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.

42 thoughts on “Review: Lily of the Nile – Stephanie Dray

  1. anachronist says:

    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!

  2. Jenny N. says:

    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.

  3. Audra says:

    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!

  4. Jenny says:

    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!

  5. Blodeuedd says:

    @MishelI had never even known she existed before reading that book. Fascinating story@MelissaThe cover is so good. And I do love covers πŸ˜‰ They really set the tone of the book.@AnaYou're reading Moran, yay, I do hope you will like that book. It's so hard to recommend historical fiction to you :)@NaidaI hope you like that one πŸ™‚ And there are two books about Selene btw@BermudaIt took some getting used too, but I just had to loose those, what?? ideas and it worked

  6. Blodeuedd says:

    @JennyI did not know that. Do you have the name for that YA Selene story? And yes my 2nd Selene story too@AmusedThen this might be the one for you@AudraReally? Huh, well I like that idea πŸ™‚ Cos as it is now, eh, but under that genre it would work really well. It even made me like the book more, lol@MelissaI 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

  7. Blodeuedd says:

    @VivienneIt was truly horrible. And Octavian lectured them about it, he was such an ass. But that was life back then@ElysiumWell it is really different. As that one was straight his fic, this is then more historical fantasy :)VelvetI did adjust, but in a previous comment I heard that she wanted to advertise it in a different way, in another genre. So that worksJujuIt was :)JennyI was not sure at first but liked it later, cos truth be told, I always wished there was magic πŸ˜‰

  8. BLHmistress says:

    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.

  9. Ladytink_534 says:

    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.

  10. Redd says:

    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*

  11. Alyce says:

    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.

  12. Nina says:

    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. πŸ™‚

  13. Sally Sapphire says:

    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. πŸ™‚

  14. Blodeuedd says:

    BLHRead them both. Cleo's daughter and this one, since they you will get a lot of that eraYvonneI am sure it's available there too :)StaciI always wonder about things πŸ˜‰ Too curious lolLaytinkThere is nothing to be ashamed about, I only knew she had a son by Caesar. I did not know she had more kids

  15. Blodeuedd says:

    IngTake your time πŸ™‚ I always wonder about books for months ;)MelissaYay, that is why I am here, to bring you all sorts of new booksChris I do love to believe there used to be magic, then my brain tells me I am silly ;)ReddPerhaps cos her mum was so famous, and then one wonder how the kid turned out

  16. Blodeuedd says:

    AlyceI 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 nowNinaThen I am glad to be of service :DSallyI may not post about them, but I do accept them and feel very honoured. So thank you πŸ˜€

  17. deannalynnc says:

    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.

  18. Blodeuedd says:

    DeannaI like that too πŸ™‚ Sure fake heroines are awesome too but I do love reading about real peopleAlyssaWouldn't say romantic, but that's just me, I found it disturbing

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