Book Review: Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley

A thrilling, chilling reimagining of the story of the most famous woman in history.

Once there was a queen of Egypt…a queen who became through magic something else…

The year is 30 BC. Octavian Caesar and his massed legions are poised to enter Alexandria. A messenger informs Egypt’s queen, Cleopatra, that her beloved Mark Antony has died by his own hand. Desperate to save her kingdom, resurrect her husband and protect all she holds dear, Cleopatra turns to the gods for help. Ignoring the warnings of those around her, she summons Sekhmet, goddess of death and destruction, and strikes a mortal bargain. And not even the wisest of Egypt’s scholars could have predicted what would follow…

For, in return for Antony’s soul, Sekhmet demands something in return: Cleopatra herself. And so Egypt’s queen is possessed. She becomes an immortal, shape-shifting, not-quite-human manifestation of a deity who seeks to destroy the world. Fighting to preserve something of her humanity, Cleopatra pursues Octavian back to Rome: she desires revenge, she yearns for her children…and she craves human blood.

It is a journey that will take her from the tombs of the Pharaohs to the great amphitheatres of imperial Rome and on, to Hell itself where, it seems, the fate of the world will finally be decided.

Blending authentic historical fiction and the darkest of fantasy, Queen of Kings is a spectacular and spellbinding feat of the imagination that fans of Neil Gaiman, Diana Gabaldon, George R.R. Martin, Patricia Briggs, Philippa Gregory, and Ridley Scott’s Gladiator won’t want to miss.

Alright this book has me all conflicted and irate and I may have to go back and read it at a later date when I can separate myself a little bit better. Or maybe the book just was not nearly as good as I had hoped it would be there was so much hope for it. Queen of Kings has all the right stuff, Ancient love story, Ancient battles and Ancient Magic. So why does it flop?

First of all it jumps around to much. WAY to much. You get the story through way to many pairs of eyes and characters and you can simply not feel connected to any of them. Secondly there really is not much of Cleopatra for a book that was supposed to be about her. Then for me the biggest botch of them all was how many times they brought Antony back and then shoved him back into the land of the dead. Antony is by far the historical person I most enjoy, I even call myself a fan girl. It is hard enough to always read of his death the way it is said to have happened. But to endure it several times? It is to much. The first time is when Cleopatra makes her deal with the Lion Goddess of Old for his Soul. Antony is brought back and he lives and begins to heal under her hands, sadly before he can fully recover he is killed again with a sword skewer. I mean really..similar things happen again and again with his shade and such.

I will try this one again maybe next year. For now it is a two star.

My Gemstone Rating:


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