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on Jan. 28, 2013 :
This is another juicy slice of historical awesomeness from Stephanie Dray. I've fallen hard for Dray's Cleopatra's Daughter series, a kind of magical historical trilogy that is dark, unapologetic, epic, and fun. So when I saw this short story, I did grabby hands and got started.
I know nothing of the historical Arsinoe II, but being aware of Dray's dedication to historical accuracy, I sat back and let the story unfold.
Arsinoe is one of the pharaoh's daughters, sweet and eager to be loved, teased mercilessly by her older, ambitious half-sister. When contracted into marriage to the King of Thrace, she finds some measure of happiness in her new home among her friendly in-laws. But good things rarely happen to royalty, and Arsinoe has some pretty awful things happen.
This is a short story -- which was too bad because I seriously wanted more! This story is more straight-up historical (rather than magical historical or historical fantasy), for those who care, and is a great intro to Stephanie Dray if you're new to her.
Full review can be found at my blog: http://unabridged-expression.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-princess-of-egypt-must-die-by.html
(review of free book)
on Dec. 06, 2012 :
I also posted this review at my book weblog: moonplanet.dreamwidth.org/103212.html
(I took care to give no obvious spoilers about the story)
Title: The princess of Egypt must die
Author: Stephanie Dray
Language: English (= original language)
Reviews for other books by this author (up till now): Lily of the Nile (moonplanet.dreamwidth.org/54895.html)
Format: E-book, downloadable for free from the author's Smashwords page.
Pages: 25 (PDF has 36 pages, because it includes two chapters from "Lily of the Nile")
Year published: original 2012, my edition 2012
ISBN number: 9781301647637
Topic of the book: Ancient Egypt, Queen Arsinoë II, court intrigue
Reason for reading: I really liked the author's two books about Egypt, "Lily of the Nile" and "Song of the Nile". And it was a free and short story (I don't like reading long stories on my computer).
Description from the Smashwords page:
Princess Arsinoe came of age in the glittering court of Ptolemaic Egypt. Abused by her ruthless sister, a pawn in the dynastic ambitions of her father, and dismissed by the king who claimed her for a bride, young Arsinoe finds herself falling in love with a young man forbidden to her. She dreams of a destiny as Egypt's queen, but first she must survive the nest of vipers otherwise known as her family.
Comments on the description text:
I didn't really read this text beforehand, I just started reading... The elements from the description can be found in the story, but they're all prominent at different times. Not really all at once...
"Remember always that you’re a royal princess of Egypt," my mother says, wiping tears from my cheeks.
"But I'm not the only one.” There is also Lysandra, my half-sister. The source of my tears.
My mother uses clean linen strips to bandage my bleeding knees, both of which were scraped raw when Lysandra nearly trampled me beneath the hooves of her horse. "You mustn't let Lysandra bully you."
"She's never punished for it," I complain. "She knows she can do as she pleases just because she is the daughter of the king's chief wife."
"Not for long," my mother vows. "Soon, I will be first wife here."
The story is about a historical character, Arsinoë, who becomes Queen of Egypt. However, this story takes place way before that happens; it starts in her childhood and does not describe her whole life, only a possible reason for why she could have become the way she was. At the end, the author puts in a note about what Arsinoë did in her life "after the story".
It was a short story, but I think this would have worked as a longer story as well. Some details and events are skipped over I'd like to have read more about. The characters are interesting, but the characterizations do remind me of the author's other two books.
This story is also written in first person, like the author's other two books.
There's a cover art on the first page of the PDF, but personally I don't really like it. It is a very pretty cover, but for me it might have worked better if the girl's face was not visible on the cover image, because this one image does not really depict Arsinoë's entire personality.
I liked the story, even though I wanted to read more detailed descriptions in some cases. I do think it's a good introduction to the author's writing style.
Yes, it's a story worth re-reading!
(review of free book)