Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

I've read a lot of books this year (well, a lot for me), and I feel lucky because I enjoyed a good number of them. Out of these 60 or so books, Michelle Moran's Nefertiti is my favorite. This was my first foray into historical fiction that wasn't a war novel, and I was hooked from page one.

Nefertiti's quest for power as the chief wife of Amunhotep IV is told from the point of view of her beloved younger sister, Mutnodjmet. Nefertiti was supposed to rein in Amunhotep, but she wound up indulging his every whim. It doesn't take long for the pair to replace Egypt's polytheistic religion with a monotheistic one centered on Aten, the sun. Nefertiti's desire to be more powerful than the queens before her and even her husband, to hell with the consequences, ultimately leads to her downfall.

While she is a cold, unlikeable character at many points in the book, Nefertiti is fascinating. She is a strong women who knows how to get her way, mostly through charm and manipulation. Because her story is told by her sister, Mutny, who loves Nefertiti unconditionally and whose loyalty to her sister pulls her away from the quiet life she desires with her true love General Nakhtmin, the reader is able to feel some sympathy for the overbearing queen when tragedy strikes.

I don't want to give away too much of the plot; I knew nothing about the real Nefertiti when I opened the book, and I think that made it more enjoyable to read. I had no idea what would happen next. Moran does a brilliant job painting a portrait of ancient Egypt. I could see the scenes in my mind, and I got caught up in the story as if I were there. At first, it was hard to keep all the Egyptian names straight, but the family tree in the front was a big help. The long names didn't stop me from being absorbed by the story, though.

It's obvious Moran did her homework and visited the tombs in Egypt, and her writing is flawless. I've read several reviews saying her second book, The Heretic Queen, the sequel to Nefertiti, is even better. I'll be reading that one soon, and I bet I'm in for a real treat!

Read an excerpt from Nefertiti here.
Learn about the real Nefertiti here, and read an interview with Moran on her site here.

Nefertiti also was reviewed by:

A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore
At Home With Books
Book Addiction
Chain Reading
Creative Madness (Q&A With Michelle Moran)
Peeking Between the Pages
S. Krishna's Books
Stephanie's Written Word

Did I miss your review? Please put a link in the comments, and I'll add it to the list!

Michelle Moran, author of Nefertiti, will be a guest blogger at Diary of an Eccentric tomorrow! She'll be offering a paperback copy of the book to one lucky reader, so come back tomorrow for all the details.

Disclosure:  I won a copy of Nefertiti in a blog contest.


Ladytink_534 said...

I just finished this one last month. Liked it even more than I thought I would!

Literary Feline said...

This is one of my favorite reads this year too. :-) I really identified with Mutny. The book also got me curious about the historical events mentioned in the book and so I went on a little research spree after reading it. That's always fun (I think). Great review!

Anonymous said...

I haven't read it yet, but after reading it's your favorite, I see I need to make time to get to it soon.

Julie P. said...

I loved THE HERETIC QUEEN. NEFERTITI is our February book club pick. We are going to have an author chat with Ms. Moran -- I can't wait!

The Tome Traveller said...

I loved both of these books, the author is now one of my favorites!

Ana S. said...

I've heard so many great things about this book. I'm really glad to hear you loved it so much, Anna. I really look forward to reading it.

Serena said...

I haven't read this yet, but I hope to in the midst of all those war books we'll be reading.

I can't wait to read it.

CherryBlossomMJ said...

I just loved both Nefertiti and The Heretic Queen. My review of THQ is over here, I do not really have a full review of Nefertiti, but I do have a good Q&A with Michelle Moran.

Creative Madness

Anonymous said...

Isn't this the book you won from me? I am so glad you liked it. It was one of my favorite books this year also!

Anonymous said...

Great review! Can't wait to read it myself.

Darlene said...

I've read both and absolutely loved both! I'm a fan of Michelle's writing for sure and what makes it even better is how kind she is to people.

Great review Anna. Are you going to fit The Heretic Queen in soon too?

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you liked Nefertiti so much! Thanks for linking to my review. :)

Mea Culpa Bath and Body said...

The real Nefertiti has always fascinated me! All the mystery around her and you can really see by some left images of hers (mostly they are destroyed) that she was not a push over and a very strong individual. You really got me interested in this book now :-)


The Bookworm said...

I've seen this one around and it looks very good.
Great review!

Anonymous said...

Awesome review.. I love Historical Fiction :) and I have been thinking of buying this one too :)

I have heard good things... and your reviews make me want to get it sooner than later :)

Lust for power always in some way or the other, brings about the downfall :)

Great Review as always Anna :)

Tricia said...

This is on my list to read, so I will definitely be back for more tomorrow! ;)

Laura said...

Wow--out of 60 books this year, this was your favorite! I sure am glad I recently bought it! I'm hoping to read it early in 2009, and I've read only good reviews of this book!

Anonymous said...

the Romans liked to eat a fish sauce called garum which was made from fermented fish.

Really? Yuck!

How do archeologists find about the hair color - flaming red hair! Gosh, this is intriguing!

but to see red hair on a mummy in person was something else entirely.

I can't believe that the red hair can be "seen".. damn.. I can't believe this! I want to go to Egypt!

Today, the original treaty, written in cuneiform and discovered in Hattusas, is displayed in the United Nations building in New York to serve as a reminder of the rewards of diplomacy.

Just WOW! Absolutely awesome!

There’s nothing I like better than being surprised and having my preconceptions crumble, because if I’m surprised, it’s likely that the reader will be surprised as well.
You are so right Ms. Author!

Oh I like this author so much, just reading this has made me WANT to read more :) I hope to get it from here... if I don't ... I will Buy it :)
For sure!

Thanks Anna.. this was the best post :)
Loved loved it!
I love historical fiction I have read The Triumph of Deborah and LOVED it :)

I am NOW reading, King's Fool by Margaret Campbell Barnes.. and it is also an engrossing read :-)

I have blogged about the 2 giveaways that I am entering at

So there u go.. i just so want to Win ;) :) :)

Thanks Anna.. u have some of the Best-est giveaways :)

Wendi said...

Oh - I'd love to read Nefertiti!! I've got The Heretic Queen on my tbr pile - can't wait to read it. :)

By the way . . .

Anna - you were one of the winners of Flirting With Forty over at my blog: Wendi's Book Corner!!
Here is the winners announcement!

You won a copy of Flirting With Forty!! Please PM me your your address so I can forward it to the publisher!

:) Wendi
wbarker @ hotmail.com

Corinne said...

Man, this one looks so great. I have it on my list!!

Anna said...

Ladytink: I was a little hesitant when I picked it up because I really wasn't interested in Egyptian history and I thought the names would slow me down. But then it ends up being my favorite book of the year!

Literary Feline: Thanks! I loved Mutny. I'm glad Moran told the story from her POV.

Bermudaonion: I can't wait for you to read it! I hope you enjoy it!

Julie: Michelle is a gem. I'm sure it will be a great chat!

Tome Traveller: She's now one of my favorites, too!

Nymeth: I hope you get a chance to read it. I'd love to hear what you think.

Serena: You better read it soon so we can have another lunchtime book discussion!

Cherry Blossom: Thanks for the links. I'll go add them now!

Stephanie: Yes! And thanks again!

Lisa: Thanks! I hope you like it as much as I did.

Dar: I'll be reviewing The Heretic Queen next month, and Michelle will be back with another guest post! I'm so excited! Isn't she great?

Heather: You're welcome!

Mea Culpa: Thanks for stopping by my blog! I did some research on the real Nefertiti after reading the book, and I agree that's she's fascinating.

Naida: Thanks!

Veens: I hope you get to read this one soon. I know you'll love it!

Tricia: I hope you enjoy the guest post!

Laura: I'm looking forward to your review!!

Wendi: Thanks so much!

Corinne: Hope you get a chance to read it soon!