Friday, January 23, 2015

449 (2015 #6). Nefertiti

by Michelle Moran

I've read a couple of Michelle Moran's other historical fiction novels, both written after Nefertiti, which was her debut novel.  I did not like it as well as Cleopatra's Daughter or Madame Tussaud.

Partly it's because so many of the characters are SO unlikable in this book.  Nefertiti is a selfish b***h.  Her husband, the young Pharaoh Amenhotep IV (who changed his name to Akhenaten), is paranoid and asinine.  On the other hand, Nefertiti's younger half-sister, Mutnodjmet (unrealistically called "Mutny" in the book), the narrator, is almost too good to be true.

I got tired of Nefertiti's constant competition with Kiya, the other main wife of the Pharaoh (and apparently the mother of King Tut).  At 480 pages, the book really dragged in places, with little happening.

I know next to nothing about ancient Egypt, so I can't quibble on whether or not the story was historically accurate.  There are many interpretations of Nefertiti's story, given that it comes mostly from excavated images.  As with Cleopatra's Daughter, so little is known about Nefertiti and her family that it is easy to build a novel around those few facts.  This IS historical fiction, not history.

Michelle Moran's website provides a lot of background information for the novel, including a family tree (albeit not interactive as the website indicates), which is fortunate as the one in the e-book is impossible to read.  A Q&A page answers some questions about the inspiration and research for the book, and what the author changed or conjectured.

Being a debut novel, this book is poorly written compared to Moran's later books.  However, this novel did succeed as historical fiction in that it made me want to learn more about Nefertiti.

© Amanda Pape - 2015

[I borrowed and returned this e-book from a public library.]

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