When Naomi’s sisters are snatched up to be taken to be wives of the erratic Pharaoh, Akhenaten, she knows they won’t survive the palace, so she offers herself in their place. The fearsome Commander Horemheb sees her courage, and knows she is exactly what he is looking for…
The Great Queen Nefertiti despises Naomi instantly, and strips her of her Hebrew lineage, including her name, which is changed to Kiya. Kiya allies herself with Horemheb, who pushes her to greatness and encourages her to make the Pharaoh fall in love with her. When Akhenaten declares Kiya will be the mother of his heir, Nefertiti, furious with jealousy, schemes to destroy Kiya.
Kiya must play the deadly game carefully. She is in a silent battle of wills, and a struggle for who will one day inherit the crown. If she does bear an heir, she knows she will need to fight to protect him, as well as herself, from Nefertiti who is out for blood.
KIYA: Hope of the Pharaoh by Katie Hamstead
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I've never been one to jump at historical fiction, but this book was beyond amazing. I suddenly find myself enthralled by Egyptian culture. Katie Hamstead did an amazing job of teaching the reader about ancient Egypt through Naomi's eyes and not making it feel like a lesson. There was never a dull moment of world-building or history lessons. It was all contextual.
Naomi is a believable heroine. She is brave, strong, true to her beliefs, but also stubborn, and she can be a bit naive. She wears her heart on her sleeve, which I suspect is going to bite her in the ass later on in the series. I love that in Kiya, Nefertiti has met her match. Nefertiti is believably cunning and vile, but her motivations are always clear. And just when you think she is done, she strikes like a snake.
The love triangle in this book came out of nowhere for me. I don't want to say too much because of spoilers, but I love how, because we see everything through Naomi's eyes, we were just as surprised as she was.
On a more technical note, I think Katie's style is wonderful. Naomi's voice is solid throughout the entire book, never wavering. We feel everything she feels, and see everyone else just as she sees them. Not once did I feel like the language was dumbed down (which I've seen in other first person novels--it drives me crazy.) or like Katie was trying to force information through Naomi.
The ending felt abrupt to me, but I have a feeling that is more to do with how I was not ready for the book to end. Luckily, the sequel comes out soon. =) I can't wait!
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