Song of the Nile is the second book by Stephanie Dray, and continues Cleopatra Selene’s story. It begins on day of Selene’s wedding to Juba, when she is merely 15 years old. Though she doesn’t love Juba, she has little control over who the emperor Augustus has chosen for her. On the night of her wedding, Augustus claims her for his own. Juba is angered and blames Selene for her rape, though she had no power to stop it.
Selene still longs to be restored as the rightful ruler of Egypt, but in the meantime proves herself a more than worthy leader of her new home, Mauretania. Though she is far from Caesar, his wishes and desires still haunt her. Selene enters into a dangerous game with him, all with the end goal of claiming Egypt. With the magic of Isis coursing through her veins, it is only a matter of time before Selene will ultimately gain what is rightfully hers.
Much more grown up than she was in Lily of the Nile, Selene is a much more likable character. I had great sympathy for her in what Caesar put her through, and found him absolutely despicable. Dray convincingly gives such depth to these characters that one might think this is exactly how they spoke and behaved.
Song of the Nile has a little bit of everything: action, romance, and politics, magic, and familial legacy. I loved seeing Selene embrace motherhood, and I loved her love story with Helios. I also loved the part that Isis plays, even though it is subtle. I don’t know this period of history very well, so I will be waiting anxiously for Dray’s next novel to see how everything turns out for these characters.
Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Berkley Trade. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.