Chosen - Book Review
YA Historical Fantasy
(Cleo book #2)
UK Publisher: Orchard Books
Two warring deities, one Pharaoh’s throne… and the beginning of the world’s greatest love story.
Tryphena is dead, evil Berenice and her dark demon God hold the Pharaoh’s throne - so Cleo must flee the city of her birth and seek out her patron goddesses before it’s too late to save Egypt. Not only must she make her way across the desert to restore Isis’s power, but her goddess also commands her to raise two armies before taking a ship across the Great Green Sea to find her exiled father in Rome. The weight of royalty is increasingly heavy on Cleo’s shoulders - and impossible, scary decisions lie ahead…
Now in possession of the sacred map, Cleo flees into the desert to free her Goddesses and restore their power. Only then can peace reign once more throughout Egypt. But with her evil sister, Tryphena dead, and Benenice and her demon-possessed husband in control of the double-throne, bringing back peace and prosperity to the land will not be as easy as Cleo thinks.
Now charged with raising an army, and tasked with returning her father to Egypt so that she may take up her place as his queen and rightful co-ruler, Cleo must now declare war on sister. But first she must travel across the seas to Rome, where both her heart, and her destiny await…
I really enjoyed this book! The second and final part of a duo, the story depicts the fictional life of a young Cleopatra, and through Cleo’s eyes, Lucy Coats really brought the ancient world to life. With prayers, customs and a few facts spread throughout the text, it was an educational as well as page turning read.
Cleo has changed a lot since we first met her. After finding her courage and surviving trials brought about by both man and Gods, she has developed confidence and a regal air, giving her a commanding presence. Although beneath her tough exterior, she is still the uncertain, humorous, dancing girl we first came to love. Yet watching her make this transition from timid mouse to leader of a rebel army, it was glorious.
Her romantic relationship with Khai also added charm to the story, especially with the arrival of Mark Antony, Cleo’s destined mate. However I liked that this story was still fundamentally about Cleo and Khai, and the sad acknowledgement that while Khai will always be by Cleo’s side, her fate is too great for him. Yet he will always be her first love.
Cleo’s best friend Charm was also there as a sound voice of reason, and with the arrival of new characters—she also found a love interest of her own in Iras. A quirky, warrior woman with a sharp wit and quick tongue. Not only did the romance between the two feel natural, but it was a relationship I wholly supported, even though it came as a surprise to both the reader… and Cleo herself :)
Otherwise the plot moved at a good pace with plenty of action and intrigue. Also with much of the story taking place in a war zone, it was inevitable that some characters would die, however it certainly ups the tension when you don’t know who will and will not make it.
However I still think that it is the younger end of the YA market who will enjoy this book the most. As I said in my review of the first book, CLEO, the language used by the characters is very modern and is easy to relate to. Lucy Coats also dips into the shady topics of periods, ancient toilet systems and the sheer awkwardness of being a girl, that I’m sure many non-male readers would appreciate.
All in all - a great historical read that girls of all ages would enjoy. 4 stars! I can’t wait to see what Lucy Coats will throw at us next :)