The She-King Series : A Review – A Novel of Ancient Egypt
I just finished reading The She-King, a four-book series by Libbie Hawker following the life of Hatshepsut, one of Ancient Egypt’s most renowned Pharaohs and one of history’s most badass women. Although, the story was exaggerated at moments to create a better plot-line, the entire subject of the series, Hatshepsut, and the mystery and allure that is ancient Egyptian culture made this series almost impossible to put down.
The Sekhmet Bed
The first Book, The Sekhmet Bed, details the life of the character Hatshepsut’s mother, Ahmose, and her experience as the Great Royal Wife to Pharaoh Thutmose I. The overall theme that I derived from this first book in The She-King series is family and the power struggles that can occur internally. To summarize without giving too much away, Ahmose struggled to share her husband’s attention with her sister, Mutnofret. The two, driven apart by their desire to provide Egypt with an heir, caused both sisters a considerable amount of pain and even their husband Thutmose, some distress. What I loved most about this book and what made me continue in the series was the fact that even with all the wealth and splendor that was available to the female leads, they still faced issues that women every day today face.
The Crook and Flail
In the second novel, The Crook and Flail , Hatshepsut is now trying to find her way in a world that has already laid out a role for her. Again, without spoiling the book, my favorite theme that I took away from this installment was persistence. Everything in Hatshepsut’s life is already planned out for her; but due to her love of ma’at and love of Egypt, she overcomes gender roles and goes from being a victim to a fierce leader. What I love most about this account is the emotion that Hawker conveys; the many emotions that Hatshepsut has to deal with, as a ruler, mother, and woman. The novel also addresses the topic of sexuality, and Hatshepsut has to battle with her duty to the throne and the duty to her heart.
Sovereign of Stars
The third installment of The She-King series, Sovereign of Stars, has a strong family theme throughout. While Hatshepsut struggles to keep her hold on the throne, her nephew and co-regent Thutmose III comes of age and is forced to rule a nation as well as a household. Hatshepsut is also forced to come to terms with the sacrifices that she’s made over the years, including her relationship with her only daughter Neferure, who in this book, readers will get to see how she was affected by the relationship with her mother.
The Bull of Min
The final and fourth book of this phenomenal series is The Bull of Min. Although I wished this series could go on forever, to preserve historical accuracy, the series had to come to an end. However, this doesn’t mean that the ending was rushed. Each of the series main protagonists stories are tied nicely together in one last gripping plot that challenges the values and traits that we have come to associate with the main characters.
Overall, I loved the series. Not only was I transported to ancient 18th dynasty Egypt, but I was empowered by the accounts of these remarkable women who yes, had much wealth and power but at the same time still dealt with challenges that unite women everywhere.
What should I read next? Leave a comment! And don’t forget to check out my other book reviews in the Book Nook!