Nefertiti by Michelle Moran 

“A Tale of two sisters and all of Egypt lies before them”

Michelle Moran’s first four books are what I would call peak historical fiction. Her 5th is what I call damn good historical fiction and those after are pretty good too.

This is my review of her first book. Nefertiti.

Non spoiler Summary: “Nefertiti and her sister Mutnojmet are half sisters born into the family that provides Pharaoh with his queens, though they are close they are very very different… And as a new pharaoh rises, one that threatens to destroy the Egypt currently known, Both sisters have to find their place in history. In doing so everything will be tested from their bonds, to their unique abilities, and their very lives. 

(very minor spoilers can be found from now on)

The thing I love about Michele Morans’ historical fiction (At least the first several books) Is It can bring the era to life on a more solid level than any other historical fiction writer I’ve seen. It’s not just the characters that are the focus. It’s the place. The world of the story itself is incredibly vivid… a place you can travel to by reading the books. Moran likes to travel to the places her story is set as much as possible and it shows. Many works of historical fiction try to give you a sense of place and succeed, Morran just manages hers a lot more… I’m not sure what word can be used but solid. Like if the characters were to suddenly vanish the world would still be there.

Speaking of characters… Nefertiti is full of ones that feel like real people. I would put her characterization abilities around Tamora pierce and L.A. Meyer. (Whose books I will also eventually be reviewing don’t you worry) So basically she is one of the best. 

Nefertiti focused on two sisters Mutnodjmet (whose name we now know was Mutbenret) and Nefertiti and their fate in a world under religious revolution (the Amarna era of Egypt where the pharaoh temporarily struck down all gods but one called Aten) The book takes place from the perspective of Mutnodjmet 

One of the things I like is how the book explores a semi-toxic personality. Very few books I have found explore fully toxic personalities. You know, The people who try to manipulate everything, focus only on themselves, cause drama, and play with people’s heads. Nefertiti is not full on one but there are hints of it which is interesting to me. Akhenaten is slightly one in different way one could argue. However, he is more selfish than anything not a full-on narcissist or mind game user.

I also love the actual uses of herbs they bring up Mutnodjmet using as she is a healer with them. It’s fascinating and, let us be honest, good for anyone who ever plays a character who is skilled in these things.

I also love using the viewpoint character choice of Mutnodjmet who is not very happy with what is going on around her and tends to like to stay out of politics in a world where she is surrounded by them and somewhat pushed into them.

Above all I would say this is a story whose theme is family; The ties that bind us, and our choices to follow them or walk free of them and pursue our own path. Its backdrop is a world that has been stable for thousands of years suddenly being thrown into chaos by the will of one powerful man. It focuses on the consequences of such a decision and the difference between selfish and selfless love. 

I would recommend this book greatly to almost anyone. I think it is suitable for most ages teen and up as well.  

All and All, I had to struggle if I should give it five or four and a half stars. I’m still not sure of my decision. But five stars it looks like it will be. 

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