Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Find out what the Critics are saying about Author Stephanie Dray & Lily of the Nile...
Errant Dreams Reviews
I have to admit, I squealed when Stephanie Dray’s Lily of the Nile found its way into my review pile. I’m a sucker for anything Cleopatra-related, and I was thrilled to have another chance to dip my toes into her world. Selene is a fascinating character, and watching her struggle with her feelings towards her deceased mother and her goddess while trying to weave a path through Octavian’s politics and ambitions is nothing short of breathtaking.
I really have to commend the amount of research that went into developing this book. It breathes such a sense of life and immediacy into the story, and as I read I could see the streets of Rome and feel the currents of common opinion changing. It made it so much easier to enter into Selene’s head and get caught up in her life. Don’t let the depth of research intimidate you; Ms. Dray has done a wonderful job of avoiding Latin terms or confusing spellings of names if at all possible. It makes for a very enjoyable, textured read. With that being said, purists may object to Ms. Dray changing the timeline in a couple of places, but for me it didn’t take away from the story at all, as those changes aren’t too terribly drastic.
Selene’s character as envisioned by Ms. Dray is without a doubt my favorite version that I have come across. Because of the depth of research, Selene moves from the romantic portrayals that ignore most of her mother’s legacy (educational and ideological) and render her a character largely unaware of the deeper undercurrents of the world into a young woman attempting to make the best of a difficult situation using her intellect. While she still goes through personal conflict as well, this conflict becomes a part of the story as opposed to the majority of it.
With that being said, Selene’s twin brother Helios can feel a bit flat at times, because his hatred towards Octavian and the Romans is so pronounced that it can obscure the rest of his personality. While the tension that exists at times between him and Selene at times is only natural between siblings, as the book progresses his anger began to me to feel more like a plot device than a character trait.