Thursday, July 7, 2011
When I began reading Nefertiti I thought I would like the story, but as it progressed through time I was just reading to finish the book. I don't know a lot of Egyptian history so as I read, I also did some google searches just to get a perspective on accuracy. This book did make many speculations on what little is actually known about Nefertiti and to some extent that has to be expected in a fictional account. A few inaccuracies bothered me because they weren't necessary for the story line, so why not be factual when you can?
The main thing that dragged the book down for me was character development. The story began when Nefertiti and her sister (Mutnodjmet) were young girls, Nefertiti was egocentric and domineering while her sister was weak and submissive. The Pharaoh Akhenaten was portrayed as a jealous man on the brink of insanity. Throughout the book they were always acting and reacting in the same fashion, Nefertiti bossing sister, parents and husband; sister expressing self-pity; and Akhenaten doing unbelievable things so the people would love him. Just started seeming unbelievable after a while. The characters just never grew so they started to become dull.
Since so little is known about Nefertiti I found the author's take on the possible history to be an interesting idea (not sure about the plague concept... maybe could have been a plague, but would they really call it Black Death at that time?) The story is narrated by the sister, about whom even less is known, but it does present how tied to (and obsessed with) the crown these families become. The style and perspective is much like The Other Boleyn Girl.