I’d like to give a warm welcome to Jess, my good friend who’s just as big a book nut as I am! Today in Jess Talks, Jess gives us her thoughts on Queen of Kings, by Maria Dahvana Headley:
History merged with magic is an intriguing idea, and that’s what Maria Headley sets out to do in Queen of Kings. The trick to this sort of story is how well you pull it off: is it realistic, despite the magic? Do the characters stand up? Is the narrative clear? Here’s what I thought of Headley’s execution:
It’s 30BC, and Octavian Caesar and his legions are determined to take Alexandria. Having always wanted Cleopatra for his own, Octavian devises a ruse that leads Cleopatra to believe her beloved Mark Antony has taken his own life. Driven to the brink of madness by Octavian’s deception, Cleopatra calls upon the god Sekhmet, seeking his aid in reclaiming her Kingdom, and returning Mark Antony.
Calling upon Gods is never free, however, as Cleopatra quickly discovers. Sekhment agrees to return Mark Antony: in exchange for Cleopatra’s own soul. Under Sekhmet’s influence, Cleopatra is transformed into a shape-shifting, blood-sucking immortal being with only one driving force: vengeance. Completely devoid of anything human or good, she will settle for nothing less than the complete destruction of Octavian, and the world he has taken for himself. Hell Hath No Fury Like A Cleopatra Scorned?