Hidden...Traveling with two of her dearest friends, including the crown prince’s brother, who helped her escape, Nefertiti takes shelter in the wild hills along the Nile’s west bank. She must rely on her own resourcefulness and skills (all those secret archery lessons prove very useful) as the fugitives fight to survive.
Haunted...But the need for justice gnaws at Nefertiti. She is determined to plead her case to the Pharaoh and set things right. As she begins to question long-held sacred beliefs—a questioning that could alter the fabric of Egyptian society—her extraordinary journey from commoner to royalty brings adventure, intrigue, and romance.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 boxes
Target Audience: Mainstream YA fans, devourers of historical fiction...anyone, really
High point: The blend of myth and fact
Low point: The excitement was missing
Reader maturity: 13+
Much as I love YA historical fiction (especially that written by Esther Friesner), Sphinx's Queen was lacking something that it's predecessor, Sphinx's Princess, possessed. I can't put my finger on what it is because it's well-written and the plot and characterization are in line with what occurred in Sphinx's Princess but I couldn't manage to get excited about it.
There were lots of things I loved; for instance, the novel contains many mentions of Egyptian customs and events that are fascinating and play naturally into the events of the story. Esther Friesner also does a wonderful job of including discussions of the Egyptian gods and the "Habiru" god while remaining perfectly respectful and neutral. As for the ending, it was a wonderful place to leave our hero and heroine. Though unsurprising, it was satisfying.
These positive aspects are why I can't decide what I didn't love about Sphinx's Queen. I think I summed it up best in the first paragraph of this review--I just couldn't get excited over it. Perhaps I wasn't in the mood for a historical at the time and didn't realize it. But as for you, fellow readers, if you enjoy historical fiction, I'd still recommend it.
Title: Spinx's Queen
Author: Esther Friesner
Genre: Fiction - Historical
Book Source: Purchased