* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *
Publisher: Orchard Books
Release Date: March 10th 2016
Summary (from Goodreads):
Two warring deities, one Pharaoh’s throne…and the beginning of the world’s greatest love story
Tryphena is dead, evil Berenice and her dark demon god hold the Pharaoh’s throne – so Cleo must flee the city of her birth and seek out her patron goddesses before it’s too late to save Egypt. Not only must she make her way across the desert to restore Isis’s power, but her goddess also commands her to raise two armies before taking ship across the Great Green Sea to find her exiled father in Rome. The weight of royalty hangs increasingly heavy on Cleo’s shoulders – and impossible, scary decisions lie ahead.
What should she do about her unpredictable and moody scribe-spy lover, Khai? Will best friend Charm desert her for the mysterious soldier-girl, Iras? And what about the troublingly handsome young soldier Cleo meets on the way to retrieve her exiled father? Is Marcus Antonius the prophesied one who will ultimately be the death of her? Most important of all though, can Cleo and her untried troops pass the Egyptian gods’ final test? Can they find a way to defeat the unnatural army of the Burnt-souled Dead stalking the streets of Alexandria? Or will all of Egypt run with the blood of unhallowed and infernal sacrifice?
I’ll start off by gushing about the cover, because OMG isn’t it just gorgeous?! Lucy Coats gave me a sneak peek at the UKYAExtravaganza in Nottingham last year and it made me so excited to get stuck back into Cleo’s story.
Cleo has changed a lot since the events of the first book: you can tell her experiences have really affected her and she feels a lot more grown up, which is just as well for someone trying to become Pharaoh of Egypt. In this book we pick off where Cleo left off, with some of our old favourite characters, like Charm and sexy spy Khai, and we meet a host of new colourful characters too.
Once again, I loved the relationship between Cleo and Charm – they really are the best of friends and they get by together, whatever life throws at them, whether that’s disrupting love stories, disturbing prophecies or a full on war. We see a lot more of Khai in this book as well, and I liked seeing his and Cleo’s relationship develop now they no longer had the distance or an evil Pharaoh sister in between them. It’s interesting to imagine Cleopatra loving someone like that at that age, especially if you know her history and her other two famous lovers.
Charm gets her own love story here too, and I really enjoyed it. I didn’t really expect to see an LGBT theme in a book like this (I don’t know why, I just didn’t) but it was really refreshing and felt natural too. Iras was a great character, cheeky and loyal and lovable, though her tendency towards nicknames did irritate me a bit. I also loved the fact that this book talked about – even just casually – things that don’t often get mentioned in books like this: things like periods, and going to the toilet. It’s small things but it’s touches like that which I appreciate.
This is a great sequel to Cleo and adds a fitting end to this part of her life, though we all know it’s far from the end of her epic story. I’d love to see Coats’ take on the next stage of Cleo’s life too.