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Kleopatra - Karen Essex 2.5 stars

What to say about this version of Kleopatra's tale? Overall I found that Essex failed to capture the essence of Kleopatra, including her maturity, dignity and intelligence. The book read more like a Hollywood version of Kleopatra's life (well the portion covered in this book, up to about the age of 21). The book did not bring the vibrancy of this time period to life. Overall, I found Essex included crude situations and even cursing for no reason I can think of as they certainly did not add to the story. I also feel Essex took too many liberties with these people from history, which she treated more as characters than beings which really existed. I may be biased due to my love for all things Kleopatra, but Essex failed to bring the real Kleopatra to life. There is absolutely no way you could convince me that Kleopatra was such a temper-tantrum throwing, petulant child such as she was portrayed in this novel. Considering the time period, her lot in life and her intelligence, the child portrayed in this novel seems quite unlikely. Essex would have fared better had she focused more on the entirety of Kleopatra's life in one novel rather than splitting it into two. Too little is known about Kleopatra's childhood and the inventions of Essex show why this was not a good portion of time to focus upon.

This being said, I will read the second book by Essex, Pharaoh, as I hope the inclusion of Antony and Caesar with bring more life and vibrancy to Kleopatra and the story in general.

If you want a wonderful historical novel based on Kleopatra, read Margaret George's The Memoirs of Cleopatra. It is an absolutely beautiful book all around and unlike Essex's version, you will not want it to end.