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S and domestic politics her heart becomes ever troubled Her daughter Neferure distant and strange since infancy is chosen by one goddess in particular Hathor the Sovereign of Stars she who wears seven faces and not all her faces are gentle Her fight to retain her hold on power peace and Neferure will carry her on an incomparable jour I loved this third installment of this series I finished it too uickly This is one of those stories where you want it to be longer because you want to keep reading about the characters because you feel so involved in the story I love the character development and the rich Egyptian history details Truly can t get enough Can t wait to read the final installment but sad that it will be the final installment

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Sovereign of Stars The She King #3

Ney from Egypt's Black Land across the deadly heat of the Red Land over the sea to the legendary kingdom of Punt There in the god's own valley she must confront the bleakness of fate the totality of loss and the terrifying frailty of eternity L M Ironside's celebrated saga of the Thutmosides continues with Book Three Sovereign of Sta That ending TT I think my only complaint with this book is how Neferure went for a dive off the deep end She killed her own father for crying out loud Everything else everyone else was absolutely perfect Especially Thutmose oh I loved him And his new wife Thank heavens for strong capable men and strong capable women like them Now to grab the final book and finish the series

Libbie Hawker Ú 6 review

Hatshepsut has fulfilled her divine destiny and taken the Pharaoh's throne But she knows her position is precarious In all Egypt's long history never has a woman ruled as king and Hatshepsut must use all the cleverness and bravery at her disposal to keep the reins of power from tangling in her fist As she wrestles with foreign enemie I m afraid I have to say I m disappointed again I feel bad writing that when I read Libbie Hawker s debut book The Sekhmet Bed a few years ago I thought it showed promise although it had some problems mainly being hampered by the sisters rivalry designed to appeal to mainstream publishers and after re reading it recently I revised my rating downwards by a star as I was better able to identify the areas that needed polish That book became the first in a four book series When I read The Crook and the Flail I was delighted that it had chucked the tropey catfighting but the writing felt like it still wasn t up to scratch I think pacing might be at the root cause of it all or else the limitations of total page count because the story raced along at breakneck speed hardly giving the reader time to get into a scene before moving on As a result the setting felt thinly sketched the cast was small riddled by stock characters with even the protagonists lacking in depth and personality and the plot lacked tension and risk It felt like a mist of implausibility hung over that book Sovereign of Stars is the third book in the series and I approached it with some trepidation after previous experiences Unfortunately once again it was a mixed bag To be sure it had its strong points which I ll discuss but the negative points some of which carried over from the previous book in my opinion outweighed the positiveLet s address the positive aspects first I am firmly onboard with Libbie s mother son relationship between Hatshepsut and Thutmose III In the mid 20th century Egyptologists thought that Thutmose III erased Hatshepsut s monuments because she had stolen his throne and he chafed under his evil stepmother That hypothesis has been LONG since overturned We know now that the erasure came towards the end of Thutmose s 32 year solo reign hardly a deed done in fury and that it was precise in its execution Only public mentions of Hatshepsut as king were removed ones of her as ueen and a few hidden ones of her as king survived all suggesting that Thutmose was not harbouring a grudge and did not want to destroy Hatshepsut s ka but rather that it was a cold political matter possibly having to do with the ancient Egyptians concept of ma at order or the possible existence of another royal branch descended from primary ueens that had a stronger claim than Thutmose son of a concubine and his own father also being the son of a concubine Despite this many Hatshepsut novels are content to hang on the easy option of presenting a clich d evil stepmother tale however tired and old it may be So Hawker s depiction of an amicable relationship between Hatshepsut and Thutmose is not only a fresh change from usual but it is also historically accurateSpeaking of historical accuracy in the author s note Hawker admits to altering certain facts in the story such as moving forward the year when the obelisks were created and the year of the expedition to Punt I don t have a problem with that it s a small change freely admitted to although to be honest I m not sure what benefit the alteration brought to the story I endorse her decision to bring Hatshepsut on the Punt expedition too It is very unlikely that Hatshepsut did undertake the voyage but the expedition is one of the highlights of her rule as pharaoh and as a writer it is awfully difficult to contemplate writing such a key event and leaving Hatshepsut as your protagonist to wait at home As Hawker says it s Hatshepsut s daughter Neferure who gets the short end of the stick in this book I don t object to Hawker making her Hatshepsut s heir or marrying her to Thutmose In Egyptology the debates around whether either of those two things happened are so up in the air that choosing either way as a novelist must gets a free pass I am not sure whether I like the depiction of her as a disturbed antagonist We know very little of Neferure historically and she disappears in Year 17 of Hatshepsut s rule so novels of Hatshepsut often end up depicting Neferure as a fragile waif ultimately too delicate to live Hawker gives Neferure much to do than she is usually afforded which I like but it also feels uncomfortably unfair to the real Neferure who most likely was not anything like this depiction However I spotted some other alterations that Hawker doesn t discuss in the author s note The book mentions Huni as the second or third pharaoh to reign after Narmer This is odd because Huni is in fact the last pharaoh of the Third Dynasty at least eighteen monarchs after Narmer I m not sure if the author just made a silly slip up or was trying to show that to the people of Hatshepsut s time over a millennium later such long distant past had become fuzzy and misunderstood The book also names one of Thutmose III s wives as Meryet Hatshepsut and translates it as beloved of Hatshepsut except that wasn t the lady s name It was Meritre Hatshepsut meaning beloved of Re foremost among the nobles I m pretty sure the author did this just to simplify things for the reader and draw a connection with HatshepsutPacing was a huge issue in Sovereign of Stars as it was in The Crook and the Flail As an example at one point the book refers to those dark early days when Hatshepsut had to have her food tasted for fear of poison But the problem is it doesn t ring true those dark early days were barely 80 pages ago and we learned about Hatshepsut using a food taster only as a catch up at the tail end of several months of this In other words the book makes huge leaps in time before you really have a chance to get into what is happening making statements referring to way back when feel hollow and in this particular case we never actually got to see the danger for ourselves it was only summarised for us through the author telling instead of showing Years jump ahead by leaps and bounds making me feel like I was missing out of huge chunks of essential story meaning the author often told than showed and meaning we often skip along the surface of both the plot and the characters never getting a chance to soak in the setting or delve into our protagonists personalities in depth This is the third book where Hatshepsut features as a character and I still couldn t tell you a thing about her personality traits One moment Hatshepsut s mortuary temple is merely ink on papyrus and in the very next chapter the monument is significantly on the way to completion It feels like there are no stakes because events pass so uickly and are resolved before they ever have a chance to become importantIt may be because the pacing doesn t allow enough time for it or it may be a separate issue of unpolished writing but the plot also feels underdeveloped shallow and unsatisfying Let me take one particular plot point as an example Hatshepsut s plan to keep the house of women in line falls as flat as a two dimensional universe She ll deny her daughter the career path she wants in order to keep her in the women s uarters as some kind of reminder to the women And that will convince them not to join any plots from the nobles against Hatshepsut um somehow Dissent is already fomenting with Neferure present up to this time so we are told although frankly since we re never shown any of it I could easily believe that Hatshepsut is simply becoming paranoid so how will her staying present alleviate anything This plan won t do diddly suat except make her daughter furious It doesn t tackle the root problem at all and is so asinine that I found myself angry that the plot was relying on such weak character stupidity I couldn t feel any tension or investment in the story when the protagonist is so foolish Hatshepsut constantly talks of enemies but none ever materialise I had to suppress yawns at times while reading her rants on the topic because I never felt worried for her in fact this suspicious paranoid was a woman I didn t recognise as the real Hatshepsut Turning Neferure into the antagonist feels tacked on as though there wasn t enough time or space to create a fully fleshed out conflict with the nobles so lacking any antagonist in the story at all Neferure got shunted into the villain role which feels all wrong for herWhatever it stems from this problem consistently mars the first three books of Hawker s She King series and it affects everything from hurried pacing that feels like I got a handful of rushed snapshots amid gaping chasms of missing material to environments that feel indistinct and glossed over to a narrow cast of superficial inch deep characters to shallow plots that simply do not have the set up to sustain them Honestly if we take this right down to a single conclusion I would have to say that the book is too short and all these elements suffer as a resultThe reason I feel bad about being so brutally honest is because despite all that I am acuainted with just how hard Libbie works as an indie author I obviously wish that a book set in my favourite historical period will be fantastic and amazing and I still maintain even now that Libbie s writing shows exciting potential When she actually takes the time to slow down the pace and devote considerable precious page space to a plot point the writing begins to flourish beautifully Lavish descriptions bring the environment to life the characters gain nuance and the plot becomes intense the attention devoted to it raising the stakes and bringing a sense of immediacy as the reader is much in the moment The expedition to Punt encapsulates this and was undoubtedly the best part of the entire book richly described and vividly realised During those chapters I found myself wistfully longing for the same level of in depth writing in the rest of the book In fact Libbie could ve taken just the expedition plot thread started the book with its departure and spent the whole book on this one part of Hatshepsut s reign realising in glorious detail the tests obstacles and wonders such a journey would bring and I think she could ve created a book worthy of gushing overI can t pretend I m feeling optimistic about the fourth and final book in the She King series The Bull of Min which I will read next simply because I already have it but I really want to discover that her later books learned some of these lessons and I do intend to have a look for myself4 out of 10


10 thoughts on “Sovereign of Stars The She King #3

  1. says:

    I’m afraid I have to say I’m disappointed again I feel bad writing that when I read Libbie Hawker’s debut book The Sekhmet Bed a few years ago I thought it showed promise although it had some problems mainly being hampered by the sisters’ rivalry designed to appeal to mainstream publishers and after re reading it recently I revised my rating downwards by a star as I was better able to identify the areas that needed polis

  2. says:

    LM Ironside is proof that indie publishing is a force to be reckoned with Granted I've got horror stories but often than not the independentself published books I've come across have been top notch Ironside's She King historical fiction series

  3. says:

    Crossposted on BooklikesIn her afterword to this third volume of the She King Series Ironside apologizes for playing a little fast and loose with history She doesn’t play as fast or as loose as Philipana Gregory and unlike Gregory

  4. says:

    Sovereign of Stars the next instalment in L M Ironside's She King series is an utterly fantastic read It is engaging but s

  5. says:

    The story of Hatshepsut first woman pharaoh in the Thutmose Dynasty was compelling and informative She ruled for 22 years and oversaw extensive constructions while dealing with intrigue and enmity among the nobles and courtiers Relationships am

  6. says:

    I loved this third installment of this series I finished it too uickly This is one of those stories where you want it to be longer because you want to keep reading about the characters because you feel so involved in the story I love the character development and the rich Egyptian history details Truly can't get enough Ca

  7. says:

    This is the third book from the series The She King In this story Hetat triumphantly rules as She King and beside her Thutmo

  8. says:

    That ending TT I think my only complaint with this book is how Neferure went for a dive off the deep end She killed her own father for crying out loud Everything else everyone else was absolutely perfect Especially Thutmose oh I loved him And his new wife Thank heavens for strong capable men and strong capable women like them Now to grab the final book and finish the series

  9. says:

    Another fascinating tale Libby does it again Egyptian court intrigue and masterful descriptions so powerful you can almost seetastefeelhear the palace garden and scenery throughout the book

  10. says:

    this one just got pushed to the backburner it got really dark near the end poor Hatet