ARC Review: Cleo by Lucy Coats


Series: None
Author: Lucy Coats
Published May 7th 2015 by Orchard Books

Goodreads Synopsis
Her precious mother is dead - and it isn't an accident! The young Cleopatra - Pharaoh's illegitimate daughter - must flee the royal palace at Alexandria or die too. As her evil half-sisters usurp the throne, Cleo finds sanctuary at the sacred temple of Isis, where years later she becomes initiated into the secret Sisters of the Living Knot. But now Isis's power is failing, Egypt is in danger, and Cleo must prove her loyalty to her goddess by returning to the Alexandria she hates. She must seek out the hidden map which is the key to returning Isis's power - on pain of death. But will she be able to evade her horrible sisters? And will she find dreamy Khai, the über-hot Librarian boy she met as she fled Alexandria years before? Cleo's powerful destiny is about to unfold...

Gorgeous and evocative, this captivating new YA novel imagines the life of the teenage Cleopatra before she became the icon we think we know

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

When I first saw this book on NetGalley, I was really intrigued. As you may know, I'm a Ancient History and History student, and this time period (late 1st century BC) is right in there as one of my favourite eras. Cleopatra has always fascinated me, though all I'd really known was from a Roman perspective, vis a vis her involvement with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony, to the Battle of Actium in 31 BC. To read about a child Cleopatra was just an opportunity I couldn't miss, especially when it was available as a 'Read Now' option.

Not much is known about Cleopatra before she became Pharaoh, as Coats says in her Author's note. I felt as if what was in this book was a reasonable amount of fiction to fact, though a tad clichéd at times. I really enjoyed the mythical aspects of the novel, such as the Cult of Isis and how Cleo could interact and actually see the gods. All of the characters were rememberable, in their own little ways, especially Berenice and Tryphena, who definitely lived up to their 'Evil Sow Sisters' moniker. Out of these two, Berenice was definitely the most evil one, as Tryphena somewhat redeemed herself towards the end of book.

One thing that I felt really let this book down was Cleo herself. I understand that she suffered a great lot throughout her entire life, and the events of the beginning of the novel show that it wasn't just whilst she was Pharaoh. However, she was a bit too 'whiny' for me. The romance between herself and Khai felt like a case of 'insta-love', though it was written off as such due to the dreams they'd both been having.

I'd initially thought that Cleo was a stand alone novel, but I'm guessing with the ending it isn't, though I haven't seen anything either proving or disproving this. If it is stand alone, then it was left very open-endedly, and left more questions than it answered. Personally, I'm hoping for more instalments, as, although I didn't love it, it was definitely enjoyable, and a nice read to relax between stressful exam revision.

Dates Read:
May 24-28, 2015

3 Stars  

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