Marty | 2/20/2014
" A completely new take on Cleopatra. I was not really interested in reading this book, but I did anyway. I'm very glad I did. "
Jeannie Mancini | 2/12/2014
" In 30 BC, Rome's Emperor Octavian lays seige on Egypt's famous city of Alexandria, evoking rage from the beautiful Queen Cleopatra. When Octavian tricks her into believing her husband Marc Antony comitted suicide, the depth of her pain and wrath causes her to summon Rome's historian Nicholaus the Damascene. She asks him for a spell, one to summon up the Egyptian Goddess of Death and Destruction, Sekhmet. Upon her success, Cleopatra stands before Sekhmet willing to do anything to bring Marc Antony back to the living world, and then and there sells her soul. Not quite understanding what she will sacrifice or loose in the bargain, Cleopatra gets a rude awakening when Sekhmet turns her into an immortal. Shapeshifter, vampire, creature, a demon to be wreckoned with. Marc Antony returns to his living body, only to be tricked again and a second time killed. Losing her lover once more, Cleopatra now rages war with Rome and Octavian, hell bent on revenge for the loss of her country and her husband. Losing control of herself, Cleopatra commences to now follow the path of a ravenous killer, rage penetrating her every passing minute, deeply suffering from her loss of Antony, her children, and her home.
When at first it appears that Cleopatra had become a bloodthirsty vampire, I was excited to find a new author with an inventive twist on the love story of Marc Antony and Cleopatra, as well as a clever new twist on the ever popular vampire theme. But for this reader, the story soon fell short of my expectations, and although I managed to finish the story, I was greatly disappointed.
Maria Dahvana Headley writes well. There is no doubt in my mind that she has great potential to be a remarkable storyteller, and author for the future if she continues to write. I have given the book two stars. One star for writing ability and style, and the other star for creativity. I am a reader who loves creativity in all of areas of the arts, but especially within books for it is difficult to come up with a new idea that has not been tackled before by thousands upon thousands of authors in the past. Headley has great depth and a grand command of the language, vocabulary, and has the ability to provide a literary achievement with her talented writing style. The clever idea of making Cleopatra a paranormal being and with that, pulling in many mythical gods and goddesses from Roman, Egyptian and Greek Mythology, was also very inventive. Two stars well earned.
However, in my opinion, the book falls short on character development, plot, and focus. The story is told and seen through the eyes of way too many characters leaving the reader never getting close to any one of them. These many characters tend to pop in and pop out at random times with no rhyme or reason and never stay long enough to offer any value. In fact, Cleopatra herself, shows up very little through most of the novel until the grand finale. I can say that I felt the same with the players pulled from Mythology. Too many of them, not enough individual attention to give them worth to the story or as important key players to the novel. This melee becomes a big pot of stew that is stirred way too much creating a story without focus and one that tends to ramble on going nowhere to the point of often spiraling out of control. The author continually brought characters in and out with no purpose; neither for the current scene or as an important key to linking of the story as a whole as it unraveled. Poor Marc Antony was brought back from the dead so many times only to be returned again and again to the underworld that it just made no sense. Everytime I thought he was going to be kept alive he got tossed over the edge again. Each time he was resurrected I rooted for him and his love for Cleopatra only to be disappointed repeatedly and left with an ending that led to pure frustration.
The story felt to me like it had no redeeming life to it. Chaos, pain, suffering, lost love, violence, revenge, hatred, and death. 397 pages of it. There were no happy moments to combat the sadness. No love was brought to light after much darkness and loss. No life renewed after many violent deaths. The story needed balance, some good to battle evil, and angel or two to beat the devils of the underworld. The final showdown that finally ends this long and drawn out war of the gods, is a bloody battle I found over the top and unecessary. Truthfully I found the ending predictable and unredeeming after such a long haul of despair. What the author decided to do with the fate of Cleopatra and Marc Antony's two sons, was the last kicker for me. Was their fate truly necessary? Did it add value or make this story more likeable? Did it make any sense or give the story more purpose? Not in this reader's eyes. What was the point of the destiny she chose for them?
Because of the two strong stars I give the author for creativity and writing ability I would be very willing to try Headley's next attempt to see if there is improvement in other areas, but for me Queen of Kings just didn't happen. I felt she had a great idea but was not able to follow through with it in order to make the novel make sense, or to turn it into a winner. The beginning was intriguing, but I felt it went downhill very rapidly only to end in a very sad heap. "
Shan | 1/28/2014
" As a sucker for any tale of ancient Rome, I quite enjoyed this fantastical spin on the life and death of Cleopatra. The writing didn't blow me away, but it's a quick, fun read. "
Zoemcmac | 1/26/2014
" I love historical fiction, and this is a good guilty pleasure. Yes, at first I cringed over the whole "vampire" angle, and while predisposed to find it annoying, I must admit the author really makes it work. The book sucks you in. "
Onna | 1/16/2014
" So far I'm really into it, though it IS a bit creepy. It's like some twisted Twilight meets Animal Planet meets Egyptian story. I'm already half way done and I just started reading yesterday. COuldn't put it down. A real thriller here. "
Caitlyn | 1/11/2014
" QUEEN OF KINGS is a fantasy novel that tells the tale of Cleopatra's death and the events that happened after. Admittedly, this book was a little hard for me to read, partly because it was so dark and partly because it was so well written. This isn't to say I don't love an easy read, but even more than that I love a book that challenges my mind, which is exactly what QUEEN OF KINGS did. I eagerly await Maria Dahvana Headley's next book in the trilogy and look forward to reading her memoir, THE YEAR OF YES. "
Lindsay Stalone | 12/19/2013
" Took me by surprise. "
Kathryn | 12/11/2013
" Stopped reading it, didn't like it. "
Luciana Cavallaro | 12/7/2013
" Awesome story and a different approach to the legend of Cleopatra and Antony. Unique concept, love the fantasy/supernatural element. There isn't too many books I rate highly, but this is definately one of them. "
Katharyn | 8/16/2013
" Not bad so far but having a hard time getting excited to pick it back up. I think its that I have several good library books that I need to pick up tomorrow. I think I will put this back and try again another day. (read up to page 46 in Chapter 7). "
Irene | 4/14/2013
" audio -- I like anyhting Egyptian except this ridiculous vampire tale. "
BlackroseBlackheart | 3/2/2013
" Neh. Not really my thing, but the writing was good :P "
Marci | 10/20/2012
" Very disappointing!! This could've been really great! Didn't enjoy this considering what a huge fan of Cleopatra, all things Egypt and Rome, and of vampires I am! Boring, and a bit cheesy. I had to stop reading towards the end. Could not get into it! Sorry, didn't do it for me :( very disappointed! "
D. McAtee | 10/4/2012
" A very fun read. Action picks up in the second part of the book and carries you thru to the end. The Epilogue would probably have severed better as the first chapter or prologue to the sequel it suggests, as it seems a bit contrived and adds nothing to the rest of the narrative. "
David | 8/30/2012
" 2.5 stars. This book was light on historical details and heavy on the standard fantasy novel themes. I didn't have high expectations and this book met them. The historical references were interesting, though. "
Wogc | 5/24/2012
" Interesting plot, but I never really get into the story.... "