Saturday, October 25, 2008

Review: The Heretic Queen

Summary: In ancient Egypt, a forgotten princess must overcome her family’s past and remake history.

The winds of change are blowing through Thebes. A devastating palace fire has killed the Eighteenth Dynasty’s royal family—all with the exception of Nefertari, the niece of the reviled former queen, Nefertiti. The girl’s deceased family has been branded as heretical, and no one in Egypt will speak their names. A relic of a previous reign, Nefertari is pushed aside, an unimportant princess left to run wild in the palace. But this changes when she is taken under the wing of the Pharaoh’s aunt, then brought to the Temple of Hathor, where she is educated in a manner befitting a future queen.

Soon Nefertari catches the eye of the Crown Prince, and despite her family’s history, they fall in love and wish to marry. Yet all of Egypt opposes this union between the rising star of a new dynasty and the fading star of an old, heretical one. While political adversity sets the country on edge, Nefertari becomes the wife of Ramesses the Great. Destined to be the most powerful Pharaoh in Egypt, he is also the man who must confront the most famous exodus in history.

Sweeping in scope and meticulous in detail, The Heretic Queen is a novel of passion and power, heartbreak and redemption. -- Crown

When Michelle Moran contacted me about reading her latest novel THE HERETIC QUEEN, I almost did a little "happy dance." Every single review I have read about THE HERETIC QUEEN AND NEFERTITI has been extremely positive! And one of my good friends has been raving about NEFERTITI for months and recommending it to everyone (you can read her review here.) In fact, she likes it so much that she has selected it for the next time she hosts our book club in February. I can't wait to read it (but I do have to wait a little closer to our meeting so it's fresh) and discuss it with everyone. In addition, Ms. Moran will be joining us via telephone to talk about her book so it should be an extra-special meeting.

THE HERETIC QUEEN was a fabulous book -- one of my favorites this year! I was a little worried about reading it before I read NEFERTITI since there are many references to that novel; but I can assure you that it absolutely isn't necessary to read them in order and it didn't take away from my enjoyment (and understanding) of this book. I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Nefertari, and I thought Ms. Moran did an incredible job of bringing her to life.

Historical Egypt has always fascinated me ever since I did a report on King Tut back in grade school. I am absolutely amazed by this society and its accomplishments, so I couldn't wait to read a novel that takes place during this time period. I have always thought it would be extremely difficult to write a novel based on real historic figures; however, it was evident to me from the start that Ms. Moran did a ton of research on this subject matter. I thought she did a terrific job of merging together the facts about these characters and this period in history with the fictional elements that made it a great story. I especially liked how she explained the fact versus fiction in the Historical Note section of the book.

This book definitely appealed to me, and I can't rave enough about how good I thought this book was. I was hooked from the first few pages and couldn't put the book down. I loved the character of Nefertari, and I enjoyed seeing her mature throughout the novel. At the beginning of the novel, my heart went out to this young, orphaned girl. She was facing so much adversity and could have easily given up on her dreams; however because of her love for Ramesses the Great, as well as her desire to preserve her family's name, she never gave up and constantly fought for her place in history. In some ways, this book was a beautiful coming-of-age tale of a young girl.

THE HERETIC QUEEN also had many memorable characters besides Nefertari. Ramesses the Great was depicted a great leader who was loved by his people, and also as a man who was very much in love with Nefertari. Ramesses was definitely not without flaws and he did face many trying times as a leader, but I thought Ms. Moran captured the complex nature of this character extremely well. I also found it extremely interesting to learn that he was responsible for the first international peace treaty. In addition, Nefertari's nurse Merit, her teacher Paser, and her mentor Woserit were three people who were always there for Nefertari and helped her mature into the woman and Queen she eventually became. Of course, there were a fair share of "bad guys" in this novel too who challenged Nefertari at every turn and made things interesting.

Ms. Moran really understands the value of bloggers, so she holds an especially dear place in my heart! She has a wonderful website filled with so much valuable information; and she even has a special section just for bloggers -- this is awesome because it has all of the information bloggers need on one page with links. While you are visiting her website, you can also read an excerpt of THE HERETIC QUEEN and check out the historical information section. I found this information and the pictures fascinating, and they really helped complement the novel -- you can learn about Heretic Queen Facts, Ancient Egypt, Nefertari's Family and Ramesses's Family. Don't forget to visit her Fun Stuff section too where you can win monthly contests.

I loved THE HERETIC QUEEN, and I can't wait to read NEFERTITI in the very near future! If you enjoy historical fiction, then you just have to read these novels -- you won't be disappointed. Make sure you visit tomorrow because Michelle Moran will be stopping by! And you never know what "surprises" you might find!


bermudaonion said...

Both Nefertiti and The Heretic Queen are in my TBR pile. Now, I want to move them closer to the top of the pile. I know what you mean about Michelle Moran - I love authors who respect bloggers.

Anna said...

Michelle is great! What a friendly, generous lady! She sent me The Heretic Queen recently, and I can't wait to read it. Just a few more books to clear away first, and then I can dive in!

Diary of an Eccentric

nbbaker1102 said...

I loved Nefertiti when I read it and I did get a copy of The Heretic Queen in the mail from the publisher. It's definitely on the TBR list! I'm glad it lives up to the first one.

S. Krishna said...

I loved this book as well!

Jo-Jo said...

I love historical fiction because it is almost like being transported to another time and place. The differences in the time and culture are always fascinating. Please enter me!

I also blogged about it at

Gigi said...

I disagree but I'm glad you liked it. There were parts of it that were enjoyable, especially Nefer's skills in languages.
I also reviewed it :