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Cleopatra's Moon by Vicky Alvear Shecter: A Book Review

Cleopatra's Moon
Author: Vicky Alvear Shecter
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Release Date: 2011
Pages: 368
Source: Personal Collection
Synopsis: Princess of Egypt

     Cleopatra Selene is the only daughter of the brilliant Queen Cleopatra of Egypt and General Marcus Antonius of Rome. She's grown up with jewels on her arms, servants at her feet, and all the pleasures of a palace at her command, and she wants only to follow in her mother's footsteps and become a great and powerful queen.


     Prisoner of Rome


     Then the Roman ruler Octavianus, who has always wanted Egypt's wealth, launches a war that destroys all Selene has ever known. Taken to live in Octavianus's palace in Rome, she vows to defeat him and reclaim her kingdom at all costs. Yet even as she gathers support for her return, Selene finds herself torn between two young men and two different paths to power. Will love distract her from her goal--or help her achieve her true destiny?


     Epic in scope and ravishing in detail, this novel reveals the extraordinary life of a girl long hidden in history: the remarkable Cleopatra Selene.


     My Review: Cleopatra Selene has for centuries been eclipsed by her famous mother, Cleopatra VII, the last Pharaoh of Egypt. Now in Shecter's novel, Cleopatra Selene takes center stage as she narrates her young life. We are shown how remarkable a woman she truly is. Through Shecter's novel, we get to see the aftermath events of Cleopatra's famous suicide.


     Cleopatra Selene is the daughter of history's most famous star-crossed lovers, Marcus Antonious and Cleopatra VII. She is Princess of Egypt, and her father crowned her Queen of Cyrenaica and Crete. However, her perfect life has changed when Octavianus waged war on her mother. Octavianus emerges as the victor and invades Egypt. Rather than succumb to Octavianus, both Marcus Antonius and Cleopatra VII commit suicide to maintain their honor. Now orphaned, Cleopatra Selene and her two brothers are forced to leave their homeland and become captives to the new Roman Emperor. With danger at her every turn, Cleopatra must make decisions that will ensure her survival and eventually to achieve her ultimate goal to be Queen of Egypt. Along the way she finds love with another captive prince, Juba of Numidia, whose father had also committed suicide rather than submit to the Romans.

     I found Cleopatra Selene to be wise, intelligent, and ambitious. Cleopatra Selene is in every sense a survivor. She is a woman that is faithful to her homeland, yet at the same time, she adapts to her fate. I found that she was more successful than her mother because at the end, she greatly triumphed and was allowed to have her happy ending. I also loved her love interest, Juba. Juba was smart, kind, and very protective of Cleopatra Selene and aided her as much as he could. The two of them are a perfect match for each other because they are just alike.

     I also liked how the author has portrayed the Egyptian religion and customs. For instance, there is an Isis cult in Rome. I also liked how she talked about the notions of free will, which is the main theme of this book. In this novel, Cleopatra Selene is given the choice to make the right decisions. It is not the gods, but Cleopatra Selene who shapes her own destiny.

     Overall, this is a thrilling novel about the interesting but little known life of Cleopatra Selene. This novel is filled with danger, twists, and turns. It is filled with love, friendship, family love, and loyalty. Most of all, this is a young girl's story of survival who was forced to live among her enemies. This book will delight both fans of young adult and historical fiction.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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