Sphinx's Queen (Princesses of Myth)

Sphinx's Queen - Esther M. Friesner After reading Sphinx's Princess last month, I decided I had to go on to the other book in the duology. The books definitely work as a pair rather than as individual stories, especially Sphinx's Queen. Certain threads that were awkwardly dropped in the first book were rescued in the second. I have a feeling that a reader who accidentally pickied up the second book first would be left rather confused and unconnected with the characters. Knowing even a little bit about the reign of Akhenaten (known as Amenophis during the time of this story) makes for some fun in-jokes. My favourite was when Nefertiti accuses him of not having enough sense to know when to get out of the hot sun. Akhenaten (who with Nefertiti established a period of monotheistic worship of the sun) was known to blithely continue his worship while the people around him were fainting from heat exhaustion. I also like the slow progression of Nefertiti's beliefs toward monotheism. Friesner even had the subtlety to leave the journey a step or two from finished. But knowing the religious revolution that was to come made me enjoy watching the journey. Freisner did seem a bit too concerned that she give the reader an HEA ending. All the antagonists are redeemed or dead (or both in succession). Friesner spent so much time establishing their characters in the other direction, the sudden transformations came off very false. The star of the book, as in Sphinx's Princess, was in the setting. Freisner establishes the Nile as the strong character that it was in the world of Ancient Egypt. The interplay of the Egyptian gods and the roles of their priests were made clear and used to good effect in the plot. I'm now interested in having a look at Nobody's Princess and Nobody's Prize where Friesner uses the same format to tackle the myth of Helen of Troy.