Wednesday, January 20

Book Review: The Heretic Queen

Title: The Heretic Queen

Author: Michelle Moran

Pages: 370

Summary: In ancient Egypt, a forgotten princess must overcome her family’s past and remake history.

The winds of change are blowing through Thebes. A devastating palace fire has killed the Eighteenth Dynasty’s royal family—all with the exception of Nefertari, the niece of the reviled former queen, Nefertiti. The girl’s deceased family has been branded as heretical, and no one in Egypt will speak their names. A relic of a previous reign, Nefertari is pushed aside, an unimportant princess left to run wild in the palace. But this changes when she is taken under the wing of the Pharaoh’s aunt, then brought to the Temple of Hathor, where she is educated in a manner befitting a future queen.

Soon Nefertari catches the eye of the Crown Prince, and despite her family’s history, they fall in love and wish to marry. Yet all of Egypt opposes this union between the rising star of a new dynasty and the fading star of an old, heretical one. While political adversity sets the country on edge, Nefertari becomes the wife of Ramesses the Great. Destined to be the most powerful Pharaoh in Egypt, he is also the man who must confront the most famous exodus in history.

My Rating: 8/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: I really enjoyed the book, and at times found it hard to put down. Although it was a little slow in the beginning it eventually picked up, creating a very interesting story of love, power and politics set in Ancient Egypt. The setting is what originally drew me to the book, I’ve been in a bit of Egyptian phase lately, which was part of the reason why it was hard to put down, because I was wanting more information on the time period. I’m unsure how historically accurate the book is, I am familiar with the characters, places, Gods etc by name and I know a little background information on each, but not enough to say how accurate the story is.

No matter how historically accurate the book may or may not be, I found it to be well done. I enjoyed the characters, and found I could easily root them on or hope for there downfall if you didn’t like them. I was sucked into the romance of Ramses and Nefertarti, even though I normally aren’t a big fan of the romantic side of books, I found myself hoping for the best for the two. Which shows the author is talented if she is able to do that for me. Kudos for the author there. But just overall, the cast of characters as a whole was very well done. As a reader, you were fairly invested in the outcome of their lives and wanted the best for them, and you are able to enjoy watching them grow as a character too.

The writing style was well done, I did feel that the tone it self seemed to be geared towards a younger audience, it reminded me at times of a young adult book, a more mature young adult book, but a young adult book nonetheless. So it’s a bit of a negative/positive mixed together for me. I don’t have a problem with YA novels, but I was expecting a different tone then what I got. The only other issue I had was the book often reminded me of Memoirs of a Geisha. It had a lot of parallels to the whole story, it was something that if you’ve read both books you’d notice, but I found that although it was a noticeable characteristic of the book, I was still able to enjoy it, because the characters, historical background and culture aspects of the book were well done.

Overall a well done story, with some very interesting characters and look into an Ancient Culture, and well worth reading and now has me anxious to read some of Moran’s other works.

Would I recommend it to read: Yes I would. It is a very intersting story, and if you enjoy Ancient Egypt or cultures, then differently give it a try. Also if you enjoy comming of age stories, than this is also a book for you. And finally if you enjoyed Memoirs of a Geisha, then again, this is the book for you. There is a compainion/prequel to this book called Nefertiti, you don't have to read it fist (I didn't), but it might be best you did. This book doesn't really give anything to spoilerific away, (well some stuff given away I might know from what little I know of Egyptian history), but over all they explain enough from the first book so you understand what they're referring to, but not enough to ruin the book.

What to read next: Nefertiti (if you didn't read it first), Cleopatra's Daughter, Memoirs of a Geisha

Challenges: Read 'n' Review, Pages Read, 10/10 Challenge, 100+ Challenge, A - Z Challenge, Countdown Challenge, Global Challenge, Historical Reading Challenge, NaJuReMoNoMo,
New Author Challenge, Support Your Library Challenge, What's in a Name Challenge,
Wish I Read That Challenge


  1. This book sounds interesting. I'm going to have to check it out. Good review! :)

  2. I'veheard a lot of good about this book! Glad you enjoyed it, too, but I'll keep in mind that it is more geared to a younger audience.

  3. I really, really, really want to read this!

  4. This is definitely a great book. I've been on an Egypt kick too in the last year, and Michelle Moran is one of the authors I discovered that way.

    Nice review. Better thought out than my own, I think.

  5. Christina - Hope you enjoy the book when you check it out/read it. It was an enjoyable read.

    Aatri - It may not be more geared to a younger audience, it's just what the writing style came across for me.

    Beth F - The go read it! Ignore that mountain of TBR books

    Elena - So far she's really the only author I know of who does Egyptian themes. Any suggestions?

  6. Glad to see that you liked it! I won this book from a giveaway along with Cleopatra's Daughter (both signed *grin*) and still have to get to them.

  7. There's Judith Tarr. She's done Lord of the Two Lands and King And Goddess.

    Jo Graham has one goodie as well: Hand of Isis.

  8. I loved this book. Actually, I've loved all of Moran's books. Didn't catch the parallel to Memoirs of a Geisha, though. Must've been too long since I read that one.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  9. Arielle - Lucky you! I hope to read Cleopatra's Daughter soon.

    Elena - thanks for the suggestions, I'll have to check them out.

    Anna - it was a good book, the parallels I found where things like the smiling at the men to stop them in their tracks, gain their attention. Rivalling mentors of two young girls destined for the top. The weren't big parallels, but they were there, I found at least.

  10. I just read and loved Cleopatra's Daughter with my book club. I also own a copy of Nefertiti that is still unread. I am excited about this review because after my first experience reading Moran's work, I know there is still a lot left to look forward to. She has a really involving style of writing and her stories really catch my attention. Great review, I am glad you liked the book so much!

  11. I've read this one and Nefertiti and really liked them although I thought they were kind of similar. I hope to get to Cleopatra's Daughter soon.