2 out of 4 stars
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In 1557 BCE, Thutmose the Second and Queen Pharaoh Hatshepsut reign Kemet, also known as Egypt. The Queen Pharaoh's womb is cursed as all but one of their children, Princess Neferure, have been stillborn, and their son, the Prime Minister, is adopted. The ruling pair gain hope when the sorcerer Hekauton reveals a prophecy that Thutmose the Second's son will be the mighty conqueror, Black Pharaoh, and lead Kemet to glory. The birth of this son will also cause division and betrayal. It is a prophecy that causes fates to collide.
Emmanuel Kulu Junior's I, Black Pharoah: Rise to Power is a historical fiction account of Egypt during the reign of Thutmose the Second and Queen Hatshepsut. Furthermore, the author expertly mingles Egyptian mythology and mysticism with history, which gives a feel for the era and culture. He also mentions the use of slaves, Hebrew, Nubian, and others, by Egyptian society.
I usually enjoy historical fiction surrounding Ancient Egypt a great deal, but I am indifferent toward this one. I am disappointed with how the author portrays Hatshepsut as the stereotypical woman scorned/femme fatale. I am further disappointed with the fact that the author chose to include pretty graphic sex and violence in the tale that makes it difficult for me to enjoy the novel. However, the author also utilizes a broader lens and mingles history, magic, and mythology together in a character-rich story that is unlike any other. It is this mingling that draws me to the story in the first place. Again, conflicting elements combine to where I am indifferent toward it.
I believe this novel may be more appreciated by adults who like historical fiction that contains pretty graphic sex and violence. It may also help to have some familiarity with Egyptian mythology and the Hebrew plight as they are a prominent feature within this novel.
I rate I, Black Pharaoh: Rise to Power 2 out of 4 stars due to the many errant/missing quotation marks and some misused/misspelled words. There is also the fact that it does contain pretty graphic sex and violence, which I do not care for in any story. However, this is also a tale of magic, mythology, and history, which are elements that I do enjoy. Thus, this is a novel I neither love nor hate, but one that leaves me indifferent toward it. In my opinion, further editing of this novel could make it more engaging and enjoyable.
I, Black Pharaoh: Rise to Power
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