Monday 21 February 2011

Review: Lily of the Nile - Stephanie Dray

Cleopatra's Daughter 1
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 368
Published: January 2011

Heiress of one empire and prisoner of another, it is up to the daughter of Cleopatra to save her brothers and reclaim what is rightfully hers...

To Isis worshippers, Princess Selene and her twin brother Helios embody the divine celestial pair who will bring about a Golden Age. But when Selene's parents are vanquished by Rome, her auspicious birth becomes a curse. Trapped in an empire that reviles her heritage and suspects her faith, the young messianic princess struggles for survival in a Roman 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. But 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. Can she succeed where her mother failed? And what will it cost her in a political game where the only rule is win-or die?

My thoughts:
This is book one about Princess Selene, but it is a novel that easily can stand on its own. One aspect of her life ends when the book ends, and it's a good solid ending. But she has more to experience, and that will come later.

This is then the story of Selene, daughter of Cleopatra and Marc Anthony. A girl who managed to stay more in the shadows of time than her famous mother. She, her twin Helios, and their younger brother was brought to Rome as prisoners and were taken in by Octavia, sister of Octavian. This time in Rome is what this book is about.

Again I must say that I am pretty appalled by the Romans. A woman had no real worth or say in things. Her only duty was to marry a man, and bear him a son. That's it. She should not speak or have ideas, and if the man said she was unfaithful she suffered while he could marry someone else. It was a man's world. And this is one of the things the novel does well, Selene is from another culture, one where woman has opinions, and it's a clash of cultures.

One thing about the book that makes it less historical fiction is the magic. There truly is magic and Selene is getting messages from the Goddess Isis, carved into her arms. At first I was not sure, about magic but I just had to adjust and think that who knows, maybe there was magic then. That way I could still feel it was historical fiction, and not something else.

And I just have to mention one thing about Octavian, Ceasar, what a self-righteous ass he was.

Recommendation and final thoughts:
It's a shame that Selene is not more known. She is getting her story told now, and that is good. Because it is fascinating and she lived at a thrilling time. The book is an interesting mix of facts, fiction, and fantasy.

Reason for reading:
I wondered about the magic and such.



  1. I read Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran and really fell in love with Selene's story.

    I have Lily of the Nile on my tbr list and I'm definitely looking forward to it.

  2. I'm glad I read your review for this one because I was intrigued based on the cover, alone. I think I'll push this down a wee bit on the TBR pile. Great honest review, Linda :)

  3. Have you heard this thud? It's Lily of the Nile landing on my TBR list. Currently I am reading a book by Michelle Moran (the review coming soon) but I will not forget about this one either! Lovely review!

  4. This sounds very good. I have Nefertiti on my TBR. Great review ;) I'm curious to read Selene's story.

  5. I think I would have to adjust to the magic, too. Glad to see it worked for you.

  6. I read and liked this one and was the second book about Selene that I've read. I know there's another YA book about her releasing this year that I'm also interested in reading.

  7. Oh I love a book that has a touch of magic in it and this one sounds great!

  8. If I recall correctly, the author had wanted the book to be advertised more as a fantasy-historical rather than a straight-up historical b/c of the magic and fantasy element. I'm so excited to read this -- I've got it here and just need to move along some required reads before I get to it -- glad you enjoyed it!

  9. Did the magic just seem to come from nowhere? Curious about this one now. It really does sound interesting. Love your comment about Cesar. I guess the salad had a better personality. ;)

  10. I like that it mixes magic in with it. Thought the way woman are treated is appaling.

  11. I've so wanted to read this! I read Moran's book and wondering if this is as good. Thanks for the review!

  12. sounds like i may have a hard time reading this one as i would most likely get the same reaction with this type of book.

  13. Thanks for this review, this is one I've been really curious about but haven't read many reviews for. I actually like the introduction of magic into the historical element, that's always something that appeals to me. Going to have to add this book to the list!

  14. @Mishel
    I had never even known she existed before reading that book. Fascinating story

    The cover is so good. And I do love covers ;) They really set the tone of the book.

    You're reading Moran, yay, I do hope you will like that book. It's so hard to recommend historical fiction to you :)

    I hope you like that one :) And there are two books about Selene btw

    It took some getting used too, but I just had to loose those, what?? ideas and it worked

  15. @Jenny
    I did not know that. Do you have the name for that YA Selene story? And yes my 2nd Selene story too

    Then this might be the one for you

    Really? Huh, well I like that idea :) Cos as it is now, eh, but under that genre it would work really well. It even made me like the book more, lol

    I would not say out of nowhere. They had known about magic all their lives and seen it too. And now Isis spoke to her and wanted her to be strong.
    What can I say, Roman emperors suck

  16. @Vivienne
    It was truly horrible. And Octavian lectured them about it, he was such an ass. But that was life back then

    Well it is really different. As that one was straight his fic, this is then more historical fantasy :)

    I did adjust, but in a previous comment I heard that she wanted to advertise it in a different way, in another genre. So that works

    It was :)

    I was not sure at first but liked it later, cos truth be told, I always wished there was magic ;)

  17. I am happy to see this review I have been wanting to read this book badly. I haven't read Cleopatra's daughter yet but thats another one I want to read.

    I love anything and everything about Cleopatra.

  18. I'm not much for historical fiction but this sounds good. I'm going to see if I can get it for my Nook.

  19. this one sounds pretty interesting and now you've got me wondering about the magic aspect too!

  20. Love the cover! I'm ashamed to say that I don't know all that much about Cleopatra or her children but once I read Michelle Moran's book Cleopatra's Daughter I may have to give this one a try.

  21. The cover caught my eye and I was wondering if I should pick this book up or not. I think I'll wait awhile now. :)

  22. Sounds like a great magical read. ;) Thanks for the review. I'm really learning about more books I've never heard of before, and loving it! :) Thanks!

  23. Yeah, magic does kinda decrease the historical nature of it... that we know of, at least. ;)

  24. wow. You find the most interesting historical novels. For some odd reason, I find the subject of Cleopatra's daughter fascinating. *shrugs* I can't understand why. But I can't wait to add it to my list. *grins*

  25. I see others have mentioned Michelle Moran's book about Selene, which I enjoyed very much. It was the first time I had heard of her. I think I would probably like this book more as historical fiction without the magic, but you never know.

  26. I really want to read this book. It's high on my wishlist. I haven't read a review for it before this one, so glad you really enjoyed it. :)

  27. Congrats, hon! I have been honoured with the Seven Facts Award, and would dearly love to pass it along to you (courtesy of Bibrary Bookslut).

    If you're not into accepting awards, no worries . . . please take this as an open note of admiration for the work you do. :)

  28. BLH
    Read them both. Cleo's daughter and this one, since they you will get a lot of that era

    I am sure it's available there too :)

    I always wonder about things ;) Too curious lol

    There is nothing to be ashamed about, I only knew she had a son by Caesar. I did not know she had more kids

  29. Ing
    Take your time :) I always wonder about books for months ;)

    Yay, that is why I am here, to bring you all sorts of new books

    I do love to believe there used to be magic, then my brain tells me I am silly ;)

    Perhaps cos her mum was so famous, and then one wonder how the kid turned out

  30. Alyce
    I did love that book, and it was the first time I heard about Selene too. I am glad she is getting some time in the spotlight now

    Then I am glad to be of service :D

    I may not post about them, but I do accept them and feel very honoured. So thank you :D

  31. This sounds like a great book! I love ancient history and to hear that this is back in the time it is set with the historical characters that were real life individuals. This will have to go on my TBR list! Thanks for the wonderful review.

  32. This seems like such a romantic time period, and I'm always up for a little magic.

  33. Great review! I really enjoyed this different take with the magic in it.

  34. Deanna
    I like that too :) Sure fake heroines are awesome too but I do love reading about real people

    Wouldn't say romantic, but that's just me, I found it disturbing

  35. Thanks Darlene
    It was sure interesting :)

  36. i can't wait to read this!!! i'm so interested in cleopatra and her daughter!

  37. Carrie
    She is so fascinating :D So I am glad authors have found her

  38. Thanks for the review- I really need to check this one out! It sounds good.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  39. Brandi
    Have a look :D An interesting time, fascinating woman and good story

  40. This sounds like a great book, and I'm looking forward to reading it soon. I'm really curious how it compares to Moran's book.

  41. Diary
    I hope you enjoy it, and it does differ and that was fun to see



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