I like historical fiction – more than I realized until I became a total Ken Follett nut.
I like reading about ancient cultures. The past is fascinating to me because it’s already happened and can be analyzed and picked apart to death. I’m an overanalyzing kind of gal (the first step to curing a problem is owning up to it).
So, Cleopatra’s Moon came into my reading circle with two things squarely in its corner. Seriously, I was predisposed to like the book, right away. I don’t need to provide gory detail for you to know it didn’t bowl me over the way I expected. But rather than nitpick it apart (why exacerbate my overanalyzing problem, right?) I’ll say this…
Personally, whether or not a book was good is tied directly to whether it made me want to do one of two things: 1) did it make me want to clutch the book to my chest, carrying it everywhere I went reading every spare second only to fall into an exhausted heap when it’s over upset that the ride is over? and/or 2) did it give me that writing itch? When I read a book I love, I want to hop up from the sofa and race to the PC and get right back into my latest WIP because I’m so inspired.
This book didn’t invoke either of those.
Cleopatra’s Moon is well-written and from a historical perspective it provides a great deal of insight into what happened to the orphaned daughter of Cleopatra and Marc Antony. But the latter is also why I didn’t enjoy it. I want a lot of fiction in my historical fiction and Cleopatra’s Moon was too heavy on the historical tidbits revolved around young Cleo’s life leading up to her parents death.
As intriguing as the backstory of young Cleo’s life was, this was YA.
Had the story been mainly revolved around Cleopatra’s love triangle and how that played a part in her choosing her own destiny, that would have suited me just fine. Lots of young readers will experience those sort of decisions and a good novel can entertain while giving insight.
History buffs may feel differently. The novel’s slow pace is suited best for those who want to absorb the nuances of the fact behind the fiction. But YA purists may find the book lacking in action relevant to a teen audience.