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73 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Family Drama...Egyptian Style!
This novel is a story of two sisters, one whose drive and ambition take her to the top of the world and the other who just wants a normal life....far away from the dangerous political games her sister is playing. Nefertiti and Mutnodjmet (Mutny) grew up leading quiet lives in rural Egypt. All this comes to a screeching halt when Nefertiti is chosen to be Chief Wife of the...
Published on May 24, 2008 by LCW

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90 of 105 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just Not Very Good
I have to agree with some previous reviewers who found the book shallow. None of the characters are three-dimensional, the historical detail is thin, and the plot isn't very engaging.

I didn't believe any of the characters. Akhenaton especially was annoying. He is written as a one-note shrill lunatic. Mutnodjmet and Nefertiti's relationship, the supposed...
Published on August 3, 2007 by Iris


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73 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Family Drama...Egyptian Style!, May 24, 2008
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This review is from: Nefertiti: A Novel (Hardcover)
This novel is a story of two sisters, one whose drive and ambition take her to the top of the world and the other who just wants a normal life....far away from the dangerous political games her sister is playing. Nefertiti and Mutnodjmet (Mutny) grew up leading quiet lives in rural Egypt. All this comes to a screeching halt when Nefertiti is chosen to be Chief Wife of the hot blooded Pharoah with an obssession for Aten, a minor Egyptian god.

Nefertiti is chosen by her Father and her Aunt, the Pharoah's mother, because with her strong personality they believe she will be able to reign in the Pharoah and temper his hand ensuring that it is their family that holds the real power behind the throne. Nefertiti soon becomes enamoured with her new found power and her popularity with the people and is somewhat swept up along with her husband in his dreams of glamor, power, and immortality.

On direction from her father she does what she can but she is unable to stop the Pharoah from using the Army to build a brand new city in the middle of the desert designed to honor Aten and be a monument to him and his queen....an army that is desperately needed to stop a Hittite invasion threatening from the north! To further complicate matters, her family's position is threatened by Kiya, the Pharoah's other wife, and her schemeing Father because while Kiya has given Egypt a prince Nefertiti gives birth to one daughter after another.

Meanwhile, Mutny becomes her sisters handmaiden and remains her closest friend and confidante. But secretly she longs for a family and a home of her own. This seems impossible as she is required by her family to play her part in keeping them the most powerful family in Egypt. As her sister rises higher and higher, Mutny feels more and more trapped in a destiny that is not her own. Finally, a tradgedy forces her to claim her independance and break away from her sister to start her own life on her own terms.

This was an exciting novel that was full of action, wonderful period detail, and it had a compliated, interesting plot. I've not read much fiction set in ancient Egypt but this has certainly wet my appetite for more. The characters are well rounded and complex and the relationship between Nefertiti and Mutny is beautifully depicted. There is a scene that had me laughing out loud where they are both praying to the Hippopotomous goddess of fertility but they just can't seem to stop their sisterly bickering long enough to get through the prayers. I don't know it the author intended the scene to be humorous but I found it charming as well as funny.

There is also an interesting dynamic between the Pharoah and his daughters. The reader expects him to be dissapointed as Nefertiti gives him daughter after daughter but each time the Pharoah is overjoyed. I won't give the reason away but I thought it was a brilliant look into his mind.

This story makes me want to research and learn about ancient Egypt, esp. Mutny and Nefertiti. I found the first part of the novel a bit slow but the second half more than made up for it. I highly recommend this one!

(4 1/2 stars)
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90 of 105 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Just Not Very Good, August 3, 2007
This review is from: Nefertiti: A Novel (Hardcover)
I have to agree with some previous reviewers who found the book shallow. None of the characters are three-dimensional, the historical detail is thin, and the plot isn't very engaging.

I didn't believe any of the characters. Akhenaton especially was annoying. He is written as a one-note shrill lunatic. Mutnodjmet and Nefertiti's relationship, the supposed centerpiece of the story, isn't interesting. It seems to be trying for the level of the "Other Boleyn Girl", and at times it seemed like elements of that story were borrowed for this, but none of it worked: Nefertiti's desperation for a son, the family meetings, Mutnodjmet's loyalty to the family interest...I've read it before in a much better written book.

For anyone looking for an original take on the Amarna period I'd recommend Pauline Gedge's "The Twelfth Transforming". It has some elements disturbing to my modern sensibilities (father's marrying daughters), but it is extremely well-written and the setting is totally believeable. I would definitely recommend any of Pauline Gedge's Egypt-set books especially "Lady of the Reeds", which is set in a different reign. I read that in one sitting.
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57 of 66 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not so beautiful Nefertiti, August 28, 2007
This review is from: Nefertiti: A Novel (Hardcover)
Nefertiti, alas, reminded me of a romance thriller, but more pretentious and less "thrilling" than that genre. Almost nothing about the book rang true. Change the names, the setting, and a few plot points, and the entire thing could have taken place in any ancient kingdom. Very disappointing.

I enjoy books on ancient Egypt very much, and had high hopes for this book, which were unfulfilled. To experience the grandeur and mysteries of ancient Egypt, definitely skip this book and get any of the wonderful books by Pauline Gedge. Now, there's a writer who can make ancient Egypt live again.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A captivating tale about a cunning Egyptian queen, January 27, 2008
By 
Melissa Niksic (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nefertiti: A Novel (Hardcover)
"Nefertiti" is an amazing novel about one of Egypt's most legendary rulers. This is the tale of Nefertiti's ambitious rise to the throne, but it's also the story of the relationship between two sisters. Nefertiti's half-sister, Mutnodjmet, is the narrator of the book, which chronicles Nefertiti's marriage to Prince Amunhotep until the time of her death. Similarly to "The Other Boleyn Girl," author Michelle Moran depicts two sisters who are as different as night and day, but ultimately will do anything for each other. Nefertiti is calculating and shrewd, and she plots with her father to keep her family in favor with the Pharaoh and make sure that his second wife, Kiya, stays out of the picture. However, Mutnodjmet doesn't approve of her family's deceitfulness, and she also yearns for a life of her own that amounts to more than being her sister's handmaiden.

Eventually, things in Egypt begin spiralling out of control. The Pharaoh and his queen seek to transform religion in their country by raising their god, Aten, up above all others. The rulers also display extreme vanity, having sculptures and murals created in their likeness and placed all over a new city they built as a tribute to Aten. Aided by her family, Nefertiti will stop at nothing to secure ultimate power for herself, and even manages to obtain the title of Pharaoh. However, tragedy eventually comes calling, and everything Nefertiti worked so hard to achieve hangs in the balance.

This is a fantastic book that's extremely exciting and readable. It's obvious that the author took many liberties with historical facts and also speculated about a lot of things, but judging this book purely as a work of fiction, "Nefertiti" is wonderfully gripping and entertaining. I couldn't put it down!
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56 of 65 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Shallow characters and simplistic story, August 2, 2007
This review is from: Nefertiti: A Novel (Hardcover)
After reading the great reviews, I purchased this book and was very disappointed. I'm an avid reader of historical fiction and found this book lacking in depth. I found the writing, especially the dialog between the characters (especially Nefertiti and her sister) to be very juvenile and unbelievable. After reading 'I, Mona Lisa', 'The Secret Supper' and 'Wisdom's Daughter', I found this to be inferior.
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78 of 93 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not so Nefer Nefertiti, August 2, 2007
This review is from: Nefertiti: A Novel (Hardcover)
Possessing an Art Historian M.A. concentrated in Egyptian Art and Archaeology, I am interested in all things Ancient Egyptian. The Eighteenth Dynasty, of which Nefertiti is a part, is especially my area of expertise. Once I heard about this new writing I pre-ordered the item and eagerly looked forward to it's release date and shipping. After an uncomfortable reading of the book's first 50 pages or so, I began skimming through subsequent pages rapidly to see if the story, the characters, the pacing or even the prose style would generate any improvement as the tale unfolded, but alas, to no avail.
It is a given, in most cases, that novels such as this will often contain minor (and sometimes major) distortions of historical authenticity. They are after all, novels. The Eighteenth Dynasty, especially the years of which were dominated by the "heretic" king Akhenaten and his fascinating queen, Nefertiti, is an especially enigmatic era in Ancient Egyptian history, filled with speculations, theories and questions that will probably never be answered. It is the very fact that so much is indeed known about the Amarna royals that so many "ideas" about character motivation, personal agendas and solutions as to what "really" happened abound in historical fiction. It has been said that more ink has been spilt over Akhenaten, Nefertiti and Tutankhamen than any other figures in all three thousand years of Ancient Egypt's reconstructed recorded history.This period has proven to be fertile ground for ideas and theories that create a basis for some darn good "yarns" often whether they are "historicaslly accurate" or not. If only such forms of inaccuracy or theory were the points that give me pause in this author's dismally abstruse writing or logic.
All of Ms. Moran's ideas about what made her characters tick are creative exercises so it is not proper or valid to find fault in that regard. The book itself, however reads as if it were penned by a grade school applicant to a writing competition. The dialogue is juvenile, the feelings of the characters, as defined by Moran's prose, are as shallow and thin as the paper they are printed on and the ultimate plot is virtually pointless. The delicate and irrational links that bind the two sister protagonists of this mish mash are not believeable, credible or even interesting. And the climax of this boring and silly book is, quite simply put, ridiculous. How anyone who has done even the slightest research into pharaonic times, (as Moran is highly touted as having done in the advertising of her novel,) would expect a reader to believe that the king of Egypt could be quarantined until he dies is beyond comprehension. Who would have the power to perform such an act? The Pharaoh was a god and could not be touched, let alone be left to die in some sealed up room while everyone just dumbly looked on. And as for the actions that provoked his denouement, well they are based on his rampage through the holy city of the Aten to destroy images of the rival god Amen. This is simply beyond credibility. Where would he look for such images to destroy? The fact that a few images of folk gods have indeed been found at "Amarna" are probably the basis of such an idea by the author, but it is streched beyond all hope in this case. Not even "poetic license" can be claimed as reason for such infantile dramatics on the part of the writer or the character. It's tripe.
Save yourself, o reader of Egyptian lore, or reader of fiction (or any type of reader) that you may be from this jejeune and corny and cutesy-boo nonsense. Save your money and watch T.V. instead. It will certainly rot your brain more slowly than this sorry excuse for literature and be immenently more absorbing to boot.
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52 of 61 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bored and Disappointed, September 6, 2007
This review is from: Nefertiti: A Novel (Hardcover)
I pre-ordered this book because I love Egyptian history and was looking forward to learning more about Amunhotep's and Nefertiti's reign. I just finished the book and thought it was dreadful. The central character was not Nefertiti, but her sister who was the only sympathetic character in the entire novel. Nefertiti and Amunhotep were portrayed as completely deranged, sociopathic even. I found it very hard to believe that anyone would follow them and renounce the God Amun in favor of the God Aten. Granted, history tells us that this had actually happened during their reign, but there was nothing to me to demonstrate any of their charm or ability to persuade especially something as meaningful as changing who or what a country worships!

The writing was not inspired in my opinion. There were barely any inner monologues or description of anything around them. It was told mostly through conversation and I was so tired of reading the conversations that I grew bored with most of it. There were also mistakes in the text that distracted me. There was this one place when Mutney had told someone she was 14 then the next scene she and Nefertiti are arguing and Mutney screams that she is 13. I know that's a minor thing, but extremely annoying. Very rarely will I stop reading a book once I get halfway through it so I finished it, but can't recommend it.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Author Tries Too Hard to Show Off Her Knowledge, January 13, 2008
By 
A. Smith (Knoxville, Tennessee) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nefertiti: A Novel (Hardcover)
Overall this book is a good read and I enjoyed it. That being said, I would have enjoyed it more if the author had tried not to over-describe certain parts of the story. I felt as though she was more concerned with impressing the reader with her knowledge of Egypt than she was with telling a story.

I do think the take on telling Nefertiti's story from the perspective of her sister is unique, and the story is quite interesting. I recommend this book if you don't mind having every detail of the time period thrown at you...sometimes appropriately, sometimes not.
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51 of 61 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Same book????, September 27, 2007
This review is from: Nefertiti: A Novel (Hardcover)
I bought this after reading the rave reviews. I wonder if they even read the book. It reads like a dime store novel and Nefertiti is a cross between Paris Hilton and Leona Helmsley. And any historical background of ancient Egypt is missing. It could have taken place in Las Vegas. Don't waste your money. Buy George's "Cleopatra" instead.
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49 of 63 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Horrible historical blunders! A Junior High Teen Novella!, September 22, 2007
By 
Christina L. Bogle "calamityja" (San Diego, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nefertiti: A Novel (Hardcover)
After having a hopeful outlook on this book, (we do need more Ancient Egyptian books on the shelves), this one, Nefertiti started out bad, and just became WORSE!

I found the premise of having two sisters Nefertiti and Mutnodjemt just tedious. Nefertiti comes off as being a snotty, overindulged child, while "Muty" is happy to be shuffled off into the background during the whole story. Acting as a "spy" for her parents, trying to counter Kiya's and her father, the High Vizier's machinations? What? And HERB GARDENS? Is this the middle ages? So lavender really WAS grown in Egypt??? Huh? I was laughing out loud at the descriptions of the palace with it's gilt and gold walls and furnishings. The palace of Malkata was built of mudbrick! And was probably painted with scenes of daily life, not statues and gold works all over the walls, and tapestries???

I just shook my head ruefully and got to the middle of the book and had to just close it and write it off as another blunder in historical fiction. Oh, perhaps Kiya really was that evil? And Nefertiti's desperate urge to "produce a son," becomes grating on the nerves! "Oh, I have to one-up my RIVAL!" In all actuallity, Kiya and Nefertiti in real life probably would have never had anything to do with each other, both probably having thier own quarters at Amarna and harems.

Also, the "fighting" over Akenaten is just hilarious! No mention of any deformities of the king, or such. Nefertiti just comes off as a huge snob, and "Muty" is a weak kneed milksop.

Enjoy if you like fluffy puffed up fake fairy tales!
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Nefertiti: A Novel
Nefertiti: A Novel by Michelle Moran (Paperback - May 27, 2008)
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