desert god book coverReviewed by Jessa Larsen

Taita, a former slave, now adviser to the Pharaoh, has found himself deep within a swirling storm of intrigue and danger. He hopes to successfully plot against the Hyksos army, ultimately destroying an imminent threat to his beloved Egypt. His quest to form an alliance with Crete takes him on an epic journey up the Nile, through Arabia and Babylon, and across the sea. The future of Egypt lies upon the shoulders of himself and the princess, siblings to  the Pharaoh, and Taita must complete his quest successfully lest what he knows of Egypt is utterly destroyed.

Desert God is the fifth in an Ancient Egypt series that most assumed to be completed with the fourth book. I have not read them, but luckily they appear to work decently as stand alone pieces. For those of us who haven’t read any of the previous books, Desert God is an intriguing mix of historical fiction and Ancient Egyptian religion/mythology. I am a sucker for good mythology and learning about ancient religions, so on that piece, I loved that Smith intertwined these aspects within his work. He brilliantly tucked them in without making it overwhelming and/or unrealistic.

My only complaint was the random sprinkling of Taita’s overly unrealistic – at least in my opinion – status in his society and his potential demi-god nature. Maybe it’s because I didn’t read any of the other books, but it just seemed a bit odd to me that a former slave would rise to the ranks of speaking for Pharaoh, being absolutely brilliant, an incredible linguist, and have a few God-like powers. I didn’t expect full reality, as this is a work of fiction, but it was just a little too much for me.

I also felt like the author tossed in a very abrupt climatic ending. I would have preferred for the story to progress just a little bit quicker and make a bigger fuss about the big climatic event at the end. I also would have liked to see an epilogue so that I didn’t end up with such an abrupt end to the story. Overall, I loved the book and would definitely like to go back and read some of the earlier books in the series.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Jessa lives in Utah with her husband, 2 sons, 2 dogs and a cat called Number One Boots Kitten. She is a full time mom and enjoys writing short stories in her spare time. She also likes watching anime, reading books, and playing video games.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.