Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Review: The Princess of Egypt Must Die by Stephanie Dray


Date Finished: 28/12/2015
2012 • 55 pages (eBook) • Rating: ★★★

This was a nice short little read I downloaded to my Kindle ages ago, and I stumbled upon it again whilst browsing for something to read. At 55 pages, it sure wasn’t one of the longest reads of my life seeing as I finished it within a half hour, but it was entertaining, if a little tragic.

As a child I loved Ancient Egyptian history, since it was one of the few historical periods they actually teach you in primary school. (Seriously, the national curriculum in English schools for teaching history is limited to the Tudors and the Ancient Egyptians. That’s pretty much your lot.) With the exception of my numerous re-watching’s of The Mummy, my interest in those groovy Egyptian’s wavered a little after my teen years. But it’s never too late for a comeback, and considering this is a novelette, it did pretty well at rekindling my curiosity.

The short story follows Arisone, the Egyptian Princess of the title, and the somewhat neglected daughter of Ptolemy I. Arisone seems to be your standard ancient world Royal princess – pushed to the back of the family circle by competitive siblings, married off to some old dude whilst still in her teens - so really it seems her life is all set to be a miserable cycle of producing babies for the next 20 years. I mean, being a novelette you don’t get to see how things pan out for her in the long run, but in Dray’s story she gets it kinda rough from the get go.

She’s shipped off, back-stabbed, betrayed, and all round shit upon before she even turns eighteen. I mean, seriously, aside from the fancy clothes and general life of luxury, royal women had a fucking hard time back then. All this watching your enemies-behind-your-back thing must have been exhausting and a complete overall mind-fuck. But hey, Arisone takes it as a life lesson and manages to go from downtrodden child-bride to fiery badass within the novelette’s short pages.

I only wish it were longer, since Arisone’s badassery doesn’t come in to full swing until the final pages and I need to read about powerful women lusting for revenge, dammit. I know this can’t be helped because I think Stephanie Dray wrote this as part of an anthology or something, but apparently she's planning to write a full novel about Arisone’s life sometime in the future so hey, swings and roundabouts.

Despite it leaving me lusting for more, this was a good little read, and at less than 100 pages it’s a handy way to spend a half an hour on a rainy afternoon.

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