Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Woman Who Would be King - Book Review

This review will be short and bitter - just don't waste your time

I am not going to go into a detail oriented rant, since I am working on my self control. Sufficient to say, this book should not be classified as non fiction, since nearly all of it is speculation. It would have been a better book if the author had just decided to plot out the story line, add dialog and call it fiction. Of course, in that case, she would have had to learn how to write dialog, character development and how to drive a plot.

A short summary: the book proposes to tell the story of Hatsheput, the queen who became a Pharaoh in her own right and how she built her own characterization to support the Egyptian political and religious views. The difficulty lies in that the Egyptians did not record the details of political chicanery, so there is almost no detail about her rule or why it was almost completely erased some 20 years after her death. That is where all the author's speculations come in play.

Leaving aside the speculation, the book is also extremely confusing. Dates are left very vague. In part, this can be attributed to the lack of source materials. However, a better structure would have solved this. Much is said just in passing but later referenced as important events. One line of speculation is used in one chapter (Hatsheput's daughter pre deceased her) but then a different one is taken up on the next chapter (Hatsheput's daughter may have officiated at her burial). A lot of the book is dedicated to how Hatsheput built her political power but almost none is dedicated to why it unraveled still in her lifetime

The best part of the book were the foot notes, which points to many interesting scholarly works.

Once again, this is a review for Blogging for Books, who provided me the ebook.

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