Daughters of the Nile is the third and final book about Cleopatra Selene. Stephanie Dray does an absolute awesome job at ending the trilogy. Just putting that out there straight off the bat.
So, in this final instalment about Cleopatra and Antony’s daughter, Selene has returned to Mauretania and hopes to make her marriage to Juba work. The first step is giving him a child, a biological one anyway, because although Isidora isn’t his, he’s her father in every way that counts. In any case, they succeed in conceiving a child and Selene gives birth to a son whom she names Ptolemy. Things with Juba still aren’t all that great, but at least they’re trying, and when she lays their newborn son at his feet in front of all the court, things seem to turn around.
But as often happens, Rome comes a calling. In this case, though, it’s the daughter of the emperor, Julia, who harkens to Mauretania’s shores. This puts Juba and Selene in between a rock and a hard place, because Julia was supposed to go straight home to her father. Eventually they all end up in Rome again and now Selene has bigger problems because Augustus thinks her son is his.
Part of Selene wants to go with this. After all, the emperor could give her children the world. He could give them Egypt. But he’s been promising Selene the same since, well, since he took her into his family after killing her mother and father. Gross. Anyway, another part of Selene knows this is a dangerous game to play and now that she finally seems to have feelings for Juba, the emperor uses this against her. So for the moment, she goes with the lies that Augustus tells. In order to keep her children and Juba safe.
Eventually, Selene learns to throw off the chains of the emperor and finally become free. Most of the book leads up to this, in a very entertaining way. I felt like this book was better than the second one and perhaps even the first. Selene is more likeable and hell, even Augustus kind of has some likeability going on. I said some. He’s still, of course, kind of weird. The final book is also full of sweet moments and plenty of tragedy.
Gosh, I wanted to cry at certain parts.
And I didn’t want the book to end.
So why did I give it only four stars? I have no idea. Or maybe, some part of me wishes the whole trilogy had been this good. Some part of me wants more. I want a book from Julia’s point of view. Or Iullus’s point of view. From Juba’s eyes. There were so many great historical characters here, all brought to life magnificently. In the end, I highly recommend the entire trilogy. Stephanie Dray is a wonderful writer and I look forward to reading more from her in the future.
My rating: 4/5