning of Cleopatra Selene's life I would definitely recommend reading Lily of the Nile first... though you should read it anyway since it's fabulous! 

Gracefully combining historical fiction with historical fantasy, Song of the Nile is a book that will fulfill your reading desires with every page. 

Be sure to come back later this week for an interview with the lovely Stephanie Dray!

Copyright © 2011 Svea Love. All Rights Reserved.


Blodeuedd said...

Good to see the 2nd book is as good as the first :)

Carole Rae said...

I still need to read the first, but its next on my list! I'm glad you enjoyed this one, it sounds so good.

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

It wasn't for me, but I'm really glad you ended up liking it!

Svea Love said...

Blodeuedd- Yes! It was obvious from the very first chapter!

Carole Rae- You will absolutely love them, Carole! Christmas wish list maybe? ;)

Svea Love said...

Carrie- I remember reading your review of this one... sorry you did not enjoy it. Have you read Lily of the Nile? It was a bit tamer on the relationship between Helios and Selene.

Kathy Habel said...

I have the first book and need to get started reading it.

Audra said...

Great review -- I'm with you on the nuanced way Dray created the characters -- honestly, I think I had moments of sympathy for just about everyone (save Livia. Hate her.). Another series that has me impatient for the third book!

Anna said...

I'm about halfway through this book and am enjoying it so far. You're right about the characters, Octavian in particular, being complex. I know once I finish this one I'll be anxiously awaiting part 3!

Darlene said...

Hi Svea, sorry it's been ages since I've been by your blog. I can see it on my iPad now which is great!

I'm just reading this and it's so good. I really enjoyed the first book as well. I love the way Stephanie Dray tells the story of Selene.

Teddyree said...

I loved this one, couldn't put it down and I wish we didnt have to wait for the final installment. So glad to see you felt much the same way! My review will be up tonight :)