Book Reviews

Review: Cleopatra’s Moon

CleopatraTitle: Cleopatra’s Moon
Author: Vicky Alvear Shecter
Genre: Young Adult – Historical Fiction
Publication Information: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2011
Age Recommendation: Middle School & High School

Selene grew up in a palace on the Nile under parents Cleopatra and Mark Antony – the most brilliant, powerful rulers on earth. But Roman Emperor takes the country and princess to Rome. She finds herself torn between two young men and two possible destinies – until she reaches out to claim her own.

(Summary from Goodreads.)

This was an interesting read, since I haven’t read a lot of YA historical fiction set in Ancient Rome. For the most part, it was done really well, and I found it to be a multi-layered yet accessible read.

The settings – Egypt and Rome alike – came to life vividly without getting too bogged down in details. The political aspect – the tenuous relationship between Egypt and Rome during this time period – was especially well done, giving us a good look at the relationships Augustus used to build up his empire and maintain his hold on his client kingdoms. We also got a good picture at just how much of a pawn Cleopatra Selene was, something that was heightened with the contrast between her status and her struggle to regain control of her mother’s kingdom.

I thought most of the characters were developed well, with the exception of Julia. She came across as a spoiled brat, which would’ve been fine, except I could see no reason for it aside from being a brat for the sake of being a brat. I also could’ve used more development with the romances. Marcellus, I understood as just a political thing, but Cleopatra Selene never really dwells on it – she mentions her endgame but doesn’t think about it outside of that. (For example, what would the potential consequences be of getting involved with him?) As far as the romance with Juba goes, I understood that to be genuine, but we don’t really get to see much of them together, so that one fell flat for me.

Ultimately, though, I enjoyed Cleopatra’s Moon. It would be a good fit for historical fiction lovers, as well as people who enjoy political intrigue.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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