Daughter of the Gods by Stephanie Thornton: A Book Review

Daughter of the Gods: A Novel of Ancient Egypt
Author: Stephanie Thornton
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: 2014
Pages: 450
Source: My Personal Collection
Synopsis: Egypt, 1400s BC. The pharaoh’s pampered second daughter, lively, intelligent Hatshepsut, delights in racing her chariot through the marketplace and testing her archery skills in the Nile’s marshlands. But the death of her elder sister, Neferubity, in a gruesome accident arising from Hatshepsut’s games forces her to confront her guilt...and sets her on a profoundly changed course.

     Hatshepsut enters a loveless marriage with her half brother, Thut, to secure his claim to the Isis Throne and produce a male heir. But it is another of Thut’s wives, the commoner Aset, who bears him a son, while Hatshepsut develops a searing attraction for his brilliant adviser Senenmut. And when Thut suddenly dies, Hatshepsut becomes de facto ruler, as regent to her two-year-old nephew.

     Once, Hatshepsut anticipated being free to live and love as she chose. Now she must put Egypt first. Ever daring, she will lead a vast army and build great temples, but always she will be torn between the demands of leadership and the desires of her heart. And even as she makes her boldest move of all, her enemies will plot her downfall....

     Once again, Stephanie Thornton brings to life a remarkable woman from the distant past whose willingness to defy tradition changed the course of history.

     My Review: Hatshepsut was never meant to be queen. After the death of her sister, Neferubity, Hatshepsut suddenly finds herself in line to become the next Great Royal Wife. It does not take her long to realize that she wants more than being a pharaoh's consort. She gradually grows a desire to take the throne of Egypt for herself. Daughter of the Gods tells the triumphs and tragedies of Egypt’s most successful female pharaoh.

    This novel shows a unique side to Hatshepsut. At first, she is reluctant and unwilling to be queen. She is unprepared for the role that was suddenly thrust upon her. She is able to gain the confidence of her abilities through the help of her advisor, Sennemut. The novel does not display how Hatshepsut ruled as pharaoh. Many of her accomplishments are glossed over. Instead, it focuses on her family, loves, and sorrows.  I really like this personal aspect because it shows how her reign may have been an unhappy time for her.

     Overall, this novel details the sacrifices a woman made for power. Hatshesput may have gotten the throne, but not without many costs. I thought the author did a superb job in reimaging Hatshepsut’s story. The novel was very meticulously researched and it had the aura of transporting me to ancient Egypt. However, there were a few flaws to this novel. The writing was stilted and choppy at times. There were some ludicrous scenes, like Sennemut’s death, that seemed very off-putting. Despite the novel’s weaknesses, it was a very emotional tale. I recommend this novel for fans of C. W. Gortner, Michelle Moran, and Kate Quinn.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars


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