Monday, December 30, 2013

Book Reivew: Daughters of the Nile by Stephanie Dray

#3 in the Cleopatra Selene series
Release Date: December 3, 2013
Publisher: Berkley Trade 
Pages: 576
Received: ARC from author
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

This is a review for the final book in a trilogy. There are NO spoilers, but if you're worried, you can read my reviews of the first two books instead: 


Cleopatra Selene and I have been on this journey together for a long time. I started reading her story when she was a child, and by the time Daughters of the Nile comes to an end she has grown into herself as a woman in her thirties.

I've laughed, cried, sympathized, swooned, and raged alongside her as she struggled to grow up under the expectations set by her famous parents (Cleopatra and Marc Antony) and the yoke of the conniving emperor Augustus.

Daughters of the Nile was a satisfying conclusion to Selene's story. Much of it felt like a wrapping up and winding down, and by the final third of the book I definitely felt like Stephanie Dray was gently prying my fingers away and letting me know it was time to let go. The last time I had felt such author awareness to my reader needs for growth and closure was when reading Harry Potter and the Dealthy Hallows, so, kudos and thank yous to Stephanie Dray.

While I feel like I emotionally came to a positive end, the journey there was mixed. I feel like the way things played out was the right and necessary way. The only way. And so I'm very satisfied.

But, I missed Selene's sparring with Augustus. This installment lacked the tense rage and battle sparks I felt when reading the first two books. Part of this is because Selene is growing, and while I miss those interactions, I feel their loss in this sense is a necessary and correct change for Selene's character and life.

Except, Augustus! If I have one complaint, it is that he became a shadow of himself. Stephanie Dray's Augustus in Lily of the Nile and Song of the Nile set the bar for me when it comes to historical interpretations of this man. He was a force to be reckoned with. Cold, calculating, wickedly intelligent and always scheming.

Not so in Daughters of the Nile. Here, he's diminished and changed to the point that he seems almost a parody of himself. His lust for Selene made sense at first, but devolved into deranged obsession I'm not sure sits well with me from both a characterization and historical standpoint.

Then there's the romance. Again, part of me is extremely satisfied with the way things played out. There were scenes of such tenderness and watching these two people grow, come together, falter, learn about one another and themselves, and come together again was everything I want out of a romance.

And part of me can't get over what he did in the previous books.

That Selene was equally conflicted made things better. Trying to take an objective view and see things from his perspective and development helped further, even if that's a really, really hard thing to do (especially since I've been experiencing all of this through Selene's eyes, and she is NOT an objective, forgiving kinda lady).

And that's part of the beauty of the book. It's hard because life is hard. No character is perfect, and none of the situations they find themselves in are perfect either. They make do the best they can, finding joy where and how they can. There were multiple scenes where tears were streaming uncontrollably down my face, both in sadness and joy.

Bottom line

I may have been disappointed with Augustus, but it wasn't a deal breaker. I may have wished some things were different, but the book would have been less had I gotten what I thought I wanted. Ultimately, I love what Stephanie Dray did with this story and that is why the series overall has secured itself a place on my Special Shelf. 

Explanation of rating system: Star Rating Key 

Do you have any questions about Daughters of the Nile that I haven't addressed?
Feel free to ask in the comments!

Looking for another book like this?
You might like:

 Click on the pictures to go to my reviews.


  1. I should really try this. I've hardly heard about this series apart from you, but I'm always interested when you talk about it.

    How've you been by the way?

    1. I wish it were talked about more because it is fabulous. I hope you like it if you try it!

      Pretty good, you? SO busy with work and the holidays, but in a good way. How are you liking your new home?

  2. I love how much you love this series!! I gave away the first book of this series to a friend of Christmas :) since you loved it so much.

    1. Me too! Aw, I LOVE that you gave a copy for a present! That makes me super happy to hear. :D

  3. Nope, nope, nope, NOPE. (Imagine me shaking my head and backing away with my fingers crossed.) No.


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