I am a little miffed that there are not MORE young adult books set in ancient times. For serious, this is an era that is ripe for the picking and if you do it right nerds like me will snap those books up without a second thought. Y’all, Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter left me wanting in the best possible way. It left me wanting more Egyptian-set books. I wanted Roman setting books. I wanted books set in Carthage. I found that to use one of FYA’s phrases — ancient setting historical fiction is one of my YA ‘milk cartons’. I loved Cleopatra’s Moon so much that after reading it, I found myself immediately disappointed that there were no other fiction books by Vicky Alvear Shecter. For real, this book was so WELL DONE that I figured heck, I will be pleased with whatever else the author writes, and so was devastated that so far there isn’t anything else fiction-wise.
How many of you are like damn, I wish I could do my eye makeup as well as Cleopatra? I hope I’m not the only shallow person out there. Anyways, she’s a historical figure who has always fascinated me. I mean, hello — gorgeous, powerful and a real life love triangle? GET OUTTA TOWN. But really, I don’t know all that much about her and even less so about her children. When I heard about Cleopatra’s Moon and how it was all about her daughter, Cleopatra Selene I knew I had to read it eventually. Then we flashforward to summer when Audiosync was doing their free weekly audiobook promotions and Cleopatra’s Moon was one of the offered books. Of course, that was downloaded and eventually listened to in October. And yes, you guys I know I am a failure at immediately reviewing, but I think we’ve all got this problem from time to time.
ANYWAYS, here’s what the book’s about — so we start out with Cleopatra Selene’s early life where she idolizes mom for more than just her awesome make up. Then we get lots of tragedy in the form of those asshole Romans who are all WAHHH KILL KILL KILL. Well, not quite. Anyways, so Cleopatra Selene gets sent to Rome with her two brothers and she’s an orphan and everyone hates her dead mother. AND SO she has to cope with that. And there’s a slight romance. But mainly, Cleopatra’s Moon is about staying strong and true to yourself in the face of adversity. It’s kind of one of those timeless sort of themes, and thus I loved this book and the plot because I felt that not only could I learn, but I could also empathize.
Cleopatra Selene is my favorite type of character. She’s a headstrong young lady who fights hard for her family. She doesn’t let her enemies push her around. Yet, she’s also not an idiot — I mean, she knows when to shut up and come up with a smart plan rather than walk her way into trouble. I love that while it seems the entire world is down on her family and calling Cleopatra Selene and her mother whores, Selene keeps her head up high. She’s the sort of character I absolutely rooted for the entire time, even when she was getting close with a certain male who is THE WRONG MALE. I cared enough to wish her a happy ending considering all the tragedy that surrounded her.
HELLO ALL OF THE KISSING! Friends, there is definitely some making out action in Cleopatra’s Moon. Plus, there’s totally an ancient love triangle, but we all know who we want to win (Juba, you’ll meet him in the book). And there’s this intellectual chemistry between Juba and Cleopatra Selene that really had me saying HECK YES MORE OF THIS, because for real, how often do we get books where the characters kind of flirt and connect on a brainy level as opposed to a purely sexual level. Frankly, I loved this sort of connection because it’s so different and compelling. I will say, some of it is painful to read in the oh how my heart aches for these characters sort of way. Yet, I think it’s worth the pain for the subtle not so overwhelming romance storyline.
As for the history, I haven’t really taken any classes that explore Egypt in depth — tragic, I know. I cannot tell you how much accuracy is contained in Vicky Alvear Shecter’s version of history. However, when I was listening to the interview at the end, it sounded like she really knew her stuff. That’s right. The audiobook has a bonus author interview that was fascinating to listen to. Like, I learned that Shecter is very interested in Hannibal and while listening I was like can you please write me some historical YA fiction about Hannibal please and thank you. I kind of figure that maybe you lovely blog readers don’t entirely mind being privy to the random thoughts that pop in my head as I read books, and that was one of them — my sincere wish for some Hannibal and his g-d elephants fiction.
Confession time. At first, I was not entirely won over or in love with the audiobook version of Cleopatra’s Moon. I was listening to it on my computer and it was kind of static-y and I know it’s not my speakers because they are too high quality for that. AND SO THEN, I was like maybe I should start this over on my phone and well, it was still a little static-y but that eventually went away. I also ended up getting used to the narrator’s voice and finding it rather appropriate for Cleopatra Selene. The narrator is Kirsten Potter and she has a very articulate, serious and sincere voice. Like, she just sounds like a mature young woman. Her voice is sort of deep, but I thought it worked because hello this book would sound awkward with a valley girl type voice. Like, if I was narrating it would sound awful hahahaha. Anyways, Cleopatra’s Moon is produced by Oasis Audio and is 12 hours and 29 minutes unabridged. However, you’ll want to stick around for the author interview at the end because it’s utterly fascinating. I totally recommend Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter if you are anything like me — nerdy with an interest in historical swoons and kickass eye make up.
Disclosure: Downloaded during AudioSync Summer Promotion FOR FREE!
Other reviews of Cleopatra’s Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter:
Bunburry In The Stacks – “shines in its beauty as a story, and narrator Kirsten Potter brings it to life as few others could.”
The Book Smugglers – “This is the type of historical YA I yearn for, I burn for, I want to squeeze close to my heart and buy copies of for everyone because it is that damn good.”
Forever Young Adult – “The level of detail is enough to conjure opulence and wealth without plunging into an over-flowery snoozefest”