05 July, 2016

REVIEW: NEFERTITI by Michelle Moran

Title: Nefertiti
Author: Michelle Moran
Series: -
Genres: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Source: Hardcover
Pages: 465

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Nefertiti and her younger sister, Mutnodjmet, have been raised in a powerful family that has provided wives to the rulers of Egypt for centuries. Ambitious, charismatic, and beautiful, Nefertiti is destined to marry Amunhotep, an unstable young pharaoh. It is hoped by all that her strong personality will temper the young Amunhotep’s heretical desire to forsake Egypt’s ancient gods, overthrow the priests of Amun, and introduce a new sun god for all to worship.

From the moment of her arrival in Thebes, Nefertiti is beloved by the people. Her charisma is matched only by her husband’s perceived generosity: Amunhotep showers his subjects with lofty promises. The love of the commoners will not be enough, however, if the royal couple is not able to conceive an heir, and as Nefertiti turns her attention to producing a son, she fails to see that the powerful priests, along with the military, are plotting against her husband’s rule. The only person wise enough to recognize the shift in political winds—and brave enough to tell the queen—is her younger sister, Mutnodjmet.

Observant and contemplative, Mutnodjmet has never shared her sister’s desire for power. She yearns for a quiet existence away from family duty and the intrigues of court. Her greatest hope is to share her life with the general who has won her heart. But as Nefertiti learns of the precariousness of her reign, she declares that her sister must remain at court and marry for political gain, not love. To achieve her independence, Mutnodjmet must defy her sister, the most powerful woman in Egypt—while also remaining loyal to the needs of her family.

Love, betrayal, political unrest, plague, and religious conflict—Nefertiti brings ancient Egypt to life in vivid detail. Fast-paced and historically accurate, it is the dramatic story of two unforgettable women living through a remarkable period in history.

I actually went into to this book not knowing what to expect, however the title itself bought me. I am a sucker for anything ancient civilization, so I was really looking forward to reading this. And also I heard some people saying that this book is really similar to The Other Boleyn Girl, so I just had to see for myself.

THE WORLD: Okay so the world in this book is around 14 century BC or something like that, and this book glorifies the beauty and magnificence of ancient Egypt and Thebes. I mean the way rooms, the palaces and even little details on people's clothes are described takes you straight to the time and you have no trouble imagining how everything looked like. This book actually gives a pretty good picture of how life went on in this time, the culture, the customs. I really liked that in this time there were no separation - boy or girl - didn't exist. I really like ancient Egypt and just how free and not bound by society restriction they were, and this book just transported me into the 14 century BC Egypt.

Now I mentioned that this book was similar to The Other Boleyn Girl right? Okay so you tell me if you think this sounds familiar - this book tells a story about two sisters and their path in the world. One wants power and glory, the other just want to be happy and have her own place in the world. Familiar? I think so!

CHARACTERS: Let's start of by the most famous, the most beautiful woman, the icon of femininity and beauty - Nefertiti. I loved her in this book! So in the book she is one of two daughters of Ay, the great advisor of pharaoh. He was also okay in the book, very father like. Yes, so from the very beginning of the book Nefertiti is set to be this incredibly  smart, charismatic and strong girl who knows she is beyond beautiful and she uses her beauty and intelligence to get what she wants - becoming the wife of the pharaoh. We also have her sister Mutnedjmet (I think that's how you spell it), well anyway in the book she is called Mutne. So unlike her strong nature sister, Mutne is calm, a little passive and to be honest really just does not give two cents about the entire royal thing. She is happy that Nefertiti was chosen to be the next wife of the pharaoh and not her and just searches for her own path instead. Moreover, while Nefertiti was praised for her beauty all the time, we contanstaly see in the book how people comment on Mutne's beautiful cat-like eyes.

So the great pharaoh is Akhenaten (Echnaton), who if you are familiar with history, tried to change the ancient Egyptian religion from politeism to monotheism. He doesn't really do much in the book and is rather a side character, but from what we see of him to me he was painted as a strong willed, intelligent and revolutionary young man who wanted to leave a mark in the work.

Besides these characters we also have Kiya - the first wife of Akhenaten, and the mother of the famous pharaoh Tut, in the book at least. I will discuss her relationship and role in the book a little later. The other character that I loved in this book was Mutne's husband, the great general of Egyptian army, Horemheb I believe was his name. I really liked him, he was super strong and witty and just the way he protected Mutne and their children really made me like him.
LOVE: Now when it comes to love in this book, the only two people who really loved each other was Mutne and Horemheb. You get to see how they fall in love, fight for their love and just you get all the feels!!! Now when it comes to Nefertiti and Akhenaten I didn't really understand if they loved each other or just wanted to be in power so they stayed together, I couldn't tell actually. 

PLUS: I actually have few pluses that made me like this book: 1) The sisterly affection between Nefertiti and Mutne. It was a true sister bond to me, I mean they fought and lost touch in a way but they still loved each other so much that as you are reading you can feel the longing they have to see each other. 2) Historical accuracy. I mean sure I think not all facts in there are according to the history, but most of the plot line stayed true to what is known about these people in real life. So kudos to the author for doing a super good research! 3) I don't know why, usually I don't like when women fight for  men but in this book I liked the rival between Nefetiti and Kiya and it was not about a man but about their children! Let me explain. Kiya was the first wife so technically her children had the first right to become the pharaohs, whereas Nefertiti's children did not because she was the second wife. And in the book you see these two women doing everything they can to put their children on the pharaoh throne. A little horrible? Maybe, but I enjoyed reading it, I think in a similar situation I would have fought for my child as well. 

MINUS: I have only one. 1) I would have loved to read more about Nefertiti and Akhenaten and their life together and the revolution of monotheism they tried to establish. I mean there are little bit of it in the book, but it kind of follows Mutne's life a little more than it does Nefertiti's.

OVERALL: If you would like to have a quick, easy and interesting read, pick this book up right now! 


What did you think of NEFERTITI?