"Heiress of one empire and prisoner of another, it is up to the daughter of Cleopatra to save her brothers and reclaim what is rightfully hers...
To Isis worshippers, Princess Selene and her twin brother Helios embody the divine celestial pair who will bring about a Golden Age. But when Selene's parents are vanquished by Rome, her auspicious birth becomes a curse. Trapped in an empire that reviles her heritage and suspects her faith, the young messianic princess struggles for survival in a Roman court of intrigue. She can't hide the hieroglyphics that carve themselves into her hands, nor can she stop the emperor from using her powers for his own ends. But faced with a new and ruthless Caesar who is obsessed with having a Cleopatra of his very own, Selene is determined to resurrect her mother's dreams. Can she succeed where her mother failed? And what will it cost her in a political game where the only rule is win-or die?"-goodreads
I've always been really into ancient history of the Egyptian/Greek/Roman varieties, and I recall pouring over Cleopatra's complicated story multiple times. Add that to my love for YA historical fiction and I figured I was sure to like this book. I wasn't let down; Lily of the Nile was stunning. Stephanie Dray wrote a brilliant novel that must have required copious amounts of intense research and much cleverly filling the gaps where necessary.
The exploration of how Selene and her twin, Helios, dealt with everything and their lives being held captive by the Roman empire was amazing. The raw emotion of Selene as she changed and became more cunning, more like her mother's daughter, more of Isis, were so real seeming. The changing relationship between her and Helios as she made decisions as a strategist and he didn't necessarily was complicated and surprising. The theme of the treatment of women in Egypt in contrast to that in Rome... All fascinating stuff. The ending was explosive, and left me wishing there was more. (There should be a new rule: 'Sequels to books I like are not permitted to come out more than a week after I read said book' HA. No, that won't work.) Apparently there will be a sequel, "Song of the Nile" due in October.