Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Nefertiti Review

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

(from the back of the book)
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 that her strong personality will temper the young ruler’s heretical desire to forsake Egypt’s ancient gods.

From the moment of her arrival in Thebes, Nefertiti is beloved by the people but fails to see that powerful priests are plotting against her husband’s rule.  The only person brave enough to warn the queen is her younger sister, yet remaining loyal to Nefertiti will force Mutnodjmet into a dangerous political game; one that could cost her everything she holds dear.

This is the story of Nefertiti and her life with Amunhotep but it is told more from the point of view of her younger sister, Mutnodjmet.  You get to see a more personal view of the history of a very interesting time.  It was a time of change and turmoil for all of Egypt and Nefertiti and her family are wrapped up in it all.  And you can see that turmoil in the family as well, as they all try to figure out what they should do for Egypt, for their family and for themselves.  You can feel the desperation, dread and uncertainty of the family as so much of their lives seems to be out of their control.  Especially in Mutnodjmet who feels that to stay loyal to her sister would mean the death of her own happiness.  Unfortunately there are not many people in this story to like.  Nefertiti is portrayed as a shrill, spiteful, self-centered witch.  Amunhotep (aka Akhenaten) is stubborn, power hungry, unreasonable and just plain crazy.  I have trouble believing people like this could rule for any length of time and would have liked to see them with some redeeming qualities to make them more believable.  As they were they seemed over the top and unreal.  Some of the other characters were less offensive but most still unlikable.  I enjoyed the book but I wish I could have related to the characters more.

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