Read: May 28-30 Verdict: 2 Stars
I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.
(I also spoke briefly about this book in my May Wrap Up video)
Goodreads review here.
Cleo, or Cleopatra, is only ten years of age when she is forced to flee her father's kingdom following the death of her mother. Cleo knows that now with her mother dead and her father, the Pharaoh, in Rome, her older half-sisters will kill her to make sure she can never succeed them on the throne. Cleo and her slave/best friend Charm flee to a Temple of Isis, the Goddess who blessed Cleo on her birth and whom she has a special connection with.
Four years later, Cleo is instructed by Isis to return to her old home, and into the arms of her now death-worshipping sisters, on a mission to help restore Isis's failing power. Cleo, Charm and Khai, a librarian, are now all on a time-restrained mission to bring back Isis to the Egyptians.
I really wish I could say that this is a downright amazing book, because the premise of it sounded so so promising. But unfortunately, it isn't and the main fault behind this whole book is the personality of Cleo herself.
The book starts off with a ten year old Cleo going off on a rant about everything, and everyone. Now, yes, her mother is dying and she has every reason under the sun to hate everybody but I felt like it was a very bad way to start a novel as right away, the reader is turned off of Cleo. And this ended up remaining for the entire book. I felt like she was overly spoilt, and expecting, and extremely privileged despite leaving the palace at age ten and making her own way.
I didn't really connect overall with any character in the book, none felt extremely deep and every single one of them came across to me as a bit untrustworthy.
Unfortunately, the relationship between Khai and Cleo was off for me for a start but for a personal reason for me which is that one of bookish pet peeves is the whole, "I've seen him once, and now I'm in love with him." NO! That's not how it works, you can never make me believe that that's how it works. While i do feel the connection is there, I just wish there had been a better bridge built towards the love bit rather than the easy way out of 'love at first sight'. I also felt myself, that ten years old is far too young to be having stomach melting dreams about a boy older than you. Even at 14, it's a bit young, though certainly better than ten. I think Khai and Cleo's relationship is the reason I kelp imagining Cleo older in my head. Yet, throughout the novel she had an extremely juvenile voice (she calls her sisters the Evil Sow Sisters).
I did feel that everything from the dress, gods and goddesses, customs and food matched very well up to what I would believe Egypt was like back when Cleopatra was believed to have lived and I enjoyed reading about the different costumes she wore and the food she ate. I was always a fan of the Greek gods and goddesses so hearing about the Egyptian ones was just as interesting for me.
The book could have definitely been about 100 pages longer and been a stand alone. I can't really imagine what could fill up an entire book unless it's a lot of plot that wasn't touched upon at all in Cleo. Unless, the entire second book is Cleo and the gang riding across a desert...who knows? I don't think I'll be picking it up either way.