Where I Got It: A review copy from the author via Audiobook Jukebox (thanks!).
Who I Recommend This To: Ancient Egyptian buffs will find this book entertaining.
Narrator: Amanda C. Miller
Publisher: Libbie M. Grant (2013)
Length: 9 hours and 18 minutes
Series: Book 1 The She-King
Ahmose was raised to be a priestess, to be a dream interpreter. But life takes a turn when the Pharaoh dies and her mother and grandmother chose her to be the Great Royal Wife. Wedded to a soldier, Thutmose, her God Chosen status gives him a bit of legitimacy. However, Mutnofret, Ahmose’s elder sister, holds a long-simmering resentment for being passed up; she was raised to be the Great Royal Wife, not Second Wife.
L. M. Ironside tells this tale with depth, lush settings, and interesting characters. From the beginning, I was attached to Ahmose. She’s thrown into a difficult situation at such a young age, given great responsibility, and has to face many opponents (including her own sister!). Early on, she witnesses a birth that does not go well and thus, one of her greatest fears is childbirth. This fear shapes some of her important decisions, thereby shaping not only her life, but those around her.
I thoroughly enjoyed the descriptive scenes of ceremonies. Of course, there was the wedding feast of Thutmose to his two brides. There are also several religious ceremonies, especially once we see God’s Own Wife, a title granted to a woman who then has much power over the priesthood. These scenes were told so clearly that I felt like I was a spectator there enjoying the ceremony.
There’s chariot rides. Yep. I have been tempted to build a chariot for me and my donkeys, but never seem to get around to it. So I live vicariously when I can through books with chariot rides.
Of course there is romance. Ahmose and her sister, Mutnofret, vie for Thutmose’s affections. Unfortunately, this also increases the tension between the sisters. Through these two plot devices, we see sorrow and loss, hope and love. Thuthmose is often gone on one military campaign or another. Most of the time, he leaves one sister pregnant and the other to run the country. Rumors spread of secret lover, adding to the tension. There was this one poignant scene that involved rain and the disapproval of the gods.
My one small criticism is that I wish we could have seen more of the governing that went on while Thutmose was off shoving spears into one disagreeable group or another. Ahmose and Mutnofret are young (in their teens) when they start running the country. It must have been intense for them. We have one brief scene that is more about the power play between the two sisters rather than governing. Nearly all the interactions between the sisters concerns a man, and we have so many other issues that could be discussed.
The Narration: Amanda Miller was a great choice for the voice of Ahmose. She was young and innocent at first, but gradually became more confident and firmer in her decisions. Miller was able to portray this shift in the character’s voice. I also enjoyed her voice for Mutnofret (who was most times condescending). While her male voices could use a bit more masculinity, they were still distinct and I had not trouble discerning one character from another.
What I Liked: The setting; each character grew throughout the story; the gods are real in Ahmose’s visions; great use of ceremonies; the cover; chariot rides.
What I Disliked: I would have liked a bit more on the governing of the country, since it did take up a good chunk of Ahmose’s life.
What Others Think: