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Cleopatra's Shadows (A Fall of Egypt Novel)…
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Cleopatra's Shadows (A Fall of Egypt Novel) (edition 2015)

by Emily Holleman (Author)

Series: Fall of Egypt (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1669139,177 (3)9
Page-turning historical fiction that reimagines the beginnings of Cleopatra's epic saga through the eyes of her younger sister. Before Caesar and the carpet, before Antony and Actium, before Octavian and the asp, there was Arsinoe. Abandoned by her beloved Cleopatra and an indifferent father, young Arsinoe must fight for her survival in the bloodthirsty royal court when her half-sister Berenice seizes Egypt's throne. Even as the quick-witted girl wins Berenice's favor, a new specter haunts her days-dark dreams that have a habit of coming true. To survive, she escapes the palace for the war-torn streets of Alexandria. Meanwhile, Berenice confronts her own demons as she fights to maintain power. When their deposed father Ptolemy marches on the city with a Roman army, both daughters must decide where their allegiances truly lie, and Arsinoe grapples with the truth, that the only way to survive her dynasty is to rule it.… (more)
Member:Thebeautifulsea
Title:Cleopatra's Shadows (A Fall of Egypt Novel)
Authors:Emily Holleman (Author)
Info:Little, Brown and Company (2015), 353 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:None

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Cleopatra's Shadows by Emily Holleman

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» See also 9 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
“I don't think that being unafraid is the same as being brave. I think bravery is when you go on even though you are frightened. -Alexander tells Arsinoe”

Cleopatra's Shadows (Fall of Egypt #1)
by Emily Holleman

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have always adored books on Cleopatra. I also love literature on Egypt in general.

Through the years I have read so many books on Cleopatra, with "I Cleopatra" by William Bostwick being one of my all time favorite reads.

This book, Cleopatra's Shadows, is a bit different. It concentrates, not on Cleopatra, but on two of her sisters, Berenice and Arsinoe.

King Ptolemy, their father, has been forced into exile, along with Cleopatra. Berenice, the elder daughter, has seized the thrown. Arsinoe has been left behind and is struggling to make sense of these new circumstances in which she finds herself .

I should also note that this is reimagined fiction. Many of the things that occur in this book did not actually take place or are questionable. For example, in reality there was a fourth sister, Cleopatra Tryphaena.

The book alternates between the two sisters and is told from both their POVS. It should be noted that Cleopatra herself is barely in it.

It was interesting reading about the two sisters because there is so much literature about Cleopatra herself and less about the sisters.

I LOVED Cleopatra's Shadow. I found the writing incredible, the characters wholly fleshed out and human and I loved reading this book.

You know a book is good..or great..when you are sad that it ends. I wish Cleopatra's Shadows could have been longer. I have heard this is part of a series and I hope that is true.

SPOILERS:

Although I liked reading about both sisters, I did prefer the POV of Berenice. With Arsinoe, it did get a little tedious, with her continued visions, tutoring with Ganymedes and friendship with Alexander.

Berenice on the other hand..I did not tire of reading about her as she was written so well. Kudos to the writer for that. She was such a compelling character in all her raw loneliness and desire for love and tenderness. She was so virtually bereft of self awareness that it was almost touching. I found her to be a multi faceted complex character.

The characters are many but they are all unique. I loved reading about all the palace intrigue. This is an outstanding piece of writing that I would recommend for any lover of Historical Fiction and especially any fan of Cleopatra or Egyptian History. There is so much here to enjoy and I would give this book 45. stars. ( )
  Thebeautifulsea | Aug 5, 2022 |
Ends with an opening for a follow up novel, but I won't give any spoilers. Cleopatra, her myth famed in various mediums, has siblings. This novel shares the fictionalized stories of two of her sisters. Two points of view, with similar tone and voice, one short period of time. If you enjoy historical fiction, historical romance, are curious about the time frame, or Ms. Cleo and her fam -- I suggest picking up this novel. ( )
  SleepyBooksandCakes | Aug 22, 2020 |
I knew that Cleopatra had two sisters, but this novel written from the perspectives of her older sister Bernice and her younger sister Arsinoe was a unique treat. Cleopatra is a off-stage character for the majority of the novel and instead the focus is on Bernice, who has usurped her father Ptolemy's throne and must now defend Egypt against a Roman-backed invasion, and Arsinoe, who must negotiate Bernice's treacherous court at a young age. An interesting read, although I would not recommend it to anyone who does not possess an interest in Ancient Egypt. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Feb 7, 2016 |
The story alternates narrators between Arsine, the younger sister, and Berenice, the older sister who seizes the pharaoh's crown. Berenice must struggle to rule her fickle kingdom as she frets that her father will return from Rome with an army to remove her.

Arsine struggles with the heartbreak of being the unwanted daughter. Both her mother and her father have deserted her and left her at Berenice's mercy. She is a very strong minded young girl and quickly became my favourite character.

There is nothing in the back of the book to indicate this is the start of a series, however the story itself makes me think there is more to come. If there is I will be pleased to read it to find out what happens to these sisters in the next instalment. ( )
  Roro8 | Jan 14, 2016 |
In alternating chapters Berenice (King Ptolemy’s daughter from his sister wife Tryphaena) and Arsinoe (her young half-sister by his concubine) tell their stories.

Berenice has harbored an intense hatred and thirst for revenge on her father for turning his back on her mother, siring children with his concubine, and forgetting all about her. With the help of her mother she orchestrates a coup, wresting the Alexandrian throne from the King, forcing him to flee with his favorite daughter Cleopatra.

Arsinoe was a young girl of 8, very close with her older sister Cleopatra and extremely naive. When her deposed father and sister sailed away and left her behind she was forced to grow up, depending on her own strengths for the first time in her life.

Both Berenice and Arsinoe face many difficulties in the changed world in which they find themselves. Both have eunuchs who rule their lives, both dislike their mothers, both feel alone and abandoned, and both find hidden strengths which help them combat the disorder of a changed kingdom while growing up without a parental hand.

“Cleopatra’s Shadows” is supposed to be based on Arsinoe, someone the historical record has largely ignored. However, despite strengths she sometimes showed, most of the book was filled with depictions of her strange dreams, which could easily have been left out of the narrative. I found them to be superfluous, and wish it had focused more on her and Cleopatra as the title intimates. I actually found myself drawn more to Berenice and her lonely search for love.

Recommended for Adults.

Book review blog link: https://shouldireaditornot.wordpress.com/2016/01/10/cleopatras-shadow-emily-holl... ( )
  sunshinealma | Jan 10, 2016 |
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"But even on her the Fates: the grey everlasting Fates rode hard" (Sophocles, Antigone)
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For my sisters
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She soared over the city, parched and desolate.
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Page-turning historical fiction that reimagines the beginnings of Cleopatra's epic saga through the eyes of her younger sister. Before Caesar and the carpet, before Antony and Actium, before Octavian and the asp, there was Arsinoe. Abandoned by her beloved Cleopatra and an indifferent father, young Arsinoe must fight for her survival in the bloodthirsty royal court when her half-sister Berenice seizes Egypt's throne. Even as the quick-witted girl wins Berenice's favor, a new specter haunts her days-dark dreams that have a habit of coming true. To survive, she escapes the palace for the war-torn streets of Alexandria. Meanwhile, Berenice confronts her own demons as she fights to maintain power. When their deposed father Ptolemy marches on the city with a Roman army, both daughters must decide where their allegiances truly lie, and Arsinoe grapples with the truth, that the only way to survive her dynasty is to rule it.

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